ESOC Working Paper #32 - News Media Reporting Patterns and our Biased Understanding of Global Unrest
News reports of political violence are systematically compiled into large global conflict-event datasets used by academics, governments, and international organizations. These datasets present opportunities to examine the micro-dynamics of conflict but are often systematically skewed. We compare various news-report based datasets to high quality administrative records from Afghanistan, Iraq, the Philippines, South Africa, and Syria to identify sources of systematic missingness in the former. We identify under-reporting related to violence intensity, weaponry, target, perpetrator, and non-deadly violence. In a large replication exercise, we show that media-based data fail to uncover the results reported in leading economics/political science journal articles.
Shaver, A et al. (2022). News Media Reporting Patterns and our Biased Understanding of Global Unrest (ESOC Working Paper No. 32). Empirical Studies of Conflict Project. Retrieved [date], from http://esoc.princeton.edu/wp32.