CJR: Apple News biased toward stories by big publishers

The Columbia Journalism Review (CJR) writes that Apple News, Apple’s news aggregator with some 85 million users, doesn’t distribute news evenly. It promotes the stores of big publishers even when they're derived from original, local sources, while ignoring those original sources, the article adds.

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CRJ found that both the Top Stories and Trending sections of Apple News selected articles from only a handful of sources. In the human-edited Top Stories section, 10 news outlets (The Washington Post and CNN foremost among them) accounted for 55.7%  of all articles. In the algorithmic Trending section ten outlets (led by CNN, Fox News, and People) accounted for 74.8% of articles. Both sections roughly follow the Pareto principle, where the top 20% of sources account for about 80% of articles — 76% for Top and 84%for Trending, to be exact). Overall, attention in the Top Stories section is somewhat more evenly distributed across outlets, notes CRJ.

The report concludes with this statement: “At the same time, the hard news selected for inclusion in the Top Stories section is relatively concentrated in terms of sources. Few sources are local, regional, or international in scope. Is it really good for the public when only 20 sources account for more than 80% of articles? And, given the traffic boost enjoyed by those few sources, is it fair to smaller news organizations producing relevant content that often predates the stories produced by big newsrooms?”