Some children more newsworthy than others?

The press loves children… but it loves some more than others.

A report for the Toronto-based Near East Cultural and Educational Foundation examines the Toronto Star, the Globe and Mail and the National Post to assess coverage of the Israeli/Palestine conflict. Modeling their research on an earlier US study of the New York Times, the authors tabulate the numbers of deaths of Israelis and Palestinians each paper reports, compared to the actual number of deaths from the conflict. The findings? Israeli deaths are reported at vastly higher rates than those of Palestinians.

But media bias is even more glaring when children’s deaths are singled out. In 2004, for example, the three papers reported between 25% (Globe and Mail) and 88% (Toronto Star) of Israeli children’s deaths, while reports on Palestinian children’s death ranged from 0.6% (National Post) to 11% (Toronto Star).

All of this raises an important question for journalists: in a period when news about children clearly sells papers, why are some children deemed more “newsworthy” than others?