Diversity in My Media Diet

I kept track of what news and blogs I was reading over the course of a week. Some interesting takeaways from the data:

I consumed 73% of this media on an iPad, and 88% digitally overall. The remaining 12% is all radio, specifically WBUR. What’s interesting is that the BBC on WBUR was basically my only source of international news, and international news only comprised 6% of my total media consumption. Half my consumption was about technology or the tech industry, and 12% was national news. The remaining 30% consisted of softer stories about culture.

One worrisome thing I noticed is that over half my news comes from tailored sources which aren’t very diverse — 57% of my news comes from aggregators that filter news, namely Zite and Twitter. Zite learns what I like to give me news stories it thinks I’ll find relevant, and I choose who to follow on Twitter.

This means that I’m reading a subset of news, blogs, and tweets which tend to support similar viewpoints, and I’m missing out on interesting content I don’t know I even might want to read. I’m my own news editor, and the more my tastes differ from someone else’s, the more likely it is that we are reading totally different sets of news. As local newspapers close, personalized news becomes more prevalent, and algorithms better learn what we like, this issue will only get worse. It is less likely that people will get a diverse set of opinions in their news, and it’s less often that we’ll have strong national stories which bring us all together as citizens.

One thought on “Diversity in My Media Diet

  1. Thanks for sharing not just the consumption data, but your commentary on what you learned from the process. It’s very interesting for me to see a person who’s moved to the iPad as the leading means of consumption – wouldn’t be surprised if there are online marketers reading your observations with a careful eye!

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