Cultural Indicators of New Generation Journalism Practices Implemented by Transnational News Agencies in Turkey in the Context of Earthquake Reporting

Serhat Yetimova

Sakarya University. Sakarya, Turkey. Email: serhaty[at] ORCID:

Received: 15 July 2023 | Revised: 29 September 2023 | Accepted: 7 October 2023


This study investigates how the transnational news agencies BBC, The Voice of America, Sputnik, Euronews and Al Jazeera Turk, which broadcast in Turkish that use new generation media tools by focusing on the news they developed about earthquakes in Turkey. Using the thematic content analysis method, the article compares new generation media theory and disaster journalism with practical applications and reaches conclusions involving a number of cultural differences. The main problem of the research is that earthquake reporting in Turkey is not effective enough in the national press. The aim of the study is to determine which applications are used by the news agencies that make effective earthquake reporting by using new generation media tools in the earthquake processes. The transnational news media active in Turkey produced news about the earthquake in a wide variety of contexts. When I consider the thematic contexts it is seen that city culture, preventive policies, building technology, education, psychological and sociological causes and effects often coexist. It is also seen that transnational news agencies play an important role in raising the phenomenon of journalism with a high level of political engagement in Turkey to a level of professionalism that takes care of the public interest.


New Generation Media; Transnational News Agencies; Turkish Media; Earthquake Reporting; Alternative Media; Earthquake Journalism; Media Literacy; Turkish Digital Media; New Media Tools


Культурные индикаторы журналистской практики нового поколения, реализованные транснациональными информационными агентствами в Турции в контексте освещения землетрясений

Йетимова Серхат

Университет Сакарья. Сакарья, Турция. Email: serhaty[at] ORCID:

Рукопись получена: 15 июля 2023 | Пересмотрена: 29 сентября 2023 | Принята: 7 октября 2023


В этом исследовании изучается, как транснациональные информационные агентства BBC, The Voice of America, Sputnik, Euronews и Al Jazeera Turk, ведущие вещание на турецком языке, используют медиа-инструменты нового поколения, концентрируясь на новостях, которые они подготовили о землетрясениях в Турции. С использованием метода тематического контент-анализа в статье сравниваются теория СМИ нового поколения и журналистика катастроф с практическим применением. Автор приходит к выводам, учитывающим ряд культурных различий. Основная проблема с точки зрения исследования заключается в том, что освещение землетрясений в Турции недостаточно эффективно в национальной прессе. Цель статьи – определить, какие приложения используются информационными агентствами, которые делают эффективные репортажи о землетрясениях, используя медиа-инструменты нового поколения в процессах, связанных с землетрясениями. Международные средства массовой информации, работающие в Турции, публиковали новости о землетрясении в самых разных контекстах. Рассматривая тематический контекст, можно заметить, что городская культура, профилактическая политика, строительные технологии, образование, психологические и социологические причины и следствия часто сосуществуют. Видно также, что международные информационные агентства играют важную роль в повышении феномена журналистики с высоким уровнем политической активности в Турции до уровня профессионализма, который заботится об общественных интересах.

Ключевые слова

СМИ нового поколения; международные информационные агентства; турецкие СМИ; репортажи о землетрясениях; альтернативные медиа; журналистика о землетрясениях; медиаграмотность; турецкие цифровые медиа; новые медиа-инструменты



Recent natural disasters such as earthquake and climate in Turkey have increased the importance of field reporting specific to these spheres. Many scientists have come to shout about the importance of field reporting in the sense of earthquake reporting. One of the most important issues in field reporting is undoubtedly earthquake journalism. The examples of such journalism, which requires certain scientific equipment, will be examined through the cases in point, presented by transnational news agencies in Turkey. It is seen that 16 international media organizations are currently operating in Turkish (Karaduman, 2019, p.471-477).

This research is limited to the examples presented by Turkish versions of BBC, The Voice of America, Sputnik, Euronews and Al Jazeera Turk. The reason for this limitation is that the mentioned media organizations are pioneers in new generation journalism practices. Other news agencies have relatively few or almost none examples of new generation journalism practices. This research, in which content analysis method will be used, tries to understand how earthquake news in the digital platforms of transnational news agencies that produce Turkish content are produced with new generation media techniques. Such a study will mediate people gain a panoramic view of earthquake reporting in Turkey to raise awareness and gain in-depth analysis.

After the Kahramanmaraş earthquake of February 6, 2023, there has been a significant increase in earthquake-oriented news content in national and international media. This increase may be directly related to propaganda activities, as well as include multidimensional analyzes of the causes and effects of the earthquake. Considering the educational and informative news about earthquake journalism in the national media, it is seen that earthquake news is far from the sensitivity of disaster journalism and serves more as a political propaganda mechanism. It is necessary to make an examination through specific examples on this subject; however, this study does not claim to make such an analysis, but examines how qualified and internationally professional media organizations use the new generation journalism practices by focusing on the content produced by them.

The new generation journalism applications contain a series of techniques and technologies that will help the news with complex and multifaceted features to be understood more easily. Understanding how these techniques and technologies are used and focusing on certain examples will also make scientific and professional efforts in a field such as a disaster or earthquake reporting visible.

The above-mentioned international and glocal1 news platforms show that they use new generation journalism practices effectively and in various ways, as well as reporting on the geological, sociological, cultural, psychological and educational aspects of the earthquake in addition to the political discussions, and they also show that they have adopted an approach towards fact reporting beyond event reporting.

