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Not all deaths are equal: How many deaths make a natural disaster newsworthy?
2018-05-16T23:37:45.3265944Z - / Hacker News
This blog post draws on data and research discussed in our entry on Natural Catastrophes. How many deaths does it take for a natural disaster to be newsworthy? The study, which primarily set out to examine mass media’s influence on US natural disaster response, considered over 5,000 natural disasters3 and 700,000 news stories from the major US national broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, NBC, and CNN) between 1968 and 2002. Instead of considering the objective damage caused by natural disasters, networks tend to look for disasters that are “rife with drama”, as one New York Times article put it4—hurricanes, tornadoes, forest fires, earthquakes all make for splashy headlines and captivating visuals. Thanks to this selectivity, less "spectacular" but often times more deadly natural disasters tend to get passed over.

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