In an effort to be radically transparent, the AllSides team often offers a window into our specific editorial decisions — whether it’s on the matter of properly describing transgender people; accurate terminology for people in the country illegally; or capitalizing "black" and "white" in a racial context. But one question we get often (and ask ourselves a lot) is a fundamental one: how do we choose which stories to cover with our news curation?
Here are six types of stories we cover and why:
Stories getting lots of media coverage across the spectrum
When media on the left, center and right are all covering the same thing, it’s important to compare and analyze differences between the coverage, and to consider how only reading one or the other can leave you with an incomplete understanding. News outlets on different sides often highlight different facts, details and sources, which can manipulate the reader if the information leans heavily to one side.
Get AllSides in your Inbox
Stories that a specific “news orbit” is very focused on
Many different “news orbits exist” — for Christian news, for Black news, for LGBTQ news, for anti-Communist news — but unless you’re in one of these communities, it’s unlikely that you know much about their news. That’s usually fine. But when a story in one of these orbits is more widely relevant, we cover it in an effort to break other readers out of their filter bubbles and expose them to stories and ideas they wouldn’t normally see.
Stories only being covered by one side of the partisan media
Occasionally, a story will gain lots of attention only from left-rated outlets or only from right-rated outlets. Sometimes this means partisan media is overblowing an exaggerated narrative, but other times this partisan media is ignoring something that doesn’t fit (or contradicts) their agenda. When this happens, we break down the disparity by curating the coverage that has been done, and summarizing the bias in the other side’s lack of coverage.
Stories that are especially confusing, complex and/or in need of balanced context
We’re not experts on everything, but often we can provide more balanced summaries that bring in facts and perspectives that partisan media often overlooks. Sometimes we see things that others miss because our system enables us to easily see a wider variety of sources than others. Often we can deliver much more breadth, context, nuance or depth than your average news source.
Stories of good news or common ground and agreement across divides
Calling out bias and division helps avoid bad or incomplete information. But pointing out areas of common ground reminds us of our common humanity and how our differences can be overdramatized. Some news sources have a bias toward negative news, which unfortunately gets more clicks. It’s important for our readers to see when good news occurs, so we strive to highlight it — especially when it’s being covered across the spectrum. These stories can also be opportunities and examples to help our readers get involved in breaking out of their own filter bubbles and building respect and relationships across divides.
Stories pertaining to our core focus and mission
We curate stories on hundreds of topics and issues, but we have several areas that we place a special focus on not mentioned above. They include free speech, free press, media literacy and polarization. When there’s a big story in one of these areas, we’ll almost certainly have it covered in our balanced newsfeed.
Let us know what you think!
Please email us if you have any questions about this process! We’ll do our best to reply to each inquiry. For more, see our Editorial Philosophy.
Henry A. Brechter is the Managing Editor of AllSides. He has a Center bias.