In addition, the content on the aforementioned international news platforms helps to develop its potential and raise awareness on this issue by reporting not only the problems in Turkey but also the strengths of Turkey. As a matter of fact, the related news of BBC Turkish, “Why does Turkey, which teaches the Netherlands to build earthquake-resistant houses, suffer so much destruction?” provided an example that supports this approach. In the related news, Rudi Roijakkers from the Dutch Builders Association states that “Experts from Turkey taught us how to build earthquake-resistant buildings in the Groningen region of the Netherlands, where there is constant tremor”, and underlines that Turkish construction companies abroad act in accordance with the relevant country’s legislation. “However, according to the Dutch administrator, high-intensity earthquake-resistant buildings cannot be constructed due to the lack of supervision in Turkey and the very expensiveness of this method” (Özkan, 2023).

National news sites, agencies or channels in Turkey were not included in the study. There are many reasons for this. Academic studies show that the political engagements of national press and media organizations are quite frequent, intense and visible. Apart from this, it is seen that the national media tend to make more sensational news in order to get ratings and more income.

Erdoğan (2006) clarified the approach of the national press in Turkey to earthquake reporting in his remarkable research titled “Journalism Concepts of National and Local Newspapers in Turkey: A Comparative Analysis of Earthquake News” in the field of earthquake reporting:

Research findings have shown that news that uses gloom, unhappiness and sad depression to activate people’s emotions can often take place in newspapers in terms of attracting people’s attention. Considering the data obtained in the research, the earthquake news published in the Hürriyet newspaper included more dramatic and tragic elements, sensationalist and panic-inducing elements compared to the Yeni Asır Newspaper. However, it is seen that the common elements that determine the value of earthquake news published in national and local newspapers are sensational, dramatic and tragic elements.(…) However, as can be seen in the particular of Hürriyet and Yeni Asır newspapers, while the newspapers give relatively more space to the views, actions and decisions of the political elite in earthquake news in the context of ‘connection with the elite’, the journalism concept of the mentioned newspapers intersects at the point of ‘elite reporting’ (Erdogan, 2006, p.63).

According to the “Media Ownership Monitoring Report” (MOM, 2016) based on official sources such as the Reuters Institute Digital News Report, Printed Media Statistics, TurkStat (TÜİK) and CİMER (Republic of Turkey Presidential Communication Centre), the total number of newspapers published in Turkey in 2020 is 2,164. According to August 2021 data, 943 radio stations and 475 television channels are on the air in Turkey. According to the related report, it is seen that all groups except Aesthetic publishing in the opposition wing are involved in the intense engagement in favour of the government. On the other hand, the Independent Communication Network (BİANET) has been monitoring and reporting violations of freedom of speech since 2001. According to the Independent Communication Network’s observation reports, it is seen that the political engagement of the current national media is at an advanced level (Bianet, 2023: Karan, 2022). All these data pave the way for the national media in Turkey to be able to produce biased, limited news in favour of the political elites on earthquake reporting. For this reason, the contents produced in the national media were not included in the research.

On the other hand, according to research-news in Journo, pro-government national media organizations are trying to generate income by making empty SEO news of their news content in order to get more clicks and profits. The following statements are included in the related article:

The big media organizations under the control of the government have been making “SEO” news almost every day for 3 weeks, with questions such as “How much was the death toll in the earthquake” and “how many injured”. In recent days, none of these news stories have answers to these questions. Despite this, Google, which earns money by receiving an advertising commission from these news sites with each click, ranks the “SEO fraudulent” content of the ruling media at the top in almost all searches. Millions of users are directed to empty “photo galleries” on pages full of ads. (…) As of today, in this search, the Google algorithm recommends very similar “news” from CNN Türk, Sabah, Milliyet, Fotomaç and Habertürk (Journo, 2023).


This research is limited to the examples presented by Turkish versions of BBC, The Voice of America, Sputnik, Euronews and Al Jazeera Turk. BBC Turkish shared an 8-page news series with the tag “6 February earthquake”. BBC Turkish does not have a search engine. For this reason, it is not possible to search for “earthquake” in the general plan. When I search Euronews with the word “earthquake”, a total of 1454 news items are found. 524 news content is presented regarding the Kahramanmaraş earthquake. In the Voice of America (VOA), 2873 news items can be found by searching for “earthquake”, while 769 results are found when searching for “Kahramanmaraş earthquake”. While 8204 news items can be found by searching for “earthquake” in Sputnik Turkey, there are 2670 results when searching for “Kahramanmaraş earthquake”. Since Al Jazeera Turk suspended its broadcasts in Turkey in 2017, earthquake news from previous years was examined. While the number of news is not given in Al Jazeera Turk, various earthquake-themed news files have been prepared. In the research, not all news was scanned, but analyses were made only by looking at the presentation of the news in which “new generation media technologies” were applied. For this reason, thematic content analysis was performed, not frequency analysis.

The news agencies examined within the scope of the research were subjected to thematic analysis and also examined according to cultural and ideological discourse analysis related to how they use “new generation media technologies”. Therefore, dual mixed method was used in the research. Van Dijk’s critical discourse analysis method was used together with thematic content analysis methods for the use of “new generation media technologies”.

In the context of critical discourse analysis, the ownership structure of BBC, Voice of America, Sputnik, Euronews and Al Jazeera Turk were examined within the scope of the research. In addition, the transnational media journalism approach is discussed in the context of power relations. Afterwards, the contents of these news agencies were analyzed regarding how they use new-generation media technologies in the sense of media capitalism.

According to Van Dijk (2015, p.135-136), technological and visual language is also a tool of ideological discourse. The frequency and type of digital technologies used are also part of an ideological discourse. According to Van Dijk (2013, p.32-33), memory is divided into two and news mediates the strengthening of social memory. Some thinkers who defend the media and control thesis argue that the media is a capitalist control tool. The hypothesis of the research is that Western media (BBC, Voice of America, Euronews) uses new-generation media technologies more effectively than Eastern media (Sputnik and Al Jazeera Turk) to control media and news flow. In the context of the critical ideological discourse analysis suggested by Dijk, the media policies, institutional structures of the news agencies subject to this research, the ethical characteristics of earthquake journalism and transnational agency journalism were evaluated together and their relationship with media technology was discussed together, too.

