Media Deserts: Using GIS Tools to Map the News and Information Ecology

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Dr. Michelle Ferrier is the principal investigator in this research project that examines the effects of layoffs and consolidation on the newspaper industry using GIS technologies and census data.

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  • Overlapping service areas for 12 newspapers in NC. 3 newspapers in our pilot did not have ABC data for multiple years, and I added the Wilmington Star-News to the original list.
  • Same map with interstates and select NC cities (Asheville, Charlotte, Winston-Salem, Raleigh, Wilmington). To me this looks like more red in some rural areas, with some gain in growth areas like Cary/Carrboro
  • Media Deserts: Using GIS Tools to Map the News and Information Ecology

    1. 1. Media Deserts Filling the need for fresh, local news and information Dr. Michelle Ferrier Scripps College of Communication, Ohio University
    2. 2. Dr. Michelle Ferrier Educator Entrepreneur Mentor Scholar New Media Innovator • Associate Dean for Innovation | Associate Professor Scripps College of Communication, Ohio University, OH; ferrierm@ohio.edu; Twitter: @mediaghosts • Founder, LocallyGrownNews.com info@locallygrownnews.com; Twitter: @localize_nc • For More Information on Media Entrepreneurship Vision: http://nabjdigital.wordpress.com/tag/drmichelle-ferrier/ • www.newmediainnovators.com • http://www.poynter.org/author/michelle michelleferrier-com/
    3. 3. Media Deserts Project  Using GIS tools, we map “media deserts” -places where fresh news and information is lacking.  Multi-method study using quantitative, qualitative and ethnographic research methods. Dr. Michelle Ferrier, Ohio University, @mediaghosts
    4. 4.  More than 120 newspapers have ceased operation in the United States since 2008. Our map will help monitor the system over time and focus attention and resources where they are most needed.  We’re using GIS tools to create a “climate” map that tracks changes in the reach and depth of community news.  We’re using open geographic information systems software to overlay existing daily and weekly newspaper circulation data, hyperlocal online news sites, demographic and community data. Dr. Michelle Ferrier, Ohio University, @mediaghosts
    5. 5. What is a “Media Desert”? Working Definition  A media desert is a geographic area that is lacking fresh news and information.  This condition may be as a result of a lack of content, access, language barriers and other issues. Dr. Michelle Ferrier, Ohio University, @mediaghosts Framework of Analysis  I use Lawrence Lessig’s concept of communications architecture:  CODE: Language, spoken or written or computer languages  CONTENT: News, information, images  CONDUIT: Newspapers, radio, mobile.
    6. 6. Mapping Newspaper Circulation Dr. Michelle Ferrier, Ohio University, @mediaghosts
    7. 7. Newspaper Layoffs and Buyouts Year Layoffs and Buyouts  2007  2,256+ (partial data)  2008  15,992+  2009  14,783+  2010  2,828+ Dr. Michelle Ferrier, Elon University, @mediaghosts 120+ newspapers
    8. 8. Mapping Circulation Data Overlapping service areas for 12 newspapers in NC. Three newspapers in our pilot did not have ABC data for multiple years. Dr. Michelle Ferrier, Ohio University, @mediaghosts
    9. 9. Newspaper Circulation Change: 2007 to 2011 Average Annual Change in Circulation Dr. Michelle Ferrier, Ohio University, @mediaghosts -4% 0% 4%
    10. 10. Results for Piedmont Triad Region   We then analyzed the locales with the greatest change against education level and income levels using 2000 census data to determine if correlations exist. Dr. Michelle Ferrier, Ohio University, @mediaghosts  Statistical analysis using Ordinary Least Squares Regression suggests a very weak positive relationship between Median Household Income and Change in Circulation (R2 = 0.16, p < 0.1). A $10,000 decrease in Median Household Income results in a %0.02 larger drop in Circulation.  Contrary to our hypotheses, the outlying reach of the newspaper improved or held steady. In the core of Guilford County, we see erosion of the circulation, an area that was a more circulation-rich region for the newspaper. The newspaper lost the most subscribers right in their back yard. Similarly, the data suggest a very weak positive relationship between the % of people with At Least Some College and Change in Circulation (R2 = 0.12, p < 0.05). A 10% reduction in the number of people with some college results in a %0.08 larger drop in Circulation.
    11. 11. Hyperlocal Online News Sites  CJR.org created a database of hyperlocal online news sites.  Like Placeblogger.com, it is an attempt to identify who is creating content where.  Maps are still pinpoints as was the case with the newspaper changes. Dr. Michelle Ferrier, Ohio University, @mediaghosts
    12. 12. I found the CJR Guide to Online News Startups provides state-level data in their searches, but no demographic reach data for its entries. Dr. Michelle Ferrier, Ohio University, @mediaghosts
    13. 13. Hyperlocal Online News Layer Quantitative Analysis  We examine the geographic footprint or reach of 132 online hyperlocal news sites.  We identify the zip codes covered from this data.  We collect demographics from census data and from sitespecific demographics as available on gender, education, HHI, and ethnicity. Dr. Michelle Ferrier, Ohio University, @mediaghosts Qualitative Analysis  We are collecting “home page” screen grabs of each of the 132 sites for 14 days.  Our content analysis focuses on story coverage and on a visual analysis of the sites.  The resulting report will look at the representation of the community in the content of the site.
    14. 14. Hyperlocal Online News Layer The student work is collected into a wiki, where we can map our geographic footprints and aggregate the content analysis for each hyperlocal online news site. Dr. Michelle Ferrier, Ohio University, @mediaghosts
    15. 15.  Associate Professor School of Communications, Elon University, NC; mferrier@elon.edu; Twitter: @mediaghosts  Founder, LocallyGrownNews.com info@locallygrownnews.com; Twitter: @localize_nc  For More Information on Media Entrepreneurship Vision: http://nabjdigital.wordpress.com/tag/drmichelle-ferrier/  www.newmediainnovators.com  http://www.poynter.org/author/michellemi chelleferrier-com/ Dr. Michelle Ferrier Educator Entrepreneur Mentor Scholar New Media Innovator

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