Big news is bad news

“Breaking news: It’s the best of times” points to the amplification effect that modern news gathering has on the level of bad news we read. With a whole world of news to choose from, editor preference will naturally gravitate out to the extreme margins of the vastly widened news spectrum.

“the international news is usually worse than national news, which is worse than regional news, which is worse than local news. In other words, international news is depressing for statistical reasons. The extremity of atrocities and tragedy is not a representative reflection of the state of the world.”

This operates at both ends of the spectrum, from fluff to atrocity. Thus the Daily Telegraph‘s Wildlife RSS feed devolves into a wasteland of ‘whacky funny animal videos’, while the Guardian‘s environment pages exist in a permanent state of ‘Apocalypse, Now!’.

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