New Generation News Technologies

In the complex news universe created by information technologies, new-generation news platforms are needed. Digital tools such as filtering, labelling and design have become a vital necessity in order to catch the truth in the information and news chaos. Digital tools and expertise are needed to enable a coherent and comprehensive perspective in a virtual world where video, audio and text attacks occur from anywhere. When the new generation news organizations are mentioned, it is necessary to understand that an ease in this direction is offered to the benefit of the reader.

The following news sites can be given as examples of platforms using New generation journalism applications in Turkey: Journo, Doğruluk Payı,, Yeşil Gazete, 140journos, Dünyahalleri, Eğitimpedia, Medyascope, Bianet, Anadolu Agency (Turkish National News Agencey) and Turkish versions of DW, Euronews, BBC, Vocie of America, Al Jazeera, Independent (etc.) (Yetimova, 2020).

According to the news in Journo (2016) and Al Jazeera Turk (Kılıç, 2015), the impossibility of following all the news due to the size of the data flow necessitates the emergence of a new set of tracking tools. They develop the following types of tools to follow the news on these sites effectively and comprehensively: video-news, virtual reality applications, 3D animations, games, interactives, graphics, and timelines in general. However, there are more new generation news tracking technologies on such new generation news platforms as can be found in the following articles explained (Kılıç, 2015):

The Associated Press which is one of America’s central news agencies, also heavily uses new generation journalism technologies on its platform. The images shared below show the examples presented in terms of new generation journalism techniques (Yetimova, 2017, p.222-231):

Illustrated and coloured words or quotations are used among the news texts on a new generation news site such as Journo ( In addition, there are surveys at the end of the news about whether the content satisfies the reader or not. The news order of the platform, which also has an English section, is in the form of large square Images. In addition, it is seen that large size, aesthetic and effective visuals are used in the news related to each theme (Yetimova, 2020, p.53).

Examining the earthquake news, Journo uses a wide variety of graphics in his news titled “News sites give more space to expert opinions than newspapers and TVs” [Haber siteleri uzman görüşlerine, gazete ve TV’lerden daha çok yer veriyor]. The news is based on the reproduction of academic research in this field with different statistics. In the related news, it is seen that technical data design sites named Datawrapper, Flourish Studio and Google Docs are used. A link to the available statistics is also provided in Excel format. In addition, references to the original sources of the articles in the news are also included on the relevant page (Kara, 2023).

Figure 1. Journo heavily uses statistical data in earthquake reporting.


The importance of technical knowledge is always expressed in field reporting. Based on this principle, Journo tried to explain the concepts in the earthquake literature, their meanings in local and foreign dictionaries, and the technical aspects of the concept with visuals and graphics. This approach is one of the important indicators of new generation media journalism (Derin, 2023):


Figure 2. Graphic designs are also active on Journo


An example of new generation journalism that draws attention in Journo is the creation of interactive news sections. The news content with animated visuals named “Earthquake journalism: All episodes in the Journo article series (06.03.2023)” [Deprem haberciliği: Journo yazı dizisinde tüm bölümler], prepared with Flourish’s Interactive content feature, is designed as 10 sections. In the news directory, where all sections can be opened by clicking on one place, there are news of independent journalists working in the national, international and local press.


Figure 3. Interactive News Sections on Journo as One Page


Transnational News Agencies and Ideological Features of Transnational Journalism

The BBC, which stands for British Broadcasting Corporation, is a public broadcasting organization that broadcasts with the financial support of the state and the public. The British Broadcasting Company Ltd was established as a private company in 1922. In 1925, the company was liquidated and in 1927 it restarted broadcasting as a public institution under the name British Broadcasting Corporation. Although the BBC has responsibility to parliament, it continues its work independently. The Voice of America (VOA) is an international broadcasting organization funded by the United States government on February 1, 1942. VOA is the largest international broadcaster in the United States, and it produces digital, TV and radio content in more than 40 languages worldwide. It is headquartered in Washington, DC and is overseen by the Governors Broadcasting Board (BBG), an independent agency of the US government. The Voice of America has been broadcasting in Turkish since 1942. Euronews was founded in Lyon, France, in 1993. Euronews has developed the world’s first global media adapting the “glocal” news brand to the expectations of many local audiences. Euronews is a major institution reaching nearly 400 million homes in 160 countries. In terms of audience numbers, Euronews is the news channel with the highest audience rate on the European continent. Al Jazeera, a Qatar-based news channel, was established in 1996 with the financial support of the Emir of Qatar. In April 1996, BBC World's Saudi Arabia-based Arabic channel was closed, and most of the channel’s employees moved to Al Jazeera. Although the channel first started broadcasting only with current news about the Arab world, it has since included other thematic channels. The channel attracted worldwide attention with its broadcasts and especially after the September 11 attacks on the US Twin Towers in 2001. Sputnik is an international media organization based in Moscow, launched on 10 November 2014 by the Russian media group ‘Rossiya Segodnya’ [Russia Today]. Sputnik, which has offices in different parts of the world, broadcasts through its website and radio in 130 cities covering 34 countries. Sputnik’s regional offices are located in various regions and countries around the world, including the United States (Washington), China (Beijing), France (Paris), Germany (Berlin), Egypt (Cairo) and the United Kingdom (London and Edinburgh). Focused on international audiences, the agency mainly reports on world politics and economy (Karaduman, 2019, p.471-474).

