Although it was once the most powerful country in the world, Spain has
struggled over the past two decades to repair its global image as a backward,
repressive country (Greenhouse, 1989). Even 20 years after the death of the
Fascist dictator Francisco Franco, the Spanish economy and infrastructure have
never fully recovered from isolationist economic policies that made it one of
poorest countries in Europe in the post-World War II era.
Notwithstanding the adage attributed to Talleyrand that "Europe ends at the
Pyrenees," Spain has become a full partner in the European Union and is a
signatory of the Maastricht Treaty, the provisions of which are designed to
unite the European economy before the turn of the century. Yet, in many
circles, the image of Spain abroad continues to adhere to trite stereotypes.
"Too many people think Spain is only flamenco dancing and bullfights,'' said one
veteran journalist (Kodrich, 1992).
Given the opportunity to educate media consumers about the realities of modern
Spain, her culture and her economy while at the same time dispelling myths and
stereotypes that linger from the Franco era, how might Spanish journalists
report on their country to an international audience? Would they merely report
the unvarnished facts characteristic of the summary lead? Or might they resort
to that relatively new breed of reporting called "development journalism" in
order to spread the message of Spain's vibrant culture and economic potential?
Since 1987, reporters at television stations sponsored by two of Spain's
autonomous regions have had such an opportunity through regular contributions to
the CNN World Report. This study analyzes the content of these stories to
determine the type and nature of coverage, as well as to learn whether
development journalism has been used as a means of improving Spain's image
Before examining these questions, however, it is necessary to frame the
discussion with necessary background information on the Spanish economy, as well
as a discussion of the ethnoregionalism that has divided the country for
Spanish Economy, 1939-1996
While the economies of other European countries flourished in the post-World
War II boom of the late 1940s and early '50s, the Spanish economy D saddled by
Franco's policy of autarky D remained sluggish and stagnant. Isolated from the
rest of Europe by political ideology and separatist economic policy, Spaniards
struggled to rebuild an economy already weakened by the Depression and a bloody
Civil War. The war ruined most of the country's infrastructure, crippled her
agricultural and manufacturing industries, and depleted her cash reserves.
Human resources were exhausted as well, as businessmen and skilled workers who
had opposed Franco during the war fled to safety in Latin America. Although
Spain had remained neutral during WWII, Franco's Fascist government had been
aligned with and received military assistance from Hitler and Mussolini during
the Civil War, and this was not forgotten by other European nations. After
WWII, many countries cut off diplomatic and trade relations with Spain. The
U.S. joined Great Britain and France in punishing Spain by imposing economic
sanctions that the United Nations upheld, and Spain's meager foreign trade was
crushed (Lieberman, 1995; Spain, 1995)
The post-war economic struggle nearly culminated in a total collapse of the
economy. Peasant farmers were hardest hit; a severe drought extended the misery
and hunger the country had endured since the end of the Civil War. Franco
finally responded in 1959 by proposing a national stabilization plan, the chief
goals of which were to achieve faster domestic economic growth, to arrest
inflation by limiting public and private credit, and to restore external
economic equilibrium. The plan was a conspicuous about-face from autarky; it
signaled that Franco's economic advisers realized that the Spanish economy could
no longer grow in isolation. Although its provisions included severe austerity
measures that brought hardships to farmers and industrial laborers, they touched
off rapid growth in all sectors of the economy and ushered in what came to be
known as the "Spanish economic miracle" of the 1960s (Lieberman, 1995; Harrison,
1985; Spain, 1995).
The unprecedented growth in the economy was characterized by rapid industrial
expansion, an extraordinary rise in tourism, and increased foreign investment.
The average percentage increase in Spain's Gross Domestic Product rose from -2.5
in 1959 to 11.4 in 1961, followed by an additional increase of 10.3 in 1962.
Increases stabilized after 1962, but averaged 6.9 percent over the next 11 years
(Harrison, 1985, p. 144).
Economic crisis returned to Spain during the 1970s amid political turmoil.
Although Prince Juan Carlos I de Borb"n y Borb"n, the rightful heir to the
throne, had been selected by the Organic Law of 1967 to replace Franco, the
ailing dictator decreed in 1972 that, in the event of his untimely death or
sudden incapacitation, Admiral Luis Carrero Blanco, a political ally and patron
of the powerful Catholic alliance Opus Dei, would immediately become prime
minister. Basque terrorists assassinated Carrero Blanco in December 1973, and
Franco died nearly two years later, in November 1975. Juan Carlos and his
hand-picked prime minister, Adolfo Su rez, spent most of the next decade
transforming the country from a dictatorship to a constitutional monarchy that
the people and the military would support. The fledgling democracy survived an
attempted coup by Civil Guard soldiers under the direction of Lt. Col. Antonio
Tejero in February 1981. Two other plots to overthrow the government were
discovered and foiled before they came to fruition. Meanwhile, the economy
struggled. Higher oil prices that followed the end of the Arab oil embargo
increased oil expenditures by 210 percent, and energy prices soared between 1973
and 1981. Unemployment and inflation steadily increased. To fend off impending
economic disaster, Spain was forced to devalue its currency in December 1981.
