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Evaluating Author Extraction for the Media Cloud Platform

This blog post summarizes our latest pass at investigating existing solutions for the second question: author detection in semi-structured web-based text. There are a few approaches we can pull from: using pattern matching, relying on structured metadata, or sourcing the job out to more complex algorithms and APIs.

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Net Neutrality, Kanye, and Hot Dogs

In July 2017, internet companies and activists around the world came together for a “Day of Action” to protest the Federal Communications Commissions’ decision to rollback net neutrality protections. How has this activism affected both news media and public interest in this historically obscure issue? Using Google Trends and Media Cloud’s search frequency, we analyze the impact of the Day of Action on net neutrality awareness.

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Unsupervised Entity Outlier Detection: The Case of Same-Sex Marriage

We present an unsupervised method that allows us to surface the main named-entities, i.e., people, locations, and organizations, discussed by the media in news articles on same-sex marriage. We follow an outlier detection approach to identify such entities of interest. Our initial exploration shows that the outlier named-entities, in a specific time period, provide useful initial knowledge that complements the information discovered based on popularity or topic detection methods.

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Media Cloud
Looking at Words in Context

We just released a new feature for the Topic Mapper tool that supports looking at how a word is used.  This kind of investigation into use of a word in context can be very helpful to start to gain more insights than you can from a simple check of word frequencies. Here are a few examples to illustrate why this can be useful.  Hopefully you find it as revealing as we have already!

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Fighting for, not fighting against: Media Coverage and the Dakota Access Pipeline

The deadline for Standing Rock campsite residents to depart their campsites along the Missouri River occurred last Wednesday. The evacuation deadline passed at 2 pm MST, coincidently marking a two year effort to prevent the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), a conduit spanning 1,172 miles with the purpose of transporting crude oil from North Dakota to Illinois. Representatives from approximately 300 of the 566 recognized Native American tribes in the United States actively participated at the Standing Rock Reservation in North Dakota since April of 2016.

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Race, Fame, and Ability: untangling media coverage of NFL quarterbacks

Some years ago, journalist and activist, the late Dori Maynard posed a question to the Media Cloud team: Does sports media use different language to talk about black and white athletes? The question, Dori told us, came from basketball player Isaiah Thomas, who had observed that journalists often described black athletes as physically talented but talked about the intelligence of white athletes. While both descriptions are laudatory, they focus on different aspects of a player’s talents, and enforce long-standing racial stereotypes about intellect and physicality. Could Media Cloud, Dori wondered, put some numbers to these anecdotes?

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HOW THE INDIAN NEWS REPORTS WOMEN’S ISSUES

In December 2012, a young girl was gruesomely gang raped in New Delhi, India. The method of the rape was particularly violent, involving insertions of a metal rod and irreparable intestinal damage. For the days following, Jyoti Singh went through emergency treatment in hospitals in India and Singapore, until finally succumbing to her injuries 13 days later.

In order to address the original question then of women’s issues in Indian English language press and how it may be influencing wider gender norms, I conducted a quantitative analysis of the news data and compared to the above behavior-change criteria.

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Understanding ‘Teen Pregnancy’ Frames Using Media Cloud Tools

We have recently started looking into more topics around public health, which share these intertwined processes of creating and consuming knowledge and policy.  Like traditional broadcast media, public health officials have traditionally been interested in distributing information from experts out to the masses.  In the case of public health, the experts are scientists and doctors.  But just as the internet has disrupted the flow of political information from political elites down to the crowds, it has also disrupted the flow of health information from scientists and doctors to the general public. Recently we’ve been looking at the topic of teen pregnancy because it provides a fascinating case study of a public health topic that is the center of a rich diversity of discussion in online media.  

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