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November 28, 2011

johnness says: I was around Newsweek International from 2000-2003, and I think what you see is consistent with longterm trends: Newsmagazines everywhere love soft news generally, but an editor of an international edition (usually someone in NYC) has faith that someone in Tokyo will care about big news in Kenya and vice-versa. The top editor for the American version of a newsmagazine will devote most of their limited "news" covers to domestic happenings. A folo cover on Egypt wouldn't likely be considered.

» SFB says: Thanks for the take on this piece, John. It’s worth noting that Newsweek’s covers tend to go strongly domestic as well. Much appreciated. — Ernie @ SFB

12:22 // 2 years ago
November 26, 2011

scenicroutes says: Regarding your tumbl-zine on Time's covers: don't you think it's a little silly to, well, judge a book by its cover? You seem to be suggesting that the cover in and of itself is the news, that this week's edition of Time contains only information about the benefits of anxiety to the total exclusion of news about Egypt. A difference in the image on the front page doesn't necessarily constitute a difference in the magazine's content or the quality of its journalism.

» SFB says: The issue in question here specifically deals with the covers, though, because that’s where the controversy began. This whole issue began with Glenn Greenwald and a number of other analysts criticizing a cover of Time, claiming it was evidence the magazine was dumbing down the news for American audiences. What we were trying to do was to show that, no, this is not the case, and we did that by analyzing a year’s worth of covers. We agree with you — the content on the inside is key. But Time is a magazine known for iconic covers, and those covers set the tone. That, ultimately, is the point we’re trying to make. — Ernie @ SFB

21:29 // 2 years ago

Does Time water down its story coverage in the U.S.? That’s a question which has been floating around the interwebs since yesterday, when the internet hivemind figured out that Time ran a soft feature in this week’s U.S. edition, while the rest of the world got a much more important story about Egypt. (Fellow Tumblr Jessica Binsch did a Storify breakdown of the online reaction.) Most of us can agree Time probably blew this cover choice. However, we’d like to offer another argument here: That the magazine is merely playing to different markets, rather than blatantly dumbing down its U.S. coverage. Our latest Tumbl-zine (it’s been a while, we know) breaks down the past year in Time covers, by region and type of content. Here’s what we found.

Clarification: Any cover in this list that didn’t run in the U.S. does not necessarily mean the story attached to the cover didn’t get played in the U.S. edition of the magazine. Any commentary is specifically in regards to the covers themselves, not the stories.

Update: Time responds!

20:30 // 2 years ago
October 2, 2011
As a follow-up to our post last night, we’d just like to point out that Fox News, which didn’t even have anything up about the protests last night, now has it as its lead item.

As a follow-up to our post last night, we’d just like to point out that Fox News, which didn’t even have anything up about the protests last night, now has it as its lead item.

10:41 // 2 years ago
October 1, 2011
Here’s one that didn’t get into our last post (a breakdown of Occupy Wall Street story play). The WSJ gave it big play (albeit text-only), but we’re distracted by a youthful Rick Perry looking like a total tool. (thanks Josh Sternberg)

Here’s one that didn’t get into our last post (a breakdown of Occupy Wall Street story play). The WSJ gave it big play (albeit text-only), but we’re distracted by a youthful Rick Perry looking like a total tool. (thanks Josh Sternberg)

22:20 // 2 years ago

Snaps: How major media outlets are covering the Occupy Wall Street arrests

The ongoing meme around these protests has been a lack of coverage. Today, to us at the very least, it seems like we’re reaching a moment where the protests might finally leap over the edge and become a bigger story. Or will it? We just did a check of the coverage, and it looks like while it’s getting relatively big play right now on various news sites, other sites are playing this current news story fairly small on the front page. Click through to the jump to see a breakdown.

Read More

22:03 // 2 years ago
March 8, 2011
frontpages:
Grain bin deaths hit record
High oil costs affect everyone
Dolton OKs contract for mayor’s daughter
Income tax for retirees?
Wisconsin meeting bid is rejected
Libyan forces attack
Sheen may sue after firing from ‘Men’
Gitmo detainees’ military trials back
TOM SKILLING’S WEATHER

To recap: HUGE head for gas prices. Fairly large tease for Charlie Sheen. Tiny tease for Libya which has a smaller head than Sheen’s. Again, how does this coverage make any sense, Chicago Tribune?

frontpages:

  1. Grain bin deaths hit record
  2. High oil costs affect everyone
  3. Dolton OKs contract for mayor’s daughter
  4. Income tax for retirees?
  5. Wisconsin meeting bid is rejected
  6. Libyan forces attack
  7. Sheen may sue after firing from ‘Men’
  8. Gitmo detainees’ military trials back
  9. TOM SKILLING’S WEATHER

To recap: HUGE head for gas prices. Fairly large tease for Charlie Sheen. Tiny tease for Libya which has a smaller head than Sheen’s. Again, how does this coverage make any sense, Chicago Tribune?

