Local patterns in newspaper categorization systems

El Tiempo (a highly respected newspaper from Colombia) has an interesting new top-level category (it looks like it’s new from 2 days ago) called “Tierras y ganados” (“lands and cattle”). Colombia is partly an agricultural society in which the rich own most of the land.

El Diario NY (a NYC Spanish newspaper) has an interesting category in between “local”, “national” and “international” news. It is aimed at the immigrant population, and added a category called “nuestros paises” (“our countries”).


The New York Times, like most newspapers, has most of the generic categories, a few local ones (“Washington”, “New York/Region”) and the obligatory outlier (“Obituaries“). The NY Times obituaries page is a big thing in the social life of NYC – it indicates who is important. Comments on the relevance of this category are very welcome!

So it seems like newspaper categories follow a predictable pattern: a bunch of basic categories (“Business”, “Technology”, …), a few local geographical categories (“Bogota”, “New York/Region”, …), and a very specific outlier category for each newspaper, which is closely tied to the cultural makeup of the local audience. In Colombia it’s “Land and Cattle”. In NYC (rich white people) it’s “Obituaries” or (Latin immigrants) “Nuestros paises”.

I had only looked at these 3 websites when this pattern emerged. I expect it to hold for others, but no time right now to check :) Comments?

4 thoughts on “Local patterns in newspaper categorization systems

  1. Le Monde, major French daily, has primary navigation categories (in this order): International, Europe, France, Société (social), Régions, Entreprises (companies), then goes on to more suject-oriented (media, sports, science, …). Unusual to see the global down to local approach (International before France, for example.
    Libération, another French daily, has an unusual category (terre) very high level near the top: Evénements (events), Monde (the world), Terre (the earth) where they develop stories related to environement, agriculture, etc. France’s culture is very small-farmer oriented, although times are very hard for them now.
    Would be fascinating to study this type of categorisation in a more systematic way by IAs in different countries. Maybe that’s on your mind, Peter?

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