Disparities in Reporting Neighborly News Between the U.S. & Canada


Part of my job here at the Canadian Studies Center includes sharing news stories about Canada and Canada-U.S. relationships via our social media sites.  Typically, I’m able to find a decent amount of material to share on topics ranging from health care and finance to museums and the housing market.  But recently I’ve begun to notice where all of these stories are coming from—Canadian news sources.  I felt perhaps I should give some American news sources a look to give our social media fans and followers some variety.  Lo and behold, however, that when searching American news outlets for information pertaining to Canada, there was little to choose from.

This led me to a comparative search of how much U.S. news was reported in Canada compared to how much Canadian news was reported in the U.S.  The results were disheartening.

When I compared two news sources of comparable size and stature in neighboring cities, Detroit & Windsor, (The Detroit Free Press & the Windsor Star) the difference in news was astonishing. When searching “U.S.” on the Windsor Star website almost 45,000 results are found.  Try searching “Canada” on the Detroit Free Press’ website.  You’ll get less than 2,500 results.  For two neighboring cities that are so economically interdependent on one another, this difference in recognition via news sources was very surprising to me.  According to Canadian Consul General to Michigan, Roy Norton, Michigan and Ontario have long-standing and important ties to one another.  Thousands of Canadians are season ticket holders of the Wings, Lions, Pistons, and Tigers; and many Southwestern Ontario sports enthusiasts consider Detroit teams to be ‘their’ teams as well.  More than 80 Michigan companies have operations in Canada (ex:  Dow Chemical, Kellogg, Dart Container, Stryker, Whirlpool), and 68% of all Michigan agricultural exports to the world are to Canada.  That means essentially 20% of everything grown on Michigan farms is sold to Canada.  218,000 jobs in Michigan depend on trade with Canada.  Without a strong relationship with Canada, Michigan’s economy would suffer exponentially!

After this I decided to see if other parts of the country were lacking Canadian news as much as Detroit.  The New York Times seemed like a good place to look—and it’s true, the results of typing “Canada” into the New York Times’ search bar on the website produced far more results.  About 23,400 from the past twelve months to be exact.  Searching “U.S.” in the search bar for the Globe and Mail website however, puts that number to shame.  236,995 results show up.  Granted I will admit, I have no idea if those results are from the past twelve months or longer, but still, having a difference of over 200,000 seems like a big difference to me.

With the trade and economic interdependence of the U.S. and Canada, I have to wonder why more Canadian news isn’t reported in the U.S.  Many border states share natural resources and depend on each other as partners in trade—so why isn’t there more recognition of that on the U.S. side of the border?  What’s happening in Canada has an effect on us in the U.S., so we need to be aware when events are occurring in Canada.

Thoughts, anyone?

For more info on the U.S./Canadian (specifically Michigan/Canadian) relationship, check out these articles written by Canadian Consul General to Michigan, Roy Norton: