Most of the news that I see recently is about "controversies": Starbucks cups, safe spaces, Syrian refugees, cultural appropriation, Adele...OK, Adele, at least, does not seem to be controversial.
But the number of stories I see about a controversial topic doesn't seem to have much relationship to 1) how important an issue it is, or 2) how many real people actually care about it. As far as I can tell, the Starbucks cup iteration of the "War on Christmas" seems to be pretty much puffed up out of nothing. It's something secular leftists can feel superior to, without having to worry about any ambiguous details.
Most of these stories have that feature. They're just chum for the ideologically committed.
Not that there aren't real issues, real conflicts and real controveries. It's just hard to pick them out of the mass of frantic headlines.
I'd like some simple meter on the story that lets me know, roughly, how many people are involved in the discussion, and how many variations of opinion there are on it. A low number with a low variation implies a media-manufactured controversy. A high number of involved people with low opinion variation implies "important as an ideological litmust test, but probably doesn't have much basis in actual fact". Etc.
Of course, I'm asking the media outlets themselves to give me a sign that I can ignore the stories they are promoting, so they are an unlikely source for this basic "news significance dashboard". But someone who can parse language from comments, tweets, stories, blog posts, etc. and automate the results could do this as a public service, or to promote their own news feed (if their point is that their news is more meaningful, and this proves it). Actually, now that I write this, I see this as great marketing for someone who wants to tout their content, because rolling out these metrics would be...really controversial.
Something like this could similarly be used to tell which stories are so similar to each other that they clearly derive from a single press release, and which seem to be actually reported.
I look forward to a few simple indicators on each news story to tell me whether I should ignore it.