11 September 2008

News and not news

Jose told me the other day that Zambia was hardly ever in the news compared to our more illustrious neighbours such as Zimbabwe and the Democratic Republic of Congo (ex Zaire). A quick look at the bbc africa page shows the words used in news articles on Africa most - least frequently (large font - small font):

(stats generated by wordle)

That's pretty interesting. Fighting and violence fairly prominent... dictators such as Mugabe being very popular. So bad, bad, bad bad...

Here's a similar analysis of the BBC Europe page:
(stats generated by wordle)

Again lots of fighting and wars and such. Nothing about the progress we're making with the large haldron collider coming alive and functioning like the scientists said. And the world NOT ending like the religious people said. Will this be the end of eschatology (aka religious ideas about the end of the world ?) - ever notice how similar eschatology is to scatology {study of #2 err crap err shit, or as GingaBoo would call it, poo (ok they would call it perfume)}?.

So then to get away from the mainstream media and their ideas that only bad things will sell, I went to Good News India, which reports positive stories. Unfortunately I couldn't find an RSS feed for their main articles. I found one for the project the webmaster is involved in currently, about going back to nature and such, so here's wordle's analysis of his articles in a happy white background :)
(stats generated by wordle)

Now that's more like it... farmers, solar, energy, power, windmill. More like the things I want to see in the news. (And you can't fault me for making this look happier than the other two - well, maybe you can - and then we can have a long fight about how marketing makes things more saleable).

So, mainstream media (Sorry I picked on the Beeb here), (and I know you're listening, the last couple of times I wrote about you here and here, there were hits from your domain,) pretty please, have 'positivity day' where a majority of the news is positive. The stuff that you don't consider news right now. For example, the President of Zambia died and there were no riots. Nobody got killed. No coup. Economy still going strong, growing about 5% per year. The funeral and mourning period went on well with minimum disruption to normal life. Lots of poor people can afford HIV treatment thanks to PEPFAR and CIDRZ. So... stuff like that, you know ? So that the rest of the world doesn't think that we live on trees and shoot each other. Thanks.


shilpa said...

I liked the graphic rep of the words there!!! But the point is this..that in most cases ..news channels cater to their audience.So its not as much a case of them wanting to cover negative issues,as it is people who actually find that more entertaining.Like the Aarushi murder case, everyone who shook their head derisively at how much coverage that was getting , were the ones who had their feet propped up the minute it came on air

Mosilager said...

I guess it is some kind of vicious circle... probably bad things are more entertaining these days.