Interactive Data Visualization for Journalism
In a collaboration between Harvard’s Berkman-Klein Center for Internet & Society and the MIT Media Lab’s Civic Media group, the Media Cloud project collects massive amounts of online news data in the form of articles, broken into sentences, broken into words and phrases. This work built interactive data visualization tools around this massive corpus, and asked questions about how researchers and citizens might understand the news from deeper, more diverse perspectives. Building affiliation networks, these tools and visualizations allow users to see what words are used together most frequently, and what media sources are speaking in similar ways. This revealed large trends, as well as small pockets of unique coverage where coverage gave perspectives on world events that were uncommon (for example, the use of the words “ambulance” and “psychosocial” to describe the Gaza War when most coverage focused on government leaders and polarized viewpoints).
The above maps show the same media landscape from two different views: the words used in the same sentences (left) and the media sources that used them (right), revealing likeness and disparity of coverage. The below map focuses youth incarceration debates and the school to prison pipeline.