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Data Mining Reveals How News Coverage Varies Around the World

By Technology Review

October 27, 2014

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Qatar Computing Research Institute researchers Haewoon Kwak and Jisun An analyzed news agendas in different parts of the world to see how the coverage reflects actual international events.

They developed a cartogram by forming a database of 195,000 disasters occurring between April 2013 and July 2014. The disasters were reported by more than 10,000 news outlets, and Kwak and An noted the countries in which each news outlet was based and counted the published stories from other parts of the world. They then created a map of the world showing where the news was from.

The researchers found that people in South Asia consumed more news about disasters in that region than people in North America, and people in Latin America consumed significantly more news from Argentina than Europe. However, the cartogram also revealed that people everywhere consumed relatively large amounts of news from Egypt and Syria, chiefly about the unrest in these countries and the accompanying humanitarian crises.

Kwak and An also found that population size is significant. People in all regions were more likely to see disaster news from other large countries, probably because immigrants are more likely to be from those large countries that provide demand for that kind of coverage.

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