Study Shows Local News to be 46% Negative

Everyone from Jack Johnson to Mark Zabielski knows that the news runs on humanity’s suffering. Without car crashes, rape and murder, there would be little for the news to report on. But is this actually true? A quick glance over the latest 50 stories from the Post Gazette’s Latest Local News RSS Feed seems to agree. The list below details the various types of new stories preceded by how many articles featured that type of story.

50 Latest News Stories from Post-Gazette:

14 – Murder, Shootings, Robbery and other Violent Crimes
11 – Sports
10 – Other “Positive” Articles
05 – Car Accidents or Fires
04 – Development
03 – Other “Negative” Articles
02 – Politics
01 – Drug-related Crime

So overall, 23 / 50 (46%) stories were negative; 10 / 50 (20%) articles were positive; and the remaining 17 (34%) articles were basically neutral (sports, development and politics).

Note that my use of negative and positive are objective. In general, I looked at whether an articles tone and substance would be generally conceived as being a “good” or “bad” thing. For further example, an article titled “National Guard Units Honored” was noted as being positive, as the tone of the message is that this is a good thing, and I believe most people would agree. An article titled “Salvation Army Falls Short” was considered to be negative, as the tone of the title implies.

Also Note: My favorite article from all of the positive’s was this one on the city choosing to renovate some old sculptures that had been “retired.”

Up Next: The New Arena