Seeking change, Spaniards elected a socialist government in October 1982, led
by Felipe Gonz lez M rquez. The new prime minister leaned away from Marxist
principles and toward policies that favored business, worldwide economic
competition, and Spain's entry into the European Union in 1986. Entry into the
Common Market, as it was then called, helped to transform the economy into one
of the dynamic and the fastest growing in Europe (Riding, 1992). There was talk
of the "new Spanish economic miracle," as the GDP rose from 2.8 in 1985 to 6.2
in 1987 and '88 (Cohen, 1992; Lieberman, 1995). The strength of the Spanish
stock market increased as well, prompting Fortune to proclaim a "new bull run in
Spain" (Personal investing, 1991).
Such optimism proved to be unjustified. After peaking at 6.2 for two
consecutive years, the GDP began a steady decline. The financial windfall that
was supposed to have accompanied the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona and Expo
'92 in Seville did not materialize on a national scale, and the GDP dipped below
zero (-0.6) during the final quarter of 1992 (Spain's economy weak, 1993). To
combat the recession, the government issued a new economic austerity package in
1993 (Spanish government offers, 1993). The economy rebounded in 1994, with the
GDP beginning a gradual increase that was sustained through the end of 1996.
(Spain: Economic indicators, 1996). Another sign that the economy was making a
comeback was the creation of thousands of entry-level jobs in a burgeoning
fast-food industry (Jones, 1996). Gonz lez M rquez was voted out of office in
1996 amid political scandal that involved secretly using government funds to
hunt down and execute Basque terrorists (Left in disarray, 1996). The new prime
minister, a pro-business conservative named Jos Mar!a Aznar, is now faced with
persuading Spaniards to accept further belt-tightening measures in preparation
to adopt a single European currency and to participate as a first-tier nation in
the European Monetary Union when the Maastricht Treaty reaches maturity in 1999
(Cooper, 1996; Simons, 1996; A Spanish world, 1996; The Maastricht convention,
Spanish Regionalism and the Desire for Political Autonomy
A review of the Spanish economy in the 20th century would be incomplete without
a similar discussion of Spanish ethnoregionalism and its roots because the two
regions most vocal in their quest for political and cultural autonomy D
Catalonia and the Basque Country D are also among Spain's most financially
prosperous. These two regions were home to independent peoples before they were
absorbed into the kingdom of Spain in the 15th and 19th centuries, respectively.
Each has its distinct language and culture, as well as a history that pre-dates
Spain by at least 1,500 years.
Catalonia (spelled Catalu$a in Castilian and Catalunya in Catal n) is located
primarily along Spain's northeast Mediterranean coast. It is bordered on the
north by the Pyrenees Mountains and on the east by the region of Arag"n; its
capital city is Barcelona. It enjoys a rich agricultural tradition and is home
to prosperous fishing and textile industries. Originally settled by Romans, it
was conquered by Moors in 712, but gained its independence in 778. Despite
alliances with Charlemagne and others, Catalonia remained autonomous until it
was united with the kingdom of Arag"n in 1137. Catalonia became part of Spain
with the marriage of Ferdinand of Arag"n and Isabella of Castile in 1479.
Although the formal merger of the kingdoms didn't take place until Charles I
ascended to the throne in 1516, Ferdinand and Isabella used their combined
military leverage to expel the Moors from the Iberian Peninsula in 1492, the
same year they agreed to fund the exploration of a little-known navigator who
claimed he could reach Asia by sailing west. It was to Barcelona that Columbus
returned to report the results of his first voyage.
Through subsequent treaties and political dealings, Catalonia was ruled by
France during three periods during the 17th century, the longest of which lasted
20 years. Although French influence in Catal n language and culture are
unmistakable, Catal n had established itself as the language of the region by
the 16th century, largely as a result of its literary tradition. Even before
French rule, Catal n poets had developed their distinct forms of verse. Indeed,
the Golden Age of Catal n poetry is said to have been during the 15th century,
before the marriage of Ferdinand and Isabella. Concerned that the Catalan
ruling classes might become too independent, however, the Spanish crown insisted
beginning in the early 17th century that Castilian be used in all affairs of
government, education and commerce. As a result, Catal n poetry declined.
