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Arts & Culture

Bad News, Rich Culture: Looking Beyond the World News Headlines

Frankie Leon
Flickr Creative Commons

News about other countries tends to focus a lot more on what’s wrong with a place, than what’s going right.

Recently, reports about the earthquake in Nepal, kidnappings in Nigeria and Islamic extremism in Iran have dominated the news.

That’s the job of the news, but it can make us think that every bad event defines the whole country. Just as the motorcycle shootings in Waco affected a small part of those living in Texas, Boko Haram reflects a small part of Nigerian culture.  

In defining a country by its worst news, we leave out the people and cultural richness that live beyond the headlines, and tend to assume that countries are far more homogenous than is true. It’s hard enough to learn about the people in our backyard - let alone across oceans - but it would be worth it try a little harder.

Today we talk to four people who challenge what we think we know about other cultures.


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John Dankosky and Chion Wolf contributed to this show, which originally aired on May 22, 2015.

Betsy started as an intern at WNPR in 2011 after earning a Master's Degree in American and Museum Studies from Trinity College. She served as the Senior Producer for 'The Colin McEnroe Show' for several years before stepping down in 2021 and returning to her previous career as a registered nurse. She still produces shows with Colin and the team when her schedule allows.

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