Russ-Mohl, who studies the cultural characteristics of the European media, draws attention to the localization of the press while the ownership of the European media is globalizing. In other words, European societies demand more local, regional or national news. Although the European Journalism Centre (EJC) sets certain standards, there is no common approach to European journalism in Europe. Yes, EU journalism and journalism focused on EU policies are showing a significant increase. However, some studies show that the European media do not agree on the transition to the common currency, for example the Euro. The EU-type journalism model is not a structure where everyone thinks the same things and the majority shares the same opinion. EU media is a media model that is open to intellectual, philosophical, ideological and political differences and values investigative journalism. According to Gianfranco Fabi, the press, newspapers and media organizations in the EU are media that have accepted this media policy of the EU as a fundamental value. Research conducted by the American Media Monitor and the German Medien Tenor think tanks showed that the EU media did not have a common attitude regarding Euro policies. This situation also occurred during the preparation of the EU constitution. All these data show that there is no common EU media identity and culture. Europeanness manifests itself more as news language and polyphony (Arsan, 2008, p. 117-119).

There are also some studies on British and French journalism. Olivier Baisnée’s research on Brussels journalism revealed that the British think differently from the French. According to this research, British journalists do not stay in Brussels for very long. The reason for this is the professional deformation and loss of impartiality they will experience if they stay for a long time. The French, on the other hand, think that spending a long period of time will bring professional maturity. This is the reason why, while British journalists change every 3-4 years, French journalists prefer to spend a period of 10 years in Brussels. This situation shows that a common culture and identity of EU-type journalism has not been formed (Arsan, 2008, p. 120).

Transnational EU media, on the other hand, expresses the aim of this polyphonic, liberal and institutional structure of the EU to extend beyond the European continent and influence the media of other countries. It aims to break the information and cultural oligarchy in the context of freedom of expression in the information society. Manuel Castells’ network society theory requires defending the thesis that the EU is actually a network society (Arsan, 2008, p. 113).

From this perspective, transnational EU news media is an entrepreneurial model that tries to spread the EU discourse in countries outside the EU through transnational commercial collaborations. This model affects EU entrepreneurs as well as EU people. EU citizens or entrepreneurs need transnational news channels where they can follow developments in countries outside the EU in their own language and cultural discourse. This expectation is related to the need for them to be sure that they carry out their touristic, cultural, educational, academic and commercial exchanges on a healthy basis.

Global communication networks, local audiences and ambiguous legal regulations make it difficult for the state to control media and communication systems and cause them to evolve into a commercial structure. Except for China, Singapore and the Islamic fundamentalist world, there is hardly a country in which the media business structure did not undergo privatization in the 1980s and 1990s. This includes government channels. There are two points in privatization: viewer ratings and advertising revenues. The factors that stumble the nation state and its media are seen as follows (Castells, 2006, pp. 401-404):

Establishing authority over the media is costly for governments, because when people start to obtain different information from social media/non-governmental sources, the power in the countries is shaken. Murdoch’s Star Channel has been punished for its liberal views on Chinese politics. It was also asked to invest in the online edition of the People’s Daily, instead of removing BBC news from its Chinese language programmes. This situation is an example of a control mechanism. Due to the shares in media companies, governments are not always so effective and are insufficient to control the media (Castells, 2006, p. 403).

According to the famous Mac Bride Report, which was unanimously accepted by UNESCO at the Belgrade Conference in 1980 and compiled into a book with the title Many Voices, One World, all major news agencies are biased in their news about Third World countries. One of the underlying reasons for this bias is Western prejudices about Third World Countries. The West has drawn its own image of the world based on these prejudices, and it constantly reinforces this image with its own news (Avcı, 1999:150 as cited in Karaduman, 2019, p.467-471).

UNESCO’s efforts for a new communication order, which were criticized by Western states, were accepted at the 1978 Paris Conference, although the differences of opinion were evident – and reduced. This declaration does not constitute an international agreement. However, it is a document that has the characteristics of a “moral law” for the mass communication profession. The UNESCO Declaration on Communication Tools includes 16 principles: (Topuz, 1980:18 cited in Karaduman, 2019, p.467-471) However, some of the articles here are noteworthy in that they also pave the way for the establishment and proliferation of transnational news agencies and mediate the development of a Western-centred media structure:

1- Communication tools should help the development and spread of human rights. 3- They should follow a publishing policy that will ensure international rapprochement. 5- Mass media should follow a publishing policy that will contribute to the establishment of a more equitable economic order in the international arena. 9- Journalists should be provided with the opportunity to receive and transmit news freely. 10- Communication tools should allow the public to participate effectively in the creation of news. 11- A free and balanced flow of news should be ensured within the country and between countries. 12- Mutual and multifaceted information exchange should be developed between states with different social and economic systems.

According to Andrew Austin, Clinton gathered all non-military propaganda efforts under one roof in 1994 under the supervision of USIA. These would include Radio Marti, Radio Free Europe, Radio Free Asia, Radio Liberty, Voice of America and Worldnet television. In this new organizational period, the expansion of free trade in the world would be advocated and the expansion of NATO would be supported (Öymen, 2014, p.284).

According to Wilson P. Dizard Jr., throughout history, the most effective propaganda tool against the Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc in general was the radio broadcasts made by Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty. These radio broadcasts were directed by the “Free Europe Committee” established by America in Europe, and journalists who had previously fled the Soviet Union to the West were used in the broadcasts. In addition, financial aid was provided to anti-communist unions, journalists, some politicians and political parties in Western Europe. The “Cultural Freedom Committee” established in Western Europe also played an effective role in these propaganda efforts. (Öymen, 2014, p. 260).

