Newsmap provides an interesting view of the news media’s priorities, as captured and classified by Google News.


The news in Canada, the UK and the US as displayed on Newsmap

Each news item is allocated screen space according to the number of stories published about it. More popular stories appear larger; less popular stories are smaller. The stories are also colour-coded according to the “section” in which they would appear in a newspaper: World – dark brown, Nation (domestic news) – light brown, Sports – olive green, Business – blue, Entertainment – teal, for example. It’s also possible to compare several of Google’s national versions, all of which means that you can use Newsmap to analyse cultural differences in the world’s news media.

And what do you find if you do?

Here are the top three priorities (as of earlier today) for three countries with which I’m familiar:

  • Canada: World, Sports, Business
  • UK: World, Sports, Business
  • US: Sports, World, Nation (domestic news)

A closer examination reveals some even more interesting differences. World news receives two and half times as much coverage in the UK than in the US, and even Canada publishes approximately 30% more World news (proportionally) than the US. Instead of World news the US devotes its attention to Sports (2.5 times more than the UK) and domestic news (Nation).

Domestic news (Nation) is lowest in Canada, which also gives the most space/time to Entertainment. Business and technology are very similar in all three countries. Health is the smallest category everywhere.

So what does this tell us? Well, it would seem that the stereotypical cliches are all true. America is obsessed with itself; nothing much happens in Canada; and Britain still believes it can punch above its weight on the world stage.