Catal n literature experienced a renaissance in the early 19th century. Fueled
by a movement for cultural and political autonomy that swept Catalonia, the
rebirth of Catal n writings produced hallmark works by the likes of Mos n
Jacinto Verdaguer, Angel Guimer and Joan Maragall. Barcelona continued to
serve as the center of Catal n regionalism into the 20th century; the autonomy
movement continued until the overthrow of King Alfonso XIII in 1931, at which
point Catalonia was granted limited right of self-rule within the Spanish
Republic. When the army revolted against the Republic in 1936, Catalonia became
a stronghold of Loyalist forces. Barcelona was heavily bombed by Franco's
Nationalist troops in late 1938, and the city was captured on Jan. 26, 1939.
Under the Franco regime, Catalonia's autonomy was abolished, and the Catal n
culture and language were outlawed.
Like the Catal ns, the Basques enjoyed a rich history long before Spain
existed. The Basque country (called Pa!s Vasco in Spanish or Euskadi in the
Basque language, which is called Euskara) is located in north central Spain and
southern France. In Spain, the main Basque province, Vizcaya, is bordered on
the north by the Atlantic Ocean; the province to the immediate east, Guip#zcoa,
is divided from southern France by the western slopes of the Pyrenees. The
political and financial capital of the Basque Country is Bilbao, located in
Vizcaya. The lush pastures and vast coastlines of Pa!s Vasco have made sheep
farming and fishing its major industries for generations; in modern times,
steel-making and shipbuilding have been added to the list.
The Basques were already established when the Romans expanded into the Iberian
Peninsula. Their pre-Roman origins are unknown. Late in the 1st century BC,
the Basques defended their homeland against a Roman invasion; they maintained
independence throughout occupations elsewhere in the peninsula by Romans,
Visigoths and Moors. The latter made several unsuccessful attempts to take Pa!s
Vasco between the 8th and 11th centuries, when they dominated the rest of the
peninsula. The roots of modern French Basques are found in Spanish Basques who
migrated across the Pyrenees during the 6th century and settled in Gascony. The
Basques who remained in Spain maintained their autonomy throughout the Middle
Ages; Vizcaya managed to stay independent until 1370, when it was united with
Castile. Even after the kingdoms of Castile and Arag"n were united under
Ferdinand and Isabella, however, the Basque provinces maintained diplomatic
relations with other countries until 1876, when Pa!s Vasco was fully absorbed
Not even annexation by Spain could quench the Basque culture or language. As
evidenced by their history, Basques are proud and independent. Their love of
freedom and respect for individual liberty is characterized by the Basque motto,
"Neither slave nor tyrant." Basque tradition provides for government by the
people, elected by the people. It was not uncommon in Basque history for
fishermen to preside over public meetings attended by Spanish nobles. Linguists
in the modern era have attempted to trace the origin of Euskara, with limited
success. Most consider it to be a language with no known relatives. A few
scholars have attempted to demonstrate similarities between Euskara and other
early Iberian languages, but they have been unable to provide conclusive proof.
Notwithstanding, and perhaps because of, its ancient origin, literature in
Euskara is sparse. A book of love poems printed in 1545 and a translation of
the New Testament that appeared in 1571 are the earliest known works. Other
portions of Basque culture D dance, sports and attire D have been maintained
with greater success.
Like Catalonia, the Basque country continued to push for autonomy even after it
was annexed into Spain in the late 19th century. The Basques received their
wish during the Civil War when the Republican government, attempting to divide
Nationalists forces, established the autonomous Basque state. The Basques
fought viciously to maintain their freedom; Franco retaliated in 1937 with a
request to Hitler that the Luftwaffe bomb the Basque stronghold of Guernica.
The resulting carnage was the subject of Picasso's monumental painting of the
same name. The Basque state was dissolved when Franco took control of the
country; Basque culture and language were also outlawed.
Notwithstanding his economic concessions that moved the country away from
autarky in the early 1960s, Franco refused to budge on regional autonomy. In
response to a meeting of opposition forces in Munich in 1962, he declared
martial law. The crackdown didn't end until the early '70s, when international
pressure was applied to keep members of the Basque separatist movement Euskadi
ta Askatasuna ("Basque Homeland and Freedom," or simply "ETA") from being
executed. Repression did little, however, to diminish the desire for regional
autonomy. As soon as marital law was lifted, Catal n activists were again
clamoring for independence. The ETA continued its campaign of terror against
police, government officials and the army. From their point of view, Basque
terrorists dealt Franco's government a major blow with the 1973 assassination of
Even before Franco's death, however, Juan Carlos I had decided privately that
the country could not continue in its authoritarian state, and he aimed to
transform the country into a democracy. After his coronation, he set plans in
motion that culminated in 1978 in the passage by the Cort s of a democratic
constitution that provided, among other things, freedom for the country's
"nationalities and regions." Catalonia and Pa!s Vasco were granted home rule;
their languages were officially recognized.
