I was watching the Colombian news this morning and it struck me – our news really isn’t as relevant to us as Caracol is to its people. In addition to the sports, weather, and major news stories for the world and the country, they always impart some sort of cultural or societal information and go to the various regions of the country to get their take on whatever the subject happens to be. From watching the Colombian news for a few weeks I can learn about how to eat right, cultural food traditions from all over the country, what various regions feel their contribution to Colombian culture is, how language and dialect varies throughout the country, favorite vacation spots and how (and why) the preference for beach, mountain, or jungle resorts changes depending on their state of origin, and many other things (including history, science, technology, etc…).
In a country of 30 million people with a struggling economy that has been mired in civil war for over 50 years, journalists can bang out a spectacular 60 minute news program (with commercials) filled with relevant news from the country, the region, and the world, and report what’s significant, regardless of where it’s happening. In contrast, in a country of 300,000 million people with one of the strongest economies in the world, the news from America will be 30 minutes long, have possibly one ACTUAL story that MUST be relevant to Americans, will contain NO cultural or societal analysis, and will avoid (all all costs) any REAL questioning of the government or its politicians.