Although there appears to be a strong civil society in the United States, the opinions and thoughts circulating in the public are dominated by corporations and the capitalists who control them. In capitalist societies such as the USA, radio and television do not operate according to the understanding of public interest or aesthetic criteria. The media field is an area where monopolistic companies dominate and operate. American cultural industries, under the control of global monopolies, also dominate the media markets, especially in Third World countries. The American monopolistic corporate structure does not allow communication systems to be used for the public benefit. Holdings, which control material and intellectual resources, control financial resources, technology, R&D activities, production knowledge, technology and content production, distribution and consumption processes, and companies derive from their power in this field (Schiller, 1969a, p.5, cited in Yaylagül, 2018, p.14)

Current Debates on Earthquake Journalism in Turkey and Approaches to Factual Journalism

After the earthquakes in Kahramanmaraş on February 6, 2023, an Earthquake Journalism Guide was prepared by Üsküdar University Faculty of Communication. Leading the preparation of the guide, Prof. Süleyman İrvan commented on earthquake reporting in Turkey and the recent earthquake reporting activities. He thinks that this concept, which is referred to as “earthquake reporting” in the literature, has no equivalent when looking at journalism practices in Turkey. According to Irvan, the main reason why earthquake reporting did not develop is the lack of journalists with technical knowledge in the field of geology. In addition, Irvan thinks that event journalism is not practiced in Turkey based on the concept of “preventive reporting”. He argues that a journalism practice that examines the pre-event and its multidimensional results has not developed in Turkey which causes the continuation of social and environmental problems (Maden, 2023, pp.407-409).

Irvan (2023) summarized the “earthquake reporting for social media users and journalists” guide in News Lab Turkey, and he also stated that the rules that journalists should follow mean the rules that the readers should pay attention to when choosing news channels. The examples below show the ethical dimensions of earthquake and disaster reporting, as well as refer to expert opinions, knowledge and objectivity. Some of the notable ones among these 30-item rules are as follows:

  1. It is necessary not to make posts that have no scientific value, such as “Americans caused the earthquake” or “the prophet who knew about the earthquake”, and not to spread the shared posts.

  2. Images of another previous earthquake should not be shared on social media as if they were new.

  3. Photos and videos shared on social media should not be manipulated such as adding, removing, collaging or montage in a way that distorts reality.

  4. Social media posts and news containing hate speech; provocative, marginalizing and discriminating expressions should not be used.

  5. Let's express our condolences and express our sorrow to the people whose relatives have passed away, but not use expressions such as "I understand your pain", "this will pass", "everything will be alright".

  6. It is not correct to dramatize the images by adding music and to narrate the photographs while giving the news about the earthquake. News should be based on information, not emotion.

  7. We should pay attention to the fact that the news sources to be consulted are experts on the subject.

Independent Turkish has also prepared a series of articles on disaster or earthquake reporting. In the news of investigative journalist Faik Bulut which is “What is earthquake journalism and what is not? (1)” [Deprem haberciliği nedir, ne değildir? -1] he underlines that journalists working on disaster journalism must be on the field with technical knowledge and equipment. In the related news series, Bulut (2023) also gave examples of fake earthquake news produced with artificial intelligence in Turkey, and stated that these news were examined by news verification platforms such as Journo, Teyit.Org, Doğruluk Payı (etc.) and that they had biased and false aspects. He also referred to the vulnerability of this area to abuse (Bulut, 2023).

In the second part of the news series titled “What is earthquake journalism, what is it not? -2” [Deprem haberciliği nedir, ne değildir? -2] Bulut (2023), who presented a road map about how to follow a more technical way in an earthquake, made special reference to rights journalism, professional composure, technical knowledge and equipment. He has drawn a clear line between pro-government embedded journalists and professionals by featuring the views of various alternative media outlets, verification platforms, academics and internationally experienced journalists.

Factual journalism practice and new generation journalism practices are mostly seen in alternative media in Turkey. One of the most ideal examples of this is seen in the news titled “Re-establishing a city: Returning to Ancient Antakya” [Tr. Bir kenti yeniden kurmak: Kadim Antakya’ya dönüş] in Yeşil Gazete which is a digital media focused on nature, environment and climate news. In the related news, visual aesthetics (text and images), before and after photos, drone reporting, listing, enriched hypertext and tagging features are used together. In the news, contexts were developed between the earthquake and the environment, climate, ecosystem, sustainable urbanization, architecture and historical culture, and an example of new generation and factual journalism was exhibited (Gönen, 2023).

Figure 4. Examples of New Generation Journalism Applications Used on Yeşil Gazete


Similarly, Gazete Duvar has given the problems of earthquake reporting, the position of journalists and possible solutions for false, biased or negative news under various headings. In a news shared with the headline “Television focused on miracles, social media focused on pain”, what happened on social media and traditional television channels during the earthquake was discussed comparatively with its positive and negative aspects, as well as expert opinions (Dağsalgüler, 2023). Similarly, Şenol (2023), who deals with the earthquake issue within the theory of disaster journalism and thinks that current news especially highlights trauma, argues that a journalism practice that does not pay attention to social, identity, and cultural sensitivities will cause public health problems. The related news also includes expert opinions, for example, the problematic nature of the news titled “Miracle” is expressed as follows:

Ceylan Akgün believes that people’s suffering has not been respected since the first day of the incident. She says that the carelessness in recording and disseminating the images of those waiting to be rescued under the rubble, dead bodies, and those waiting in despair and pain at the head of the wreckage, increases the pain several times. She adds that this approach, which seems to be a so-called journalistic success, has sometimes turned into a pornography of pain. As Susan Sontag argues in her book Looking at Others’ Suffering, she refers to the finding that when we watch other people’s pain, we inwardly enjoy because that pain has not actually happened to us. According to her, news contents serve this feeling to a large extent. She emphasizes that the way to share the pain is not to watch the helplessness and destruction in the face of disaster, but to cooperate to overcome the trauma and get stronger. Gülseren Adaklı, on the other hand, draws attention to the fact that the news and videos presented with titles such as “miracle salvation” and “miracle baby” once again traumatized those living around the wreckage. Based on her own testimony, she describes the depression that these people experience when a “miracle” cannot be offered to them.