While these were important concessions, resentment still burned deep in the
Basque Country, whose people resented any ties to the central government in
Madrid. Between 1968 and 1993, ETA terrorists killed more than 800 people in
violent attacks. Even Basque citizens began speaking out against ETA's violence
in 1994, but they became silent when it was learned that the Gonz lez M rquez
government in Madrid had used public funds to finance anti-terrorist guerrillas
who pursued and executed ETA members on both sides of the Pyrenees. Meanwhile,
Catalonia continued to push for greater control over local affairs. Although
Juan Carlos I thrilled Catalonia by opening the '92 Olympics with the salutation
"Benvingut a Barcelona" ("Welcome to Barcelona" in Catal n), it wasn't enough to
keep Catalonia party leader Jordi Pujol from demanding in 1994 that the region
be given control of transportation services and regional police forces.
National and Regional Media in the Post-Franco Era
Newspapers during the Franco era were so censored or filled with Falange
propaganda that Spaniards did not trust them. When democracy was declared,
those who had lived through the dictatorship simply did not have a daily
newspaper habit. Consequently, although newspaper circulation in Spain doubled
between 1979 and 1988, Spain continued to have the lowest newspaper circulation
per capita of any country in the European Union (Cracking over the press, 1988).
Most Spaniards, Kordich (1992) wrote, receive their news from television or
radio. While Spaniards read fewer newspapers than any other nationality in the
EU, Davis (1994) noted that daily news broadcasts regularly finish among Spain's
From its inception in 1956 until the early 1980s, Spain's state-sponsored
television network, Televisi"n Espa$ola (or TVE), enjoyed free run of the
Spanish airwaves. Unchallenged by competitors and supported at first by taxes
(and later by a combination of taxes and advertising), TVE was a reflection of
the mediocrity of culture and social life in the Spain ruled by Franco, and of
the censorship and manipulation of his news programs (Baget i Herms, 1990). In
the years after Franco, TVE continued to represent the centrist position of the
Madrid government and was at times accused of being nothing more than a
propaganda service for those in control of the government (Davis, 1994; Sampedro
When the Constitution was signed in 1978, however, recognition of Catalonia
and Pa!s Vasco as autonomous regions automatically gave them the power to create
their own broadcasting systems. TVE recognized almost immediately the
implications of losing its monopoly. As Catalonia and Pa!s Vasco prepared to
broadcast on their own regional stations, TVE first argued that their autonomy
didn't extend to broadcasting. When that line of reasoning was rejected, TVE
attempted to limit the role of the regional channels by offering technical
assistance. However, the regional channels refused help and said that TVE was
trying to gain control of their programming by making them technologically
dependent (Sampedro Blanco, 1995).
The precursors of what have become the two regional stations D TV3 Catalunya in
Barcelona and Euskal Telebista in Bilbao D began broadcasting local programming
in early 1983. In particular, they were launched to encourage the use of their
respective regional languages. Of the two, TV3 is considered the more
sophisticated. Although its primary mission is to promote the use of Catal n,
TV3 has not limited itself to a regional newscast (which an analysis of CNN
World Report stories should indicate). The station does, however, cover
Catalonia more closely than TVE or other Spanish stations (Davis, 1994). Euskal
Telebista, on the other hand, is more provincial in nature. True to the
independent spirit of the region, it focuses on news and culture of interest to
Basques, and little else (Davis, 1994).
In 1987, CNN invited broadcasters around the world to submit news stories
of their choice to be aired on a new program called World Report. CNN executives
knew that their aim of becoming a global news network would depend at least in
part on their willingness to broadcast news from a variety of perspectives
(Flournoy, 1992). Consequently, CNN did not (and still does not) impose
limitations on the types of stories broadcasters could submit. The only
specification was that reports had to be longer than 2+ minutes. Because North
American media, as we shall see, do not seem to have covered Spain's economy,
customs or culture with any degree of regularity, the CNN World Report provided
an avenue for the regional television stations to distribute such news, both in
the crucial North American market and on a global scale. TV3 Catalunya was a
key contributor to the program in its first year. Euskal Telebista began
submitting reports in 1989.
