Newsmap

Speaking of cricket, it has dominated the news in the past few days. I have used Newsmap to have a look at the sports bias.  Newsmap shows a visual representation of the stories which received the most media attention at any given time. It is interesting because it aggregates news from Google services and arranges them by size. Those receiving the most attention or reportage shows up as the largest.  It provides perspective rather than content.

The first is a “map” of the national news (Australia).

newsmap-national

The second is a map that includes both National news and sports news. The sports completely dominates the news

newsmap-nationalsport

From the Newsmap site:

Newsmap is an application that visually reflects the constantly changing landscape of the Google News news aggregator.  A treemap visualization algorithm helps display the enormous amount of information gathered by the aggregator. Treemaps are traditionally space-constrained visualizations of information. Its objective is to simply demonstrate visually the relationships between data and the unseen patterns in news media. It is not thought to display an unbiased view of the news; on the contrary, it is thought to ironically accentuate the bias of it.

This would be a good tool to show students when they are analysing the news or newsmedia. I like using Silobreaker to analyse the coverage of  particular topics/subjects in the news and this is another way to analyse the news we get.

NewsMap Positives: Nice categorization and use of colour,  the ability to customize (allows the reader to refine news topic by world news, national news, business, health, sport, technology and entertainment), you are able to capture everything at a glance, the ability to filter news by country and, whilst not all countries are catered for, most of the bigger ones are.
Things that could be improved: No visual support at first screen, news images are not taken into account (sometimes images represents news better than words) and it is restricted to English language based content.

There are more and more ways to look at current news. Another site worth a look is OurSignal.com.It looks at currently popular items