Cultural Indicators of New Generation Earthquake Journalism in Transnational News Agencies Operating in Turkey

In the BBC Turkish service the news titled “Did AFAD manage the disaster?” [AFAD, afeti yönetebildi mi?] the content was presented with the support of text, video news and infographics. In the related video news, street interviews, voice-over narration and expert opinions were included together. The relevant news content used a combination of text and visuals to facilitate the understanding of the subject (Özdemir, 2023).


Figure 5. On BBC Turkish, “Did AFAD manage the disaster?” uses video-infographics effectively


In the news titled “How did the Red Crescent change after it became a corporation?” [Kızılay şirketleştikten sonra nasıl değişti?], the historical development of the Turkish Red Crescent is presented in consultation with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) using timeline, diagram and archive photographs (Öztürk and Şimşek, 2023).

Figure 6. “How did the Red Crescent change after it became a corporation?” on BBC Turkish


In the news titled “Kahramanmaraş: Anatomy of destruction” [Kahramanmaraş: Bir yıkımın anatomisi], features such as news-video (Mahmut Hamsici—Ege Tatlıcı), graphics (Osman Kaytazoğlu), voiceover (Emre Temel) and drone footage (Reuters, DHA, Arif Aslan) were used. In this way, the effect of the news was further strengthened.

Figure 7. BBC Turkish, “Kahramanmaraş: Anatomy of destruction”


In the news titled “Where is the rubble removed from the earthquake area thrown, who decides?” [Deprem bölgesinden kaldırılan molozlar nereye atılıyor, kim karar veriyor?] the developments about the huge piles of rubble in the region and the debate on where the garbage should be dumped were conveyed. In the related news, maps and satellite images taken from Google were used.

Figure 8. News on BBC Turkish: “Where is the rubble removed from the earthquake area thrown, who decides?”


The BBC Turkish service which scrutinizes other applications in the world to improve earthquake awareness, reported on the building systems in Japan, where earthquake prevention technologies are advanced. In the news titled “How do major earthquakes survive in Japan with little damage?”[Japonya’da büyük depremler nasıl az hasarla atlatılıyor?] technical visuals and explanatory animation visuals were used together to make it possible to understand the subject more clearly (Yorlmaz, 2023)

Figure 9. Japan earthquake news from BBC Turkish, Garden City, Japan Property Central


It is seen that an effective and aesthetic image was used in the news titled “American scientists warned: The next earthquake may be in Pütürge” [Amerikalı bilim insanları uyardı: Bir sonraki deprem Pütürge’de olabilir] published in Euronews that released on April 24, 2023. The artistic aesthetics of the photo frame is used as an effective tool in telling the truth of the news.

Figure 10. A photograph by OZAN KOSE/AFP in the news titled “American scientists warned: The next earthquake may be in Pütürge”

In the video news titled “Antakya two months after the earthquake: Before and after the disaster with satellite images” [Depremden iki ay sonra Antakya: Uydu görüntüleriyle kentin felaketten önce ve sonrası] and labelled No Comment (11/04/2023) in Euronews, it is seen that the new generation journalism technique is used effectively. Two images, before and after the earthquake, are presented in a contrasting way in the content where satellite photographs are used to understand the destruction of the earthquake. Thus, readers who look at the two photos can clearly see the destruction in the whole city.

Figure 11. Before and after, Dailymotion and Euronews


One of the important new generation journalism practices in Euronews is news storytelling called “Witness”. In the related video, it is seen that the journalists had a one-on-one dialogue with the residents, the injured, and the rescue teams who experienced the Kahramanmaraş earthquake and were involved in all stages of the search and rescue activities. In the related video, earthquake victims express their feelings and thoughts and convey the developments in the region in a sincere language (Borges, 2023).

Figure 12. Archival images and engravings are also used in Witness, Euronews-Dailymotion


It is seen that illustrations are also used in an additional way in Euronews. The news titled “Earthquake: How long can a human survive under the rubble?” [Deprem: Bir insan enkaz altında ne kadar süre hayatta kalabilir?] and “Searching for life in an earthquake: How is rescue work done in four stages?” [Depremde hayat arama: Dört etapta kurtarma çalışması nasıl yapılır?] are considered important in this respect. This feature, which increases the aesthetic/brand value of the news, stands out as an impressive method to attract the attention of the readers.

Figure 13. Transport of heavy and large pieces of debris, Source: Reuters Connect on Euronews


Figure 14. The illustrations contribute to a better understanding of the movement areas of the injured and the removal and transportation of large debris pieces. Source: Reuters Connect on Euronews


Statistics, maps and infographics are used effectively in the context of earthquake reporting in Euronews. The creation of various statistics in the related news based on TurkStat (TÜİK) Images facilitates an easier understanding of the economic effects of the earthquake.


