This is old–the data set ends in 1998–but the basic idea is forever true: News tends to miraculously happen in places where there are lots of people, and perhaps more importantly, lots of reporters. Go figure.
This map originally ran with a Science News article about cool new techniques for making maps that convey ideas[$].
Researchers extracted the dateline from about 72,000 wire-service news stories from 1994 to 1998 and modified a standard map of the Lower 48 US states (above) to show the size of the states in proportion to the frequency of their appearance in those datelines (below). Some notable results:
* Washington DC accounts for a huge proportion of the news stories—not surprising, since it is the nation's capital, and the home of Congress, the Presidency and other political news generating institutions. But still: DC (pop. 600,000; metro area 5.8 million) generates more news than the most populous state, California (pop. 36.5 million)….
* News stories from Texas (pop. 20.8 million) seem overly scarce, especially when compared to, say, Georgia (pop. 8.2 million), which seems to get a bigger share. Could this be due to the fact that major news organization CNN is headquartered in Atlanta?
* The Dakotas, Nebraska, Kansas, Montana, Wyoming and Idaho, with a combined population of under 9 million, are all but invisible. No people, no news? Colorado alone, with a population of under 4.5 million, is responsible for a much larger chunk of news than those states combined. Could this be because the other states lack large cities, while Colorado has Denver (pop. 600,000; metro area 2.5 million)? No cities, no news?
Via Strange Maps