Using Technology to Understand Local News

This post is cross posted from medium.com. You can access the original here.

A map showing changes to local news outlets across Canada
A screen capture from Lindgren and Corbett’s (2018) Local News Map. Available at localnews.geolive.ca

This week marks the one year anniversary of our international conference: Is No Local News Bad News: Local Journalism and Its Future which was sponsored by SSHRC and the Ryerson Journalism Research Centre and held at Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada. This groundbreaking conference brought together an interdisciplinary and international group of scholars, journalists and media entrepreneurs to discuss the importance of local news to communities, the current state of local news around the world, the role of technology in local news, and what the future of local news could look like.

Many of the paper presentations and lightning talks featured at the conference concerned the use of technology to both understand the state of local news, and also as a mechanism for spreading news in communities underserved by traditional or legacy media outlets. One of the presentations, in particular, took an interdisciplinary approach to understanding local news, by combining GIS mapping technology with journalism research to collect a complete picture of the Canadian local news landscape. This research is also featured in our multimedia online publication: The Future of Local News: Research and Reflections.

In their article, “The Local News Map: Transparency, Credibility and Critical Cartography”, April Lindgren from Ryerson University and Jon Corbett from the University of British Columbia discuss the creation of The Local News Map: their crowd-sourced local news mapping tool. In the article, Lindgren and Corbett apply critical cartography to understand both the great potential and also the limitations of a crowdsourced map for understanding a key community issue like local news availability. Their work reminds us that while mapping can illuminate certain aspects of an issue like local news, maps both reveal and obscure and thus transparency is key to the success of any mapping initiative.

Check out their article: “The Local News Map: Transparency, Credibility and Critical Cartography” in our online publication: The Future of Local News: Research and Reflections, and then go check out The Local News Map for yourself to see how crowdsourcing and interactive mapping can be applied to understand local news in Canada.

Using Technology to Understand Local News

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