Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Hypothesis One: Interest in Local News on Foreign Websites

Although very little is written on TCKs and their use of the media, one thing that struck me was the "3D view" that they have on the world. As an example, Pollock and Useem mention that TCKs "get homesick" while watching National Geographic for instance:
As TCKs live in various cultures, they not only learn about cultural differences but also experience the world in a tangible way that is impossible to do through reading books, seeing movies, or watching nightly newscasts alone. Because they have lived in so many places, smelled so many smells, heard so many strange sounds, and been in so many strange situations, throughout their lives when they read a story in the newspaper or watch it on the TV screen, the flat, odorless images transform into an internal 3-D panoramic picture show. It's almost as if they were there in person, smelling the smells, tasting the tastes, perspiring with the heat. They may not be present at the event, but they have a clear awareness of what is going on and what it is like for those who are there. (Pollock & van Reken, 2001: 83 - 84)
I think that the experience that they are referring to here is something that we all experience once in a while - the funny feeling that we get, when we unexpectedly see a very well known landmark that we visit every day on TV. When we see this image, we also see what is invisible to others who are viewing the same image, for instance the surroundings behind the camera and behind the landmark.

We could suppose that ATCKs (Adult Third Culture Kids) then would hunger for images and stories from afar to regain a sense of proximity to the places which they know so very well, and that they would use the Internet as a main tool for this purpose. One main source would be news websites, especially those with video news. In-depth narratives and stories would be preferred from simple “shallow” news, so we might expect that a high percentage of ATCKs would be likely to own subscriptions to certain newspapers (online or offline) to delve in richer and more detailed accounts of countries afar.

This hypothesis is further supported by the findings of Jeffres et al., who submit that among the more traditional media (TV, Radio and books), individuals with a very high “cosmopoliteness score” prefer to explore their world through book readership, rather than up-to-minute reports of world events, compared to individuals with a “low cosmopoliteness score” (from “A model linking community activity and communication with political attitudes and involvement in neighbourhoods” (2002), referred to in “Cosmopoliteness in the Internet Age”).

So, my first hypothesis would be that
H1: ATCKs are likely to prefer web news from TV news due to the global diversity available on the Internet, and due to in depth accounts about the localities in which they were brought up.

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