10:27 // 3 years ago
January 20, 2011
Inside this backpack was a bomb. Not just any kind of bomb. An incredibly sophisticated bomb the likes of which law enforcement officials haven’t seen, loaded with shrapnel that was designed to hurt people. Worse, the bomb was placed in a position that was designed to attack a parade route in Spokane, Wash. The bomb was designed to be remotely controlled. And wanna know what that parade route was for? That’s right, an MLK Day parade. So why is this story getting underplayed? By, well, everybody? A few examples:
Buried a little
CNN: Buried in a listPerhaps it hasn’t caught the full attention of the network that this might perhaps have been a huge terror attack. Ricky Gervais is in the infamous features slot. Also, the story’s short.
MSNBC: A video teaseNot a top news item, and further down the page than CNN. Considering the nature of the attack, doesn’t this seem like underplay? But at least they have a photo of the thing, right?
Further down the list …
Washington Post: Also buriedEven lower on the page than MSNBC, the Post’s coverage of the incident is just a link to an AP story, rather than any unique coverage from a local angle.
Fox News: Also buriedSo, according to this list here, domestic terrorism ranks at a similar level as “Drug-Smuggling Pigeon Caught in Colombia.” Check. Great job.
Basically nonexistent
WSJ: Near the bottomBelow such stories as “Is the NFL Telegraphing Drug Tests” and “Pandas Can Stay in D.C. 5 More Years” is a story about the incident. It’s short, but written by WSJ staffers.
NY Times: Hah! Yeah, it’s not hereThe Times appears not to have given the story any play on its front page at all today. You have to go all the way to the bottom of the National page to even find it. It’s also from yesterday.
» Why this might be: We think there are a few factors at play here. First of all, since the bomb was caught before anyone was hurt, it effectively dulled its “immediate danger” factor. But the firepower of the bomb suggests a much more sinister danger and motive that should increase the story’s play, but isn’t due to its lack of obvious eye-catching imagery and clear motive. There’s a motive suggested by the situation and the nature of the bomb, but few details to back this up. The lack of details make it hard to play it up. (Even the Spokane Spokesman-Review has played it down at this point.) Finally, there has simply been a lot of news in the last two days – the health care repeal, Giffords, Joe Lieberman, Steve Jobs, etc., and it’s the kind of thing that might get buried. None of these are excuses for underplaying it, but just a thought process as to why this happened. source

Inside this backpack was a bomb. Not just any kind of bomb. An incredibly sophisticated bomb the likes of which law enforcement officials haven’t seen, loaded with shrapnel that was designed to hurt people. Worse, the bomb was placed in a position that was designed to attack a parade route in Spokane, Wash. The bomb was designed to be remotely controlled. And wanna know what that parade route was for? That’s right, an MLK Day parade. So why is this story getting underplayed? By, well, everybody? A few examples:

Buried a little


  • CNN: Buried in a list
    Perhaps it hasn’t caught the full attention of the network that this might perhaps have been a huge terror attack. Ricky Gervais is in the infamous features slot. Also, the story’s short.

  • MSNBC: A video tease
    Not a top news item, and further down the page than CNN. Considering the nature of the attack, doesn’t this seem like underplay? But at least they have a photo of the thing, right?

Further down the list …


  • Washington Post: Also buried
    Even lower on the page than MSNBC, the Post’s coverage of the incident is just a link to an AP story, rather than any unique coverage from a local angle.

  • Fox News: Also buried
    So, according to this list here, domestic terrorism ranks at a similar level as “Drug-Smuggling Pigeon Caught in Colombia.” Check. Great job.

Basically nonexistent


  • WSJ: Near the bottom
    Below such stories as “Is the NFL Telegraphing Drug Tests” and “Pandas Can Stay in D.C. 5 More Years” is a story about the incident. It’s short, but written by WSJ staffers.

  • NY Times: Hah! Yeah, it’s not here
    The Times appears not to have given the story any play on its front page at all today. You have to go all the way to the bottom of the National page to even find it. It’s also from yesterday.

» Why this might be: We think there are a few factors at play here. First of all, since the bomb was caught before anyone was hurt, it effectively dulled its “immediate danger” factor. But the firepower of the bomb suggests a much more sinister danger and motive that should increase the story’s play, but isn’t due to its lack of obvious eye-catching imagery and clear motive. There’s a motive suggested by the situation and the nature of the bomb, but few details to back this up. The lack of details make it hard to play it up. (Even the Spokane Spokesman-Review has played it down at this point.) Finally, there has simply been a lot of news in the last two days – the health care repeal, Giffords, Joe Lieberman, Steve Jobs, etc., and it’s the kind of thing that might get buried. None of these are excuses for underplaying it, but just a thought process as to why this happened. source

0:22 // 3 years ago
January 17, 2011

On stories that get underplayed, or why nobody apparently covers Africa

lateralsymmetry answered: What story (or stories) do you feel are very significant right now, yet significantly under-reported?

» We say: To that, we defer to The Onion. We couldn’t have said it better than they did. Also, the situation in Zimbabwe is always underplayed. Always. Here’s the latest from there. It’s very unfortunate that African continent doesn’t get a fifth of the press that it deserves. We try hard to play stories from Africa when we can.

21:03 // 3 years ago