GaWC Research Briefing 3

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A Surrogate Measure of Relations: Content Analysis of 'Business News'

P.J. Taylor

This method involves counting references to places in city newspapers. By focusing on material which the newspaper targets to its business community, we can provide a snap shot of the 'world image' of information provided to a city business community by its main public provider of information. By concentrating on the front page we select only those places which occur in stories selected as being particularly important by the editor. The main advantage of this surrogate measure of world city relations is that it is based upon easily accessible data thus allowing time series information to be computed.

In our experiments with this method we have found that it best to use the business section of major city papers rather than specialist financial papers such as the Financial Times. For the latter, general stories are mixed with economic ones so that subjective decisions have to be made to screen out some citations. In other papers, of course, other stories are treated in other sections of the paper which we do not use. The methodology described below is that used in GaWC Research Bulletin 1.

For a given city newspaper in a given year sample the front page business news for 24 daily issues. This will provide a reasonable coverage for an annual statistic. Days are selected as follows: the first working day of each month plus the same day the following week. Thus each month is equally weighted and there is no bias towards any particular day of the week.

For this sample of pages record references to places. As well as other world cities, references will be found to a range of places ranging from particular locations of corporate headquarters such as Dearborn to general references to regions such as 'Asia' and 'Europe' or 'the West' and 'the North-East' in the USA. World city references can be allocated to the listing provided in GaWC Research Briefing 5. All places can be classified into world regions and regions within the USA as indicated below. There will be just a few very general references too broad to fit our scheme. All information should be kept at the lowest level of reference for alternative classification of places to facilitate alternative analyses.

In identifying references to places two rules of inclusion/ exclusion are adopted. First, we did not count place references in the form of ethnicities. However, adjectival references referring to place of origin, such as 'Japanese businessmen' were deemed to be place references. Second we decided to include multiple place counts within the same story. This takes into account the greater importance of longer news items.

World region classification

I Northern America (USA and Canada)

 of which USA

 II Central America (Panama to Mexico including the Caribbean)

 of which Mexico

 III South America (Columbia to Chile)

 of which Brazil

 IV Eastern Europe (former USSR and other communist states)

 of which Russia

 V Middle East/North Africa (Morocco/ Turkey to Afghanistan)

 of which Turkey

 VI Sub-Saharan Africa (from Mauritania to Ethiopia south)

 of which South Africa

 VII Pacific Asia (Thailand to Japan)

 of which China

 of which Japan

 VIII South Asia (former British India to Sri Lanka)

 of which India

 IX Australasia (Australia to Pacific beyond Indonesia/ Philippines)

 of which Australia

 X Western Europe (Norway to Malta/ Cyprus)

 of which France

 of which Germany

 of which Italy

 of which UK

Regions I, IV, VII and X are defined as 'globalization arenas' in GaWC Research Bulletin 3 and GaWC Research Bulletin 4.