Cultural Differences In News

Image by Leonhard Niederwimmer from Pixabay

Since I watch both American news and Asian news, I have to say not noticing the cultural differences is impossible. However most of the differences are quite mundane. And I don’t have enough skills to describe them in an interesting way. That has been one of the biggest problems for me–how to cut an interesting angle, how to make an interesting point on a trivial topic, how to captivate attention without resorting to exaggeration or dramatization? Well… whenever I have language issues, I always pick my favorite scapegoat–I am a non-native speaker and this is an impossible barrier to overcome. Yet part of me just doesn’t want to accept this easy pointing of fingers. I’ve learned this life lesson in many occasions that sometimes the obvious reason is wrong. Still suspecting it is wrong doesn’t mean I understand why it is wrong and how I can correct the wrong. So without a way to deal with this problem, I just keep trying and hoping for the best–now I am taking another stab at describing several cultural differences I noticed.


Asian news is more interested in describing numbers and curves. For example, recently there are droughts all over the world. And California, after years of droughts, finally had a lot of rain in December and January, which resulted in flooding. And the weather forecast kept saying that California still has drought conditions (to a lesser degree) after historical amount of rain, which is quite puzzling. I just can’t understand why so much rain still cannot wipe out the drought condition. I really want to know some figures, like how much rain is needed, what kind of weather pattern can distribute the rain better, how much snow in Sierra Nevada is considered good and how slow should the snow melt to benefit the region. However the news only provided very perfunctory figures. When scientists were interviewed, the camera often cut the scientists off before the scientists could give a nerdy statement about some precise numbers.

Asian news is a little different. Figures and numbers are adored and admired for some reason. The more bar diagrams, curves, comparisons, the better. And the reporters seem to be very proud of their figures. They can dwell on figures of rain (or the lack of rain) in the past fifty years, the different rain patterns, the level of water in each of the reservoirs with low watermark and high watermark prominently printed on the screen. Also they give you the information as to the water allocation to different townships and different industries. I guess most viewers don’t really need all these information, or don’t even care, but there seems to be an inexplicable general agreement that these numbers should be focused on in a piece of news.

Court Cases

American news is very good with court cases. Not only that, one can get more in-depth analyses from various podcasts on YouTube or other places. And social media also provides a lot of worthy information. For example, the Johnny Depp and Amber Heard trial was quite fascinating to me. I didn’t follow their previous court case in London, but I followed a little when they fought each other in court in Virginia. A lot of laws were explained very clearly, and many back and forth arguments were dwelled on with the evaluation of people’s characters, the general expectation people have of those jury members, and the personality and behavior patterns of the two people involved. And even the judge’s political leaning and preferences are analyzed. For example, a liberal judge or a conservative judge can sway the case in different ways.

Actually one of my friends was addicted to TV channel called Court TV and he really watched it. At the time we were all quite astonished that he could really absorb himself in those boring court battles. He wanted to talk to us about different cases, but at the time we refused to listen to him. Now I guess I understand him a little bit more why he’s interested.

Anyway, Asian news tries not to report any detail of court cases no matter how big a news the case has made. Sometimes a case can be so interesting that it is made into a movie, but the focus is always on the story outside of the courtroom. I guess it is because of Asian people’s deep rooted suspicion of the justice system and government officials, so much so that a courtroom is considered a necessary evil without entertainment values.

(To Be Continued Here)

17 thoughts on “Cultural Differences In News

    1. I didn’t point out which Asian news channel because I criticized the channel so much. I am afraid that the fans of this channel might feel uncomfortable. Sometimes the news can be ridiculous, mixing rumors even.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I can completely relate to noticing cultural differences in news reporting. I like to balance out my intake of news between BBC, CBC and legit American channels because I know what I like out of all of them

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, people are really into those arguments in the court and try to do some armchair analysis themselves. I mean such a big interest. At first I couldn’t get into it, and then slowly I started to understand that those arguments have its appeal and enticement…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Very interesting. I would prefer more fact and figure detailed reporting. I think it’s very interesting hearing the numbers and details involved. I’d also prefer less court drama as I think televising cases turns them into a performance and makes it very hard for justice to be done.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are right. I was not into court cases before, but in recent years, I have followed several court cases and it does have the feeling of “social media court” kind of atmosphere. And “social media hanging” is already performed when the cases are still ongoing.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, that sounds like an interesting class. I had no chance of taking such interesting courses. LOL. I just googled sociology since I’ve never taken sociology classes. I guess I don’t know the difference between sociology and anthropology. They sound very much alike.

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      1. Yes, they are quite alike and sometimes they even study similar topics. Both are very interesting but I liked sociology more. I think anthropology focuses on the scientific side while sociology focuses on the social side.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I used to know an anthropologist, who had an interesting career. Then she married a salesman. After a while, it was transpired that the salesman owed the federal government tens of thousands of dollars in back taxes. Since she was married to him, her bank account is promptly frozen too. He looks like such a nice guy and has no bad habits at all…

          Liked by 1 person

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