Our Short Attention Span on Foreign Disasters (‘The New York Times’)


In his latest New York Times Upshot blog, Assistant Professor of Government Brendan Nyhan talks about Americans’ short attention span when it comes to foreign disasters such as last week’s earthquake in Nepal.

“In the days since the quake, the riots in Baltimore after a man died from injuries suffered while in police custody came to dominate the news cycle,” says Nyhan. “Reporting on events there has pushed news about the earthquake off the front page and attracted extensive cable news coverage.”

Nyhan continues, “The events in Baltimore and Nepal are both important and deserve our attention. But foreign news generates far less interest from consumers than domestic events. As a result, a story about a disaster like Nepal’s is more easily pushed off the news agenda.”

Read the full opinion piece, published 4/30/15 by The New York Times.

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