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Eventless news: Blindspots in journalism and the 'long tail' of news content

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The news media is frequently criticized for ignoring, missing or overseeing important, socio-politically relevant news. Such journalistic blindspots are often part of the 'long' news agenda, requiring resources, in-depth knowledge and investigation. In this article, we analyse what news topics are most infrequently covered by the media ‐ the micro-categories of content analysis. A content analysis of 70 news outlets in Norway (n=8182) reveals that the news topics receiving less than 1 per cent of coverage are social issues, international crime and the economy. This bottom-up perspective demonstrates that under-reported news constitutes predominantly 'eventless' issues, sustaining event-centredness as an agenda-setting news value. Finding that more than half of the content categories in the Norwegian corpus receive less than 1 per cent coverage, we propose, however, that the sum of these blindspots engenders a 'long tail' of journalistic coverage that together facilitates news diversity.
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Keywords: blindspots; content analysis; diversity; journalism; news selection; newsworthiness

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 2019

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