I came home from work today to take a break. I started messing with my watercolors and decided to multi-task a bit. If you've read this site lately, you know that I'm discontent with the amount of bad news that is always reported. How about some good news?
Last fall, in studying how the press reported on Kerry and on Bush, I did what I felt was as unbiased a study as I could possibly do. I built me a little engine that can harness the 500 most recent stories on Google News that mentioned Bush and Kerry in the same story. By doing such a thing, you see the same story several times because the AP or UPI feed is repeated by different news outlets. Therefore, the more outlets that carried the story, the bigger the footprint and the more well-known the story would be. My engine would show me a headline and the number of outlets that carried it.
What I found was that pro-Kerry/anti-Bush stories reached a much wider audience than pro-Bush/anti-Kerry stories.
I don't say that today to philosophize or sermonize; I say that as a means of background.
So in my effort to find "good news" stories, I remodeled my engine and let it rip. I did a search for the top 500 stories that had the phrase "good news" in them. Of those 500, only 2 stories are getting reported in 5 or more media outlets. (The column on the left is the headline and the column on the right is the number of outlets that carried that headline.)
Only two - and they're both sports stories. The rest of the 486 results for "good news" are more or less isolated and not widely covered. No truly big footprint for good news stories.
On a whim, I decided to see how "bad news" would fare...
Much better. Bigger footprint. Obviously, bad news is more popular. (I also find it funny that Ernie Whitt's appointment by Baseball Canada shows up in both good news and bad.)
But I am determined. I'll tweak this little project when I'm done with the project at work.