geography

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

Location! The Importance of Geo-Data at SXSW

Liveblog of Location! The Importance of Geo-Data panel at SXSW

Description from the SXSW website: The proliferation of location-aware devices and geo-tagged data raises important questions: what will happen as more and more of the content we create online is automatically tagged with locational data? What can we learn from this profusion of geographic information? With this data we can find restaurants, friends and sex partners (a la Grindr.com), visualize inequalities in media attention, develop epidemiological models to predict the spread of diseases, find dissident safe houses in times of political upheaval and coordinate crisis response. But who is contributing data and who is not on the map? How are our social relationships being transformed? What about privacy? What about civic participation? Serious questions are mounting -- this panel aims to raise several of them, and explore the transformative power this shift may bring.

Location Panel at SXSW

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.