MIT Center for Civic Media | Innovating civic media tools and practices together with communities

Controversy Mapper

How does a media controversy become the only thing any of us talk about? Using the Media Cloud platform, we're reverse-engineering major news stories to visualize how ideas spread and media frames change over time, and whose voices dominate a discussion. We've started with a case study of Trayvon Martin, a teenager shot and killed in Florida. His story became major national news several weeks after his death. We looked at attention paid through multiple media sources talking about Trayvon: news and blog articles, broadcast television, tweets, Google search trends, and petition signatures calling for his killer's arrest. Then, we dove into the networks of interlinked articles, tracing how the framing of Trayvon's story changed and identifying the most influential sources according to network structure. Analysis of stories like Trayvon's provide a revealing portrait of today's complicated media ecosystems.

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