The cartograms below show the world through the eyes of editors-in-chief, in 2007. Countries swell as they receive more media attention; others shrink as we forget them.
These maps allow you to grasp several media trends at a glance. First, traditional newspapers are highly selective in their coverage of world news. Looking at the three British dailies, editors favour countries that are bigger and more populous, but also closer to home and better developed. They also give more room to the countries of origin of British immigrants, especially if they are white (look at the size of Australia and New-Zealand). Hardly surprising, but still disheartening, especially when you consider that the only brand that does not advocate objectivity, The Economist, covers the world more equally.
Second, we see that web-only outlets do not offer such a different view of the world. That makes sense, considering the narrowing of the news agenda on the web that was described in the Project for Excellence in Journalism’s latest report. Their lack of resources forces them to contract their scope. Smaller issues are better covered by the blogosphere, which seems unbeatable at providing niche news.
The world according to newspapers is a project that came up while writing a dissertation for school. I first published some maps on L’Observatoire des Médias, a French blog. Seeing the response, Gilles Bruno and I decided to go further and keep track of newspaper coverage. We want the maps above to be updated daily (or weekly) in order to pressure editors into covering more diverse issues.
We will build a scraper that will automatically retrieve the data for the 164 countries on several newspapers and a Java or Flash interface that will morph the maps. If you have any skill in cartograms, or data scraping, or if you have funds to buy these skills, you are more than welcome in the team!
 Colors indicate the same thing. However, a country can appear in red if it’s in the top 10% but still shrink, as the top 3 countries concentrate most of all media attention.