Top underreported stories of 2007

It’s nearly the end of the year, it must be list time. Medecins Sans Frontieres release their tenth annual top ten list of stories they think journalists don’t report enough on and readers don’t get to read enough about. Here’s the list. Or see a quick view of the list below,

1. Displaced fleeing war in Somalia face humanitarian crisis
2. Political and economic turmoil sparks health-care crisis in Zimbabwe
3. Drug-resistant tuberculosis spreads as new drugs go untested
4. Expanded use of nutrient dense ready-to-use foods crucial for reducing childhood malnutrition
5. Civilians increasingly under fire in Sri Lankan conflict
6. Conditions worsen in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo
7. Living precariously in Colombia’s conflict zones
8. Humanitarian aid restricted in Myanmar
9. Civilians caught between armed groups in Central African Republic
10. As Chechen conflict ebbs, critical humanitarian needs still remain link

Ethan Zuckerman analyses what makes these lists daft and yet interesting,

the term “undercovered” has an interesting implication bound up in it – the idea that there’s an optimal level of news coverage for each topic and that these topics aren’t getting their fair share. link

Ethan backs up his argument with some scripts he created that track global attention by the world’s mainstream media. The graphic above is a snapshot of BBC News reporting today. As Ethan goes on to discuss, in a kind of Donald Rumsfeldesque fashion, i.e. there are things we don’t know that we know, there are known knowns etc. etc.

How do we construct warning systems that tell us not just the stories we’ve missed, but whole parts of the world we might be missing? link

It’s a good question and one the GAP tool goes some way, if not the whole hog, to helping with.