attention

Ethan's Five Questions about Mapping Attention at Links 2013

This is a liveblog of Ethan Zuckerman's keynote at Links 2013. His slides are available online.

Ethan opens by saying that his stock and trade is "the unusual connection." He starts talking about the Harvard Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology. The museum hasn't changed since it's early collector mentality. The labels actually list the white dude who collected the items rather than their creator. It's still a colonial approach to museums.

He shows a "rebellib" or "stick chart / shell chart" which is a map from the Marshall Islands with shells representing the islands and curved and diagonal lines representing ocean swells. Since the Marshall Islands are scattered across 500-600km. A Marshall Islander around 1900 is going to be in their boat and traveling between the atolls without seeing them over the horizon. You must travel dozens or more kilometers at a time between them. And when you miss the next atoll you die. And bad things happen evolutionarily if you die on the way to the next atoll. There is a need for inter-island "booty calls" to produce the diversity necessary to sustain a population.

Contemporary scientists have gone back and found that these rebbelib are incredibly accurate. And if you check Google Maps, you realize this is an area of the Earth that we have not sufficiently mapped. Google is a decent proxy for interest in an area since the best resolution is based on demand: people's willingness to pay for high resolution images without clouds.

How Close to Home? Crisis, Attention and Geographic Bias

  

 Boston Marathon Bombings, April 15, 2013                Lushan Earthquake, April 20, 2013  

                               (Credit: AFP/Getty Images, National Geographic)

A Critical Geography of the News Coverage of the Boston Marathon Bombings

By Catherine D'Ignazio and Luisa Beck

Mapping the Globe: Initial Research into Regional Media Attention in Massachusetts

World - Mapping the Globe: Screenshots

Last fall the Center for Civic Media launched a new partnership with the Boston Globe, the preeminent newspaper in the Boston and New England region. Part of this partnership means that we get access to the last year or so of their archives via their alpha API. And one of the first things we noticed about the API data is that Boston Globe reporters have to enter a location for their news story.

At the Center, we think that media attention matters - in both quantity and quality. This geodata provided a perfect entry to studying how media attention from the Boston Globe plays out spatially across Boston neighborhoods and Massachusetts towns. And with access to the text of the articles associated with different places, we could start to answer some questions about not just the amount of media attention a place receives but how that attention is framed.