Figure 15. Euronews transforms the raw data it receives from TurkStat (TÜİK) into maps and statistics on the subject


Figure 16. Euronews transforms the raw data from TURKSTAT into statistical tables in various ways


Another noteworthy information in Euronews is the news titled “14 days after the earthquake in Turkey with photographs: Effort, hope, wreckage” [Fotoğraflarla Türkiye’de deprem sonrası 14 gün: Çaba, umut, enkaz] (24/02/2023), which has a photogram feature. Euronews which serially includes photographs of various national and transnational news agencies is also remarkable in that the photographs it selects show the sociological effects of the earthquake. These photographs, which are human stories, also have the power of dramatic effect.

Figure 17. Photogram News on Euronews


The Voice of America (VOA) also effectively uses new generation journalism techniques in the earthquake theme. In the news titled “Students in the earthquake are preparing for the exam in the training centre established by volunteer teachers” [Depremzede öğrenciler gönüllü öğretmenlerin kurduğu eğitim merkezinde sınava hazırlanıyor], the drone recordings conferred simultaneously with the text and the actual footage are presented in a way that complements and reinforces each other (Erkılıç, 2023).

Figure 18. Video and Drone Images on Voice of America


The Voice of America (VOA) includes interviews with earthquake victims in the video gallery section. These interviews with human stories are also supported by drone footage. This news, which has the feature of being the extraordinary story of ordinary people, comes to the fore as a very effective method in terms of understanding the effects of the earthquake at the micro level (Toroğlu and Taşkıran, 2023). In these videos, there are those who support policies as well as those who criticize the government (VOA, 2023).

Figure 19. Human stories in the video gallery featured on The Voice of America (VOA)


In another news on VOA, it is seen that human stories come to the fore effectively. The news titled “56 Years of Cinema Love Left in the Wreck” [56 Yıllık Sinema Aşkı Enkazda Kaldı] was supported by compelling videos and visuals. The news that tells the story of Abdulkadir Aydın, who runs the movie theatre in Galeria Site where the Kahramanmaraş-centered earthquakes caused destruction in Diyarbakır, reports Aydın’s love of cinema and also analyzes the psychological, economic and sociological impacts of the earthquake on a person (Bozaraslan, 2023). This type of news also strengthens the brand value of the news in VOA.

Figure 20. Examples of human stories in VOA are presented with an effective visual

The Voice of America (VOA) also uses the filtering function in different ways. For example, it has been made accessible with the filtering feature to show all the news made by the journalists who produce the most earthquake news content on a single page. In this way, it has become possible to reach all audio-visual-textual news made by relevant journalists with a single click. In addition, it is possible to make the notifications open by adding the subscription function.

Figure 21. Voice of America improves filtering functionality


Figure 22. In The Voice of America searches, options such as author information and detailed date ranges have also been added



In The Voice of America, special interviews from Turkey or outside the United States and their presentation in Turkish are advanced techniques in terms of new generation journalism. In the related news, “France’s most well-established and reliable charity, Fondation de France, organized a donation concert last week for the benefit of earthquake victims in Turkey and Syria with the public television France 2. The concert, which was supported by many artists, collected 2.3 million Euros.” The views, activities and support of the international public about earthquakes in Turkey are examined closely or at a micro level. (Çakır, 2023). Another news article titled “Fazil Say Marks His Donation Concert in Paris” [Paris’teki Bağış Konserine Fazıl Say Damgasını Vurdu] includes the following information:

At the concert held to help earthquake victims at the Olympia Concert Hall, the oldest and most important concert hall in Paris, hearts beat for Turkey and Syria. French, Turkish and Syrian artists came together in a concert called “One Heart Against Earthquake”. Participating in the concert, Fazıl Say joined the night with his work “Black Earth”. The French public television France 2 and the Fondation de France Foundation organized a donation concert to heal the wounds caused by the earthquake disaster that hit Turkey and Syria and to collect aid for earthquake victims. Along with thousands of spectators, the Minister of Culture Rima Abdul Malak also attended the concert. The concert was broadcast live on France 2, TV5 Monde Television and France Inter Radio. Before the concert, the news and images compiled by the France 2 TV team from the earthquake area carried the deep pain of the earthquake to Olympia Hall (Çakır, 2023).

Figure 23. Video interviews are dubbed in VOA


Sputnik Turkey, like other transnational news agencies, includes design, effective visual use and social media shares in its news content. The news titled “Haluk Levent announced: Scholarship for earthquake-affected students from Constructor University” [Haluk Levent duyurdu: Constructor Üniversitesi’nden depremzede öğrencilere burs] sets an example in this sense. In addition, the like emoji options at the end of the news make it easier to follow the emotional responses of the readers’ reactions to the news.

Figure 24. New generation journalism techniques, tags, emojis, social media references in Sputnik Turkey


Earthquake news in Sputnik Turkey comes out one after the other. There is no horizontal numbering. In addition, political, official, state-themed news seem much more prolific than those with culture-education-science content.

Figure 25. In Sputnik Turkey, the news is increasing automatically one after the other


In Sputnik Turkey, the use of podcasts is seen as a different new generation journalism application which also has the feature of downloading to personal computers. A part of the series called New Things Guide (Yeni Şeyler Rehberi) is devoted to earthquakes (Ayan, 2023). Dr. Nihan Kalkandeler Özdin (from Üsküdar University, Department of Sociology) and ITGroup CEO Mehmet Ertan Erdoğan were guests of Serhat Ayan’s program on Radio Sputnik. In the related program, the advantages of the Caravan lifestyle as a new lifestyle and the digital advantages offered by the use of ChatGBT were discussed.

Figure 26. Serhat Ayan's New Things Guide program on Radio Sputnik | Serhat Ayan’ın Radyo Sputnik’te sunduğu Yeni Şeyler Rehberi programı


Sputnik Turkey, like other similar news agencies, embeds social media content on its page (without redirecting it to a different page) and includes it in the news flow. Sputnik Turkey took the interview of Geophysicist French Professor Xavier Le Pichon and Kürşat Oğuz in Habertük from Habetürk’s Twitter page and presented it as video content in its news feed. It is also provided to open the original content when requested.

