DP18383 Man Bites Dog: Editorial Choices and Biases in the Reporting of Weather Events
Every day, editors of media outlets decide what is news and what is not. In this paper, we unpack the process of news production by looking at the share of newscasts devoted to weather events--- deviations in temperatures from the historical mean---by local TV stations in the United States. We show that not all weather events receive the same attention. Large deviations receive substantially more coverage than typical temperatures, and the greater the deviation, the higher the coverage. We also document the presence of both publication and presentation bias. Even after controlling for station fixed effects, TV stations in Democratic-leaning media markets report more on extreme temperature deviations and are more likely to evoke climate change than outlets in markets with a large Republican audience. We propose a stylised model of news production and consumption with citizens valuing uncommon events and suffering from a form of confirmation bias to explain the empirical patterns we find.