5.29.2007

What is Popular v. What is News

Ok, here are four groups of lists. The first two are CNN's ten most popular stories on the top and CNN's most "important" stories next. The next two are Fox News' most popular stories then Fox's top stories.

Note: Headlines on top stories changed to match most popular headlines for comparison purposes. Italics indicate story not on most popular list.

CNN - Most Popular

1. Spears 'I truly hit rock bottom'
2. Air passengers may be at TB risk
3. Police: 4 dead in mobile home
4. School president: Fire Professor
5. Obama offers health plan
6. Hasselbeck on forgiveness
7. Palestinian helps U.S. aid efforts
8. Venezuela investigates station
9. Networks getting sneaky with ads
10. 10 U.S. troops killed in Iraq

CNN - Top Stories

1. Police: 4 dead in mobile home
2. Air passengers may be at TB risk
3. Venezuela investigates station
4. 10 U.S. troops killed in Iraq
5. Palestinian helps U.S. aid efforts
6. Obama offers health plan
7. Bush to tap negotiator for World Bank
8. School president: Fire Professor
9. Spears 'I truly hit rock bottom'

Fox News - Most Popular

1. Mexican Audience Boos Miss USA During Miss Universe Pageant Won by Miss Japan
2. Cindy Sheehan Quits as 'Face' of Anti-War Movement
3. Texas Police Probe Possible Murder-Suicide After Mom, Kids Found Hanged
4. Gunman Murders Woman, Sexually Assaults Grandchild in 14-Hour Hostage Standoff in Long Island
5. Rosie O'Donnell Says She May Never Speak to Elisabeth Hasselbeck Again
6. Report: Lindsay Lohan Back in Rehab
7. Alabama Boy Kills 1,051-Pound Monster Pig, Bigger Than 'Hogzilla'
8. 80-Pound Lizard Escapes After Being Shot, Frightens Florida Neighborhood
9. University of Colorado President Recommends Firing Ward Churchill
10. Veteran: Washington State Flag Desecration Is No Prank

Fox News - Top Stories

1. American Al Qaeda Warns Of Hit On Home Country
2. Alabama Boy Kills 1,051-Pound Monster Pig, Bigger Than 'Hogzilla'
3. Texas Police Probe Possible Murder-Suicide After Mom, Kids Found Hanged
4. Pregnant Teen Shares Dark Secret
5. TV Station Accused of Inciting Hit on Chavez
6. Bush Taps Zoellick to Head World Bank
7. Iran Charges 3 American as Spies
8. Eichmann's Passport Found in Argentina
9. Cindy Sheehan Quits as 'Face' of Anti-War Movement
10. Veteran: Washington State Flag Desecration Is No Prank

Ok, what we have here is two long lists. There are obviously some discrepancies between top news and popular news due to top news taking some time to become popular. In addition, CNN makes it difficult because they now sprinkle videos in with their written stories. Despite that there is one interesting fact of both CNN and Fox's #1 on the "popular" list: neither is really front page worthy. CNN has Britney hitting rock bottom and Fox has the news of Miss USA getting booed at the Miss Universe competition. It appears that on CNN's popular list 1, 6, and 9 are more entertainment news than real news. On Fox, 1, 5 and 6 is more entertainment news, also potentially 7 and 8 is more offbeat news, so on Fox it could be said half of the news that is most popular is more entertainment worthy than real news.

While, everyone enjoys all types of news it is quite shocking that the most popular stories aren't those that many would consider pertinent news, ie the Iraq war and other pertinent events. What do you think? What are the stories you first look at when you're on the web? Is it politics, entertainment, international news, or sports news? Do you think we as a society have our priorities not quite straight? Meanwhile, let me check on just how far Britney hit rock bottom and when Lindsay Lohan is getting out of rehab!

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2 Comments:

Anonymous Phid said...

Obviously what is most "important" is relative; to some, this may include what Britney or Lindsay does. Entertainment issues have risen with such prominence that they are now likely considered "real" news, similar to the way wars, politics, and economic issues are covered. I think that "news" probably is defined by its relevancy to the world, and pop issues are, for whatever reason, quite relevant to many Americans.

14 June, 2007 19:34  
Blogger cclemens31 said...

That is very true. I wish I could dispute this, but the facts speak louder than any words I could say. At the end of the day I think its still best to be well versed in all topics whether it be "serious" news like politics, and economic issues, as well as the other "fluff" which now seems to come with all US news sources these days.

14 June, 2007 21:39  

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