Given what seems to be an important connection between the continued
development of Spain's economy and the maintenance and prosperity of her
regional cultures, one might ask whether the regional television channels have
used their access to CNN World report to distribute news of a development
nature. Thus, this study seeks answers to these research questions:
1. To what extent have the Spanish regional stations taken advantage of
opportunity to submit reports to CNN World Report?
3. What types of stories have Spanish regional stations contributed?
5. What proportion of those stories could be considered development news?
7. What longitudinal trends, if any, exist in Spanish regional stations'
reports over the first nine years of CNN World Report?
Before these questions are addressed, however, it is will be necessary to
discuss coverage of Spain in North American media and to define how the concept
of "development news" is to be understood in this study.
U.S. Media Coverage of Spanish Culture, Economy
Exhaustive search of pertinent literature failed to uncover studies that may
have examined how North American media have covered Spain's transition to the
European Union or her subsequent economic development. Thus, the descriptions
cited here are anecdotal and do not represent a comprehensive study of such
A search of electronic databases such as Periodical Abstracts, Newspaper
Abstracts and Lexis-Nexis reveals that North American print media tend to cover
Spain sporadically. Most of the coverage has appeared in elite media with
traditions of foreign coverage, such as The New York Times. The most-covered
topic in the 1990s has been the Barcelona Olympics, making up 34 percent of all
stories identified; coverage of terrorist acts by Basque separatists is a
distant second at 10 percent. Coverage of the Spanish economy has been
minuscule (2.5 percent); it has been limited primarily to corporate mergers and
the bailout of a major bank in 1994. It should be noted here that regular,
reliable coverage of Spain, and her economy in particular, is available to
readers of The Economist or the Financial Times. Nevertheless, these
publications are not considered mainstream North American publications.
Analysis of the coverage of Spain in evening network newscasts reveals similar
results. Of the stories about Spain identified in searches of transcripts for
early evening newscasts on ABC, CBS, NBC and CNN, the vast majority (46 percent)
dealt with the Olympics. Terrorism was the next most-covered topic, at nearly
20 percent. Coverage of the Spanish culture was only slightly greater than
coverage of the economy, which was almost nil.
Although the structure and performance of media systems in developed countries
often may be assessed according to one of the four traditional theories of the
press identified by Siebert, Peterson and Schramm (1956), McQuail (1991) argues
that media systems in developing countries often lack the circumstances or
resources necessary to apply any of these theories. In their place, he says,
the theory of development journalism may be applied, particularly when a country
lacks a developed communication infrastructure. Development systems oppose
foreign domination and arbitrary authoritarianism. They support positive uses
of media in national development, particularly when these uses promote the
autonomy and culture identity of a particular society (McQuail, 1991, p. 120).
Development theory, says McQuail, places novel emphasis on the "right to
communicate," which he says is taken from Article 19 of the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights. Among its primary principles: Media should take
into account economic priorities and development of society's needs, and media
should give priority in content to the national culture and language (McQuail,
1991, p. 121).
One might contend that considerations of development theory do not apply to
Spain, her economy or her culture because Spain is a "developed" country and is
a member of the European Union. Nevertheless, Melkote (1993) argues against
limiting development theory to Third-World countries: "Confining all the
problems of underdevelopment to the Third World does disservice to the poor and
needy in First World countries" (p. 145). The dilemma is one of balance. Just
as there are pockets of "First Worlds" in the Third World, Melkote argues, there
are "Third Worlds" in the First World. Thus, scholars would do better to
consider the term "Third World Problems" as a reference to constraints in
development itself rather than as a geographic label, Melkote reasons (pp.
If Melkote's reasoning is used to determine whether development theory may be
applied in this case, it is obvious that Spain qualifies. For example, one
constraint in development of which Melkote speaks is a consistently high
unemployment rate. By far, Spain suffers from the highest unemployment rate in
the European Union; unemployment has ranged between 18 and 23 percent in the
1990s (Jones, 1996). Before the economy began its latest recovery, there was
real fear that Spain would not satisfy the criteria to be included as a
first-tier nation in the Maastricht Treaty, and there still exists considerable
doubt about whether it will happen (Maxwell & Siebert, 1994, p. 50-51). In the
traditional sense, Spain cannot be considered a development economy, but her
economic circumstances dictate that some elements of development theory be
"Development news" is a central theme in previous analyses of CNN World
Report. Kongkeo (1988) and Dilawari et al. (1989) employed similar definitions
of the term because the latter study was a replication of the former. These
studies conceived "development news" as news which reflects positive light on
development of the economy of the community in question. Political, defense,
military, crime, conflict and disaster stories were excluded from the
definition. Also, stories with political or conflict-oriented themes were
excluded from consideration. Dilawari, Stewart and Flournoy (1989) found that
the amount of development news stories submitted to CNN World Report by
developing countries was significant, but declined slightly between 1987 and
1989. Their findings sustain the contention that, given a chance to do so,
developing countries often fail to report their own development news (Aggarwala,
In a later study, McClean and Stewart (1995) rejected the idea that certain
topics should be excluded from the development theme. They argued that such a
definition was arbitrary in its identification of certain topics as falling
outside the development category. They cited Vilanilam (1979), who suggested
that development could mean different things to different people:
The meaning of development varies according to the changes
occurring in the social, economic, political, cultural, ethical,
scientific and technological values of a given society. . . .
