Matt's Blog

The newsworthiness of current events

Sun Dec 10 18:56:56 EST 2006

Possibly interesting data mining project: Lexis search of column inches vs number of deaths vs distance from newspaper source geographically. Three dimensional data problem, but I hypothesise that there will be a power law relationship between column inches and some geometric combination (eg distance*body count) of the other parameters. How does this vary with year of publication? An event is newsworthy if it affects you. An event affects you directly if someone you know is affected. Telecommunications and long-distance travel have increased exponentially over the last few decades, has this changed the scaling law? What about further classification by type of event eg accident versus intentional action (eg warfare, terrorism)? Another hypothesis: outside a certain geographical radius accidental and intentional events will be fairly similar in terms of total coverage unless a fair proportion of the readership have ties to the location.

[ideas] [politics]


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