Archive for the ‘analysis’ tag

Journalism by numbers

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495: national news articles that talked about a ‘hung parliament’ last week

62: percent rise in articles referring to Nick Clegg last week vs the previous 7 days (and 171% higher than the week before that)

27: articles about Orlando Figes, 7 more than mentioned Vladimir Putin

These are all numbers taken from journalisted weekly – a statistical analysis of each week’s national print journalism we started a few weeks back (now published every Tuesday).

Why?

Partly out of frustration. Everyone talks about ‘what’s in the news’ but this normally equates to ‘what I read a lot about’ or ‘what caught my eye’. Very rarely do you see a factual breakdown of what was actually reported, and what wasn’t.

Partly for the record. It’s important to be able to look back over certain events and see what role journalism played. How well did the papers cover the 2010 election? Who predicted either the importance of the TV debates or the rise of the Lib Dems? (As it happens, Andrew Porter wrote – last December – that they were ‘a gamble’ for Brown and Cameron).

What?

So what does it include?

Well, it’s only natural to start with what’s been covered lots in the press. For this we look at the top 100 subjects written about during the week and cross reference the number of times someone or something has been mentioned with the number of articles in which it has been mentioned. From this we can get a pretty good idea what’s been written about most.

We then look at what hasn’t been covered much. This – as you can probably guess – is rather trickier. Lots and lots doesn’t get covered every week, mostly because it isn’t ‘news’ (or what we understand as news). So we look for discrepancies – like the fact that Alex Salmond of the SNP was written about in 89 articles and Ieuan Wyn Jones of Plaid Cymru in only 4 – and for gaps in public interest reporting (like seeing if there hasn’t been anything on prisons, or social care, or knife crime, for example).

Political ups and downs counts the coverage of party leaders, parties and political policies.

X vs Y offsets coverage of different subjects in order to highlight some of the oddities, contradictions and obsessions of our national press. Such as the 307 articles talking about Wayne Rooney in Easter week, compared to 164 that mentioned Jesus.

Long form journalism started out as an experiment but is proving surprisingly illuminating. We wondered if, based on length of article alone, one could dig out in-depth original journalism. Turns out you can, sort of (provided you filter out the minute-by-minute live coverage of sporting events).

Finally, we pick out one of the week’s most newsworthy topics and point people to journalists – across the national press – that have been covering it extensively.

You

This was never intended only to be a spectator sport. We hope to kick start more analysis of UK journalism – either through journalisted.com or elsewhere. Journalisted has an API and a full text search, so anyone can do analysis of the press coverage if they want to.

Equally, if you have any suggestions as to how we could improve journalisted weekly, or what other analyses we should add – please do get in touch and let me know. Oh, and you can subscribe to journalisted weekly here.

Written by Martin Moore

April 27th, 2010 at 1:10 pm

Does lack of reflection prevent news thinking about its future?

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This week the Independent dropped its media supplement. The paper still prints 7 pages on media, but now it’s within the body of the main paper. Though it may continue to do this, past history suggests this is a prelude to gradually integrating media coverage to the other sections (and almost certainly reducing media coverage as a consequence).

The FT did something similar in 2005. Having experimented with a media supplement on a Tuesday – ‘Creative Business’ – it then ditched this in favour of integrating the content to Tuesday’s paper. After which its media news steadily dwindled.
And only last month Press Gazette moved from a weekly to a monthly – hardly a great format for timely media news. And though supplemented by its website it is difficult to see how, with an audience of 100,000 unique users per month, this will be self-funding, or how it will maintain the depth of its print edition. More likely it will rely increasingly for revenue on spin-offs, and on the annual Press Awards.
So in terms of news about news where does this leave us? Only the Guardian prints a separate weekly media supplement – and has successfully translated the print model online at guardian.co.uk/media. Other papers rely on individual media correspondents (like Dan Sabbagh).
Outside the Guardian the space is partly filled with new news sources online. There are a bunch of good media blogs out there (including Roy Greenslade, Adrian Monck, Martin Belam, Martin Stabe, Charlie Beckett), plus journalism.co.uk and paidcontent.org. And some specialized blogs are doing a better job at scrutinizing media institutions than the press used to (like OfcomWatch).
But without more structured and edited media news and analysis, what are we missing?
- Campaigns? Not sure who will fight the Freedom of Information cause without a weekly Press Gazette
- Space for debate? The Media Guardian’s BBC special this week illustrated the value of gathering different people together on an issue – particularly those who don’t agree with one another
- Identification of media trends? i.e. stuff a little more nuanced than, say, ‘circulation is going down’
- Opportunity to distill and reflect? Making sense of the vast outpouring of material from OFCOM would be a good start
- Hold some of the media to account? Private Eye can only go so far
Perhaps most of all we’re missing the type of reflection that might help the news media work out what it is and where it’s going. The type of reflection, in other words, that might help it define its sustainable future.

Written by Martin Moore

October 7th, 2008 at 12:44 pm

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