[D]evelopment in essence must represent the entire gamut of change by
which an entire social system turns to the diverse basic needs and
desires of individuals and social groups within that system, moves
away from a condition of life widely perceived as unsatisfactory and
towards a situation of life regarded as materially and spiritually
better. . . . [W]hat is better depends on the present conditions of
life in the particular country.
McClean and Stewart concluded that such a view "takes into account the
'development reality' of a particular country or region." Inevitably, they
said, this view leads to two questions that must be asked in a study of a given
country's development news: What does development news mean to people in that
country? And constitutes a development news story for that country?
The Spanish Reality: -Ol !
On the whole, Spanish journalists seem to have taken it upon themselves to
increase the world's understanding of Spain and to erase the negative
stereotypes that may still linger from the Franco years. One prominent news
director commented in 1992, "Too many people still think Spain is only flamenco
dancing and bullfights." Another said he sees media as an opportunity to teach
the world that Spain is a modern, democratic country: "It's a grand window for
the world to look in at us. Spain has been isolated from the world for many
years" (Kodrich, 1992).
The principle is even more deeply felt in the autonomous regions. A core
element of autonomy is linguistic in nature (Laitin, 1992), which explains why
the Catal ns and Basques in particular are so intent on maintaining their
separate cultural identities. Catal ns, for example, believe that the tie
between language and culture is so inextricable that the death of their language
will mean the death of their culture (DiGiacomo, 1985; Calvert, 1971).
Coupled with that cultural reality are the economic reality of joining the
European Union and the probability of a standardized European currency before
the turn of the century. These factors have led to a gradual shift in
ethnoregional attitudes, particular among Catal n scholars and economists. Like
Franco and his economic advisers in the late 1950s, proponents of Catal n and
Basque separatism seem to have come full circle, realizing that their economies
will suffer further indignities if they are isolated from the rest of the
country or from the European Union. Enric Mar!n i Otto, an author and professor
at the Autonomous University of Barcelona, notes that popular opinion in both
Catalonia and the Basque Country now supports greater autonomy but not complete
independence from Spain (Mar!n i Otto, 1997). Such a stance allows the
autonomous regions to maintain and nurture their distinct cultures while
pursuing their political agendas and cultivating economic opportunity at home,
elsewhere in the European Union, and beyond.
Given that reality, we might expect to see development efforts of the Spanish
regional stations focused in three areas: economy, culture and politics. In
addition to an in-depth and significant focus on economic issues, we would
expect development stories to make meaningful progress toward educating
international viewers about the Spanish culture and customs, particularly those
of the autonomous regions. In addition, we suspect that stories dealing with
regional, national and international political agendas will receive significant
Having discussed coverage of Spain in North American media and defined the
concept of "development news" as it is understood in this study, we are now in a
position to pursue answers to the four research questions.
The author and two other coders analyzed the content of 264 stories submitted
by the Spanish regional stations to CNN World Report's Sunday edition from 1987
to 1996. Because CNN World Report's first show aired on Oct. 25, 1987, stories
were divided into 12-month periods from late-October to late-October. As was
done by McClean and Stewart (1995), the newscast closest to Oct. 25 of each year
was used as the starting point of each "fiscal" year. The final year of the
study was 1995-96.
Stories were analyzed using abstracts from "run-downs" provided by the CNN
World Report staff, which are available at a web site maintained by Texas Tech
University (CNN Archive). Most abstracts provide explicit summaries of the
content of corresponding stories. In five instances, summaries were not
sufficiently explicit, requiring coders to view videotape of those segments to
aid in coding. Data were analyzed using SPSS-PC+.