Figure 27. “Geophysicist Le Pichon: Türkiye shifted 4 meters west” Sputnik quoted in Turkey (20.02.2023)


Sputnik Turkey also makes excerpts from its own social media accounts and presents them as content in their news feeds. In this case, it is possible to design a single news in accordance with the format of all social media formats and the digital news site. The news titled “24-year-old woman, who set off from France with her own truck, brought aid to Turkey for earthquake victims” [Kendi tırıyla Fransa'dan yola çıkan 24 yaşındaki kadın, depremzedeler için Türkiye'ye yardım getirdi] is an example of this practice.

Figure 28. Sputnik Türkiye news site and its’ Twitter account offer simultaneous content


Sputnik Turkey also includes news documentaries in its news feed. The news with the title “What was in the Sputnik earthquake documentary that was blocked by YouTube?” [Youtube’un engellediği Sputnik deprem belgeselinde neler vardı?] provides information about the content of the Sputnik documentary called “While the Dragon Awakens: The Future Marmara Earthquake”. [Ejderha Uyanırken: Gelecek Marmara Depremi] The news agency explains why the documentary was blocked as follows: “YouTube blocked Sputnik due to Russia’s Donbass operation, and blocked the documentary it made with experts such as Cenk Yaltırak, Nasuh Mahruki and Celal Şengör about Turkey’s expected great Istanbul earthquake (13.02. 2023).”

Figure 29. Sputnik Documentary “As the Dragon Awakens: The Next Marmara Earthquake”


Based on theses such as American/Western hegemony and the spread of innovations, it can be stated that the transnational media field serves liberal economic focuses. New generation media technologies are a field where statistics, infographics, 3D technologies, effective visual and video software are used, which are a part of new generation media narratives. Western-based capital also has significant power and influence in this technological or digital expansionism. While the contents produced in the form of new generation media make it easier for the Western bourgeoisie/elites/liberals to make decisions for their investments in such countries as Turkey, they also transform the industrial media dynamics of developing countries such as Turkey. The number of Western news agencies in Turkey is greater than that of Eastern news agencies. Even this situation explains the imperialist position of the media.

In other words, making the media more technological, digital and systematic is possible with the capital power of the Western media. This dependency relationship threatens the original structure of the news content produced in Turkey and the media organizations they are affiliated with and also serves as a role model in global competition.

The decisions taken by UNESCO, the investments made by the EU in its own media organizations, the efforts of the American government to develop media technologies through both Silicon Valley investments and transnational collaborations have provided the Western bloc with a technological superiority in the field of media.

This technological superiority allows the media field to be strengthened with more digitalized and technical equipment. Media outlets in the Eastern bloc, such as Sputnik and Al-Jazeera, are either weaker in the face of these transnational collaborations or they need Western human resources and technologies. The fact that the Emir of Qatar received education in England and that Al-Jazeera’s human resources made transfers from the BBC Arabia service is an indication of this situation.

Western news agencies work like local media. This situation is related to Western capital’s demand for information from the field at the micro level. While Western societies expect local news from their own media, Western business people, liberals and bourgeoisie are curious about how Turkey is managed at the micro level and what its cultural dynamics are like. For this reason, Western media organizations want to receive versatile, local and statistically traceable news from Turkey. This situation causes Western critical theorists such as Schiller, Mattelart, and Castells to see the process as Western and media imperialism.

The international news media active in Turkey produced news about the earthquake in a wide variety of contexts. When we consider the thematic contexts we can see that city culture, preventive policies, building technology, education, psychological and sociological causes and effects often coexist. In addition, the media organizations examined within the scope of the research carried the culture, public health, environment and ecological structure, climate, architecture, urbanization problems and humanitarian aid to their news. All these news are supported by effective visualization, page design, video-interviews, linked/relevant hypertextual news content, enriched tagging and search features, and they have demonstrated an advanced journalism practice in terms of a new generation media phenomenon.

Comparing the ease of use of websites, one important observation is that Western-based news sites have a relatively simple and user-friendly interface. Additionally, it is important to acknowledge that searching and tracking news in Sputnik Turkey is relatively more complex and difficult. The main indicator of this becomes evident when the news featured in Sputnik Turkey is presented one after the other instead of on horizontally numbered pages. So much so that when the news page is scrolled down, the number of news automatically increases, and it seems difficult to understand which news is remaining, but when the page is taken back, it is noticed that the featured news goes to the beginning. For this reason, the news should be opened in a separate tab.

It is seen that statistical tables seen in Euronews are used effectively in new generation news platforms. The creation of a wide variety of statistics by processing the raw data makes it easier to understand the multidimensional effects of the earthquake’s destruction. Similarly, various human stories including diversified political and expert opinions and the inclusion of the contents of various national and international news channels into the flow also provide an opportunity for the formation of a multi-faceted view. The diversification of the sources, subjects and related conceptual and thematic contexts of news content allows the issue to be discussed outside of politics. In other words, it is possible to discuss the issue without reducing it to politics. In this way, it is easier to get rid of the shallow world of narrow political discussions and to understand the real causes and multifaceted consequences of the earthquake.

The transnational news agencies play an important role in raising the phenomenon of journalism with a high level of political engagement in Turkey to “a level of professionalism that takes care of the public interest”. One of the basic indicators of this is undoubtedly the effective use of advanced technological applications, defined as the new generation, in the transnational news platforms examined within the scope of the research.

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1This concept is used for the structure of international/global (mostly Europe-based) news agencies broadcasting in Turkish in Turkey.