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Wednesday, October 10 • 9:00am - 12:30pm
Media Cloud: Open Source Tools for Researching Digital News Ecosystems

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Half-Day Workshop

Max 20 Participants


Anushka Shah and Emily Ndulue

Workshop Goals:

· Introduce participants to news media analysis methods with Media Cloud tools

· Guide researchers through the development of research questions that can be investigated using Media Cloud tools

· Highlight the added value of open source tools for exploring media ecosystems

· Provide participants with the opportunity to join Media Cloud’s network of researchers

In recent years, the abundance of digital data available and the creation of new tools to conduct digital research has transformed media research. Scholars can now easily monitor media coverage about key topics and events, understand public opinion dynamics overtime, and map digital communication networks. However, most of the data and tools available are proprietary and designed for commercial purposes. This workshop highlights the importance of open tools designed for academic and non-commercial researchers, and provides them with the opportunity to learn and use Media Cloud’s open source digital media analytics tools.

Media Cloud, a global archive of more than 760 million news stories - collecting content from 60,000 digital publications daily - is an open source platform developed by Harvard’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society and MIT Media Lab’s Center for Civic Media. It currently supports three main tools:
- -Explorer: A tool for querying the database, generate visualizations, and analize attention overtime, language, and geographies.
- -Topics: A tool for sophisticated influence and language analyses that crawls the web to find all relevant content produce hyperlink and language maps.
- -Sources: A tool to manage and understand news sources and collections in the database.

Originally created to evaluate the media’s framing of issues online and to map the information source networks publishing about particular topics, Media Cloud tools are now being used to answer research questions about: how information travels through media networks overtime, which sources are considered to be information authorities and influencers, what is the language used to cover an issue, and how media narratives evolve overtime.

This workshop may be of interest to researchers in the field of media representation and news analysis, digital journalism researchers, and anyone interested in learning more about new metrics for understanding media influence and impact. Media Cloud’s open source tools combine text analytics, entity detection, topic modelling, and network analysis. Researchers are also able to access our data through the public API.

The workshop will consist of four parts:

1. An introduction to digital news media analysis, and the importance of media analytics tools that are open source and available to any interested researcher

2. An introduction to Media Cloud tools, with an overview of our research methodology, the metrics we use, and demonstrations of the capabilities of Media Cloud tools

3. Group collaboration towards the development of relevant research questions that can be explored using Media Cloud tools

4. Guided use of Media Cloud tools to begin answering those research questions

Workshop participants will leave the session with skills needed to examine the Media Cloud source collections, to develop relevant and meaningful queries using the Media Cloud Explorer tool, and to begin running their own experiments using the Topic Mapper tools.

For context, here are some examples of research publications and popular press coverage using Media Cloud tools:

· Harvard Berkman Klein Center, Columbia Journalism Review: Partisanship, Propaganda and Disinformation: Online Media and the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election

· PRI’s The World: Millions say #MeToo, But Not Everyone Is Heard Equally

· Washington Post: The mainstream media didn’t care about Puerto Rico until it became a Trump Story

· Journal of Health Communications: Digital Health Communication and Global Public Influence, A Study of the Ebola Epidemic

· First Monday: The Battle for Trayvon Martin, Mapping a Media Controversy On- and Offline

Wednesday October 10, 2018 9:00am - 12:30pm EDT
Sheraton - Salon 6

Attendees (5)