For each of the 264 stories analyzed, coders recorded the story number, air
date, station submitting the report, the topic, and the nature of the story
(development, non-development or mixed). Seventeen topic categories established
by McClean and Stewart were used to record topics. These include "social
services" (stories about housing, water, electricity and gas); sports;
"education" (stories about primary, secondary, tertiary and pre-school
education, as well as stories about technical and vocational schools); "health"
(stories about health care, medical research and nutrition); "legal issues"
(stories about legislation, police matters and the judiciary); "labor relations"
(stories about strikes and other trade union issues); "transportation" (stories
about air, sea and road transportation); "agriculture and fisheries" (stories
about farming, horticulture, fishing and animal husbandry); "tourism" (stories
about growth and role of tourism or tourist attractions); "social and moral
problems" (stories about drug trafficking, vandalism, crime, delinquency, etc.);
"culture" (stories about cultural and independence celebrations, and those about
cultural habits and norms of the society); "economic issues" (stories about
trade, investments, prices, exports and imports, trade commissions, economic
aid, etc.); "natural disasters" (stories about hurricanes, volcanoes, and so
on); "environment" (stories about efforts to reduce pollution and preserve the
environment); "politics and diplomacy" (stories on regional, domestic and
international politics); "human interest" (interesting news stories about
non-political persons in the country); and "religion" (stories about religion or
worship of a deity). In addition to these categories, a pilot study indicated
the need to add an 18th category for stories dealing with matters of national
defense and military service. It was called "military issues."
In addition to categorizing stories by topic, each story was classified as
either "development news," "non-development news," or "mixed." A story was
considered "development news" if its content addressed solutions to a current or
future problem, or if its content would reflect positively on efforts to resolve
a problem. Consistent with the McClean study, simply identifying the problem
was not enough for a story to be considered development news. A story was
considered "mixed" if it covered more than one theme, at least one of which was
of developmental nature. For purposes of statistical analysis, these stories
were counted as both "development" and "non-development" news.
Stories were coded by three graduate students, including the author.
Extensive training of coders in pilot testing resulted in an initial intercoder
reliability rating of 84 percent using Stempel's percentage-of-agreement formula
(Stempel, 1955). Residual differences in coding decisions were resolved in
The data in Table 1 (page 15) demonstrate the extent to which the Spanish
regional stations have taken advantage of the opportunity to submit reports to
CNN World Report. They show that Spain's two regional stations were active
contributors to CNN World Report over its first nine years. TV3 Catalunya was
the more active participant; it submitted 241 of the 264 stories. While TV3 was
one of World Report's most active contributors in the program's first two years,
Euskal Telebista did not submit its first report until the third year and did
not submit a story in the final fiscal year of the study. ET's submissions
peaked at 9 stories in 1990-91, just 1 story more than TV3's least-productive
Table 1: Total News Stories Per Year Submitted By Regional Spanish Stations
(n = 264)
Station 87-88 88-89 89-90 90-91
91-92 92-93 93-94 94-95 95-96
TV3 Catalunya 46 41 33 30
32 24 18 9 8
Euskal Telebista 0 0 6 9
2 4 1 1 0
Totals 46 41 39 39
34 28 19 10 8
Table 2 (below) responds to the second research question by providing a
breakdown of the types of stories the Spanish regional stations have provided to
CNN World Report. Predictably, the regional stations submitted more stories
about culture than any other topic, although politics and diplomacy was a close
second. Interestingly, stories about social and moral problems were reported
twice as often as stories about the economy. Other topics receiving significant
play were sports (which could be attributed to the Barcelona Olympics), health,
and military issues.
Table 3 (page 16) responds to the third research question by showing that
nearly half the stories submitted D 46 percent D adhered to the development
Table 2: Proportions of News Topics
(in order of descending frequency)
Politics and Diplomacy 0.186
Social and Moral Problems 0.144
Economic Issues 0.072
Legal Issues 0.064
Military Issues 0.045
Agriculture and Fish 0.023
Human Interest 0.023
Social Services 0.019
Labor Relations 0.015
Natural Disasters 0.008
Table 3: Proportion of Development Stories in
Relation to Non-Development Stories
Type of Story Proportion
However, as we will see in Table 5 (below), development stories seemed to come
in spurts. They were not consistent over the nine-year period.
Tables 4 and 5 (below) demonstrate two significant longitudinal trends over
the first nine years of CNN World Report. In Table 4, we see that the Spanish
regional stations made their greatest contribution to the report in its first
year, and that the number of submissions has steadily decreased since 1987-88.
Table 5 demonstrates a tri-modal distribution of the ratio of development
stories over the nine-year period.
