If It Happened Here: Parodying ethnocentrism in journalism

Slate’s Joshua Keating has a great series called “If It Happened Here” that uses “the tropes and tone normally employed by the American media to describe events in other countries” to describe events in the United States. It’s a great mirror-image look at ethnocentrism in journalism.

I’m linking to all of them here in chronological order so my journalism students can easily find them in one place.

To my students: For the articles with less specific headlines (such as “In Brutal Contest of Strength and Strategy, a Culture Is Revealed”), try to guess the topic of the article before you click the link. Also, note the use of words like “villages,” “clan,” and “cleric” in the articles. What tone do they set for the topic?

Sept. 30, 2013: The Government Shutdown

Nov. 13, 2013: Twilight of an Oligarch

Nov. 27, 2013: America’s Annual Pilgrimage Festival Begins

Dec. 30, 2013: In Dispute Over Duck Kingpin’s Comments, a Society’s Faultlines Are Revealed (a very New York Times-esque headline)

Jan. 28, 2014: The State of the Union

Jan. 30, 2014: In Brutal Contest of Strength and Strategy, a Culture Is Revealed

April 18, 2014: America Awaits Royal Baby

May 15, 2014: At an American Media Institution, Uncertain Times

Nov. 3, 2014: Americans to Elect Legislature

Dec. 3, 2014: Courts Sanction Killings by U.S. Security Forces

Feb. 3, 2015: Traditional Beliefs and Distrust of Authority Fueling Disease Outbreak

May 13, 2015: Nation Entranced as Supermodel’s Husband Implicated in Ball Firmness Scandal

Jan. 5, 2016: Armed Rebel Faction Occupies Government Building

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