According to the British Guardian, 2011 was the year of the news overload, with many people perceiving the year’s news from around the world being extremely significant in manifold ways. “There is no news“, as reportedly broadcast by the BBC an a day in 1930, is an unlikely in our media age, but whether last year’s news were more significant than usual remains another question. It may just as well be a proof of an increasingly connected world where news become ever more instant and people demand new news virtually every second – the news overload of 2011 may therefore also be a result of the overload of news produced by the media (and demanded by the population).
Nevertheless, important events happened in 2011, just as in other years. Europe and an ongoing global financial crisis, the Arab Spring, the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, to only mention a few of the events that made some headlines last year. To understand how people in the United Kingdom perceive the events from around the globe, one can look at how frequently a country has been mentioned in major news stories. Similar to the map published on this website last year (see here: British views of the world in 2010), the following maps show the world reshaped according to the number of news items on the website of the British Newspaper The Guardian (data derived from their Data store). The first map takes all the domestic news stories from the United Kingdom into consideration which results in a dominant appearance of the UK in this version of the map:
The world in 2011 as seen through British eyes can better be seen when taking the UK data out (the United Kingdom was tagged in 23588 content items on the Guardian website). There are some significant changes to the picture that emerged the year before: Although news from around the world still are hugely influenced by news from the USA (7377 items), the trend changed with a slight increase in the news coverage from European countries to reflect the importance of the Eurozone crisis. Nevertheless, the USA still are by far the most written-about country apart from Britain – the Anglo-american bias remains. The most significant change however is the rise of the Arab world in the news map for 2011. Libya (2498 news items) and Egypt (1381) are the countries with the highest increase in news items as compared to the same data from 2010 (only domestic stories from the UK are in the top three with 1454 more stories as compared to 2010). Other rising news coverage came from Japan (793 total items, with an increase of 470 items), Tunisia (479 with an increase of 461), and Italy (790, with an increase of 354). The following map shows the total news coverage of each of the countries outside the UK using the worldmapper colour scheme (which allows an easy comparison with the land area or the population map):
The following animation shows the changes that took place when looking at the world without the UK from 2010 to 2011 in direct comparison:
2012 will quite certainly bring another increase in domestic stories from the United Kingdom, with the Olympics and the Queen’s diamond jubilee coming up in an interesting year for the (still) United Kingdom, but what other changes we will see on the world map will remain less predictable – who would have anticipated the rise in news from the Arab world in 2011? More certain will be an ongoing news overload this year – no news won’t happen anytime soon again like back in 1930.