Table 4: Trends in Stories Submitted Table 5:
Trends in Development Stories
1987-88 0.174 1987-88 .545
1988-89 0.155 1988-89 .309
1989-90 0.148 1989-90 .465
1990-91 0.148 1990-91 .500
1991-92 0.129 1991-92 .476
1992-93 0.106 1992-93 .438
1993-94 0.072 1993-94 .333
1994-95 0.038 1994-95 .363
1995-96 0.030 1995-96 .600
The trend demonstrated in Table 5 is particularly interesting when it is
considered alongside the rise and fall of Spain's Gross Domestic Product during
the recession of the early 1990s. Table 6 (below) compares the two trends.
Note how the downturn in GDP in 1993-94 and eventual upswing in 1993-94 and
1994-95 coincides with the decrease and
Table 6: Comparison of Proportion of Development
Stories and Increase in Gross Domestic Product
Proportion of Increase*
Year Development in GDP
1987-88 .545 6.2
1988-89 .309 6.2
1989-90 .465 5.5
1990-91 .500 4.2
1991-92 .476 2.1
1992-93 .438 0.6
1993-94 .333 -1.2
1994-95 .363 2.2
1995-96 .600 3.8
(* some figures are estimates taken from a graph)
subsequent increase in the proportion of development stories. Obviously, one
cannot claim a causal relationship here, but perhaps this is more than a mere
Further examination of the data might lead one to wonder whether there
might be differences in the manner in which TV3 and Euskal Telebista covered
similar events. Tables 7 and 8 (below) were prepared to demonstrate how each
station covered various topics. Interestingly, both stations submitted more
development than non-development reports for three of its top four story
categories. As expected, both stations devoted a significant number of reports
to matters of culture and politics; development stories in those categories
Table 7: Breakdown of Stories, TV3 Catalunya
(in order of descending frequency)
Topic D ND M
Politics and Diplomacy 20 18 8
Culture 22 14 5
Social and Moral Problems 6 24 5
Economic Issues 9 7 3
Legal Issues 3 10 4
Health 1 8 3
Sports 8 2 1
Military Issues 3 5 3
Religion 3 3 1
Agriculture and Fish 1 5 0
Environment 2 3 1
Human Interest 2 4 0
Social Services 0 5 0
Transportation 1 3 1
Education 2 1 1
Labor Relations 0 4 0
Tourism 2 0 1
Natural Disasters 0 2 0
Other 0 1 0
Total 85 119 37
(D = Development; ND = Non-development; M = Mixed)
Table 8: Breakdown of Stories, Euskal Telebista
(in order of descending frequency)
Topic D ND M
Culture 8 1 0
Sports 3 1 0
Politics and Diplomacy 3 0 0
Social and Moral Problems 1 2 0
Education 2 0 0
Religion 0 1 0
Military Issues 0 1 0
Total 17 6 0
(D = Development; ND = Non-development; M = Mixed)
constitute a plurality for TV3 Catalunya and a clear-cut majority for the Basque
station. Surprisingly, however, reporting on economic issues did not seem to be
a priority for TV3; Euskal Telebista produced no economic stories whatsoever.
Of the 19 stories that TV3 submitted about economic issues, 9 were development
stories and 3 others contained elements of development stories.
The findings of this study indicate that Spain made excellent use of its
opportunity with CNN World Report in the program's first five years, but that
Spanish participation has waned in recent years. Given the fact that nearly
half of the stories submitted were considered "development news," Spanish
journalists appear to have taken advantage of the opportunity to submit stories
that could dispel incorrect stereotypes abroad. If the number of stories
submitted by the Spanish stations continues to decrease, they will have
squandered what, in a development sense, amounts to a significant opportunity.
Although there is nothing more than anecdotal evidence to support this
argument, it might be said that the findings of this study also support the view
that development theory and practice may be applied to a country such as Spain
that are already considered "developed" countries. This is the case because the
findings here indicate that "development news" is much greater than merely
focusing on the economy. As this study has shown, elements such culture and
political autonomy may have implications for development.
It should also be pointed out that, although expectations were fulfilled in the
level of attention given to matters of culture and political autonomy, the lack
of focus on the Spanish economy is rather disappointing. A remedy of that
oversight in future reporting for CNN World Report is recommended. In
particular, it is surprising to see that tourism D so major a segment of the
Spanish economy that it was allowed a separate category to track its coverage D
was virtually ignored. Spain's tourism earnings were $16.5 billion in 1988,
before the downturn in the economy in the early '90s; with the upswing, tourism
growth is expected to continue into the next century. Notwithstanding tourism's
importance, however, TV3 did only 3 stories about tourism and Euskal Telebista
Given Euskal Telebista's extremely high number of "development" stories about
Basque culture, in proportion to non-development stories on the same top (the
ratio was 9 to 1) further study on this topic might seek to differentiate
between development news and "boosterism," and analyze reports from the Basque
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