7,000 Sources… Or Just A Few Favorites?
from the questions,-questions,-questions... dept
For all the hype about how good Google News is for putting together an automated snapshot of the news of the day, an analysis of the front page of Google News found that they seem to rely on just a few sources for all of their main stories. Looking at the “top two” placement spots on Google news, Reuters accounts for 18% of their stories at the top of the list, with the NY Times in second place with 8% of top stories on Google News. Totaled up, the top 5 sources account for an astounding 48% of the top two stories on the front page. The top 10 sources are 66%. Top 25? 83% Top 100 sources covers 98% of the news you see. So, those other 6,900 sources don’t seem to get much play. If you go through the other (below the top two results), the situation only improves marginally. The top 100 sources account for 80% of the stories on the front page. There are, of course, many reasons why this would make sense. The top sources are (generally) more reliable and trustworthy. Besides, considering the number of “news” websites out there who only reprint press releases, Reuters, or Associated Press articles, there really aren’t that many traditional news sources out there any more. Still, it would be interesting to compare these results to other news aggregation sites. This weekend, for instance, Microsoft admitted that their new Newsbot offering has been designed to favor stories from partner MSNBC (and MSNBC does not appear to make the “top 20” list for Google News). Meanwhile, Topix has relaunched their own news aggregation service (also with 7,000 sources) and a quick glance over the front page there suggests a somewhat wider variety in news sources chosen. So, the question is whether or not this really matters? Does having a wider variety of sources highlighted increase, decrease or not impact the overall quality of the news aggregated?