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Create custom collections in Explorer with Media Picker

Our Explorer tool is a great place for people interested in quick analyses of topics being covered in the media. In a matter of minutes, you can have Explorer tell you how a given topic is being covered by various media sources.

In an effort to make Explorer faster and more flexible for our users, we updated our Media Picker interface to allow for more versatility in source selection. Until now, users could use Media Picker to select specific source collections and add various sources to their query by searching for those sources individually. 

Our updated version of Media Picker is more robust, allowing users the opportunity for more customization and creativity. Users can still search for and add sources by name, collections, favorites, or geography, but now they can also search for sources along certain parameters: publication country, language, publication state, media type, or “about place,” the country which is the subject of the media coverage.

A screen grab of the updated Media Picker interface with the option to filter with a keyword like “politics” with more source types.

A screen grab of the updated Media Picker interface with the option to filter with a keyword like “politics” with more source types.

Moreover, groups of different source types can now be saved as something we’re calling a “custom collection.” For instance, in the screengrab below I’ve created a custom collection for the first states to hold Democratic primaries in 2020: Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina. The filter will surface all the media sources tagged in our system as being from any of those four states. (The same logic would also apply to a filter by country or language: if a source is tagged in our system with any of the five filter parameters you’ve selected, then it will appear in the search you conduct in Media Picker.)

MediaPicker-CustomCollection.png

After using the filters to find the four states I was interested in, I used the “Add Custom Collection” button in the bottom right of the above image to create my custom collection. I then clicked “OK” in the left-side panel to add the custom collection to my Explorer query. 

I then went through and set up a comparative Explorer query so that I would be able to study the media coverage of the current debate-qualifying primary candidates in the four primary states selected above. That comparative query looks like this: 

The query setup for a comparative query about debate-qualifying primary candidates. Each of the candidates is queried a gai nst the same custom collection of primary states and a timeframe of Jan. 1, 2019 - Aug. 15, 2019.

The query setup for a comparative query about debate-qualifying primary candidates. Each of the candidates is queried against the same custom collection of primary states and a timeframe of Jan. 1, 2019 - Aug. 15, 2019.

From there, I can use Explorer to study the primary candidates and their media coverage by analyzing attention, language and entities. If I want to save my search for further use later, I can click on the “Save Search” button to create a saved search for later; by saving my query in its entirety, I am also saving my custom collection for future use. 

You can also set multiple filters at the same time, so that you’re querying against a more refined custom collection, or so that you’re including other collections in your query. In the example below, I’m still looking at primary candidates, but I’ve added a second filter for Spanish-language coverage:

The query setup for a second comparative query about debate-qualifying primary candidates. Each of the candidates is queried a gai nst a custom collection of Spanish-language sources from the first primary states. The timeframe is the same as the previous query: Jan. 1, 2019 — Aug. 15, 2019.

The query setup for a second comparative query about debate-qualifying primary candidates. Each of the candidates is queried against a custom collection of Spanish-language sources from the first primary states. The timeframe is the same as the previous query: Jan. 1, 2019 — Aug. 15, 2019.

We’re excited about the new, improved Media Picker and hope that it will be a helpful way for you to expand your usage of Media Cloud. As always, feel free to get in touch with us if you have any questions, comments or feedback. And for more information about using Explorer, you can also watch our introductory webinar.

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