Ukraine russia
Ukrainian servicemen in the Luhansk area, eastern Ukraine (Image: AP via AAP/Vadim Ghirda)

The “great power” reporting mindset of Australian media (and much of the commentariat) on foreign news is getting in the way of the understanding we need of what seems set to be, suddenly, the first big offshore news story of 2022: the possibility of war in Ukraine.

The challenge is more structural than ideological -- part how we understand what’s “news” and part how the news supply chain is designed, and where Australia fits in it.

The result? Our traditional media practices encourage us to think of the world through 19th century ideas of the conflict of great powers rather than the interlinked globalism of the 21st. All those other countries (Australia too) become just interchangeable pieces in a world understood through old imperial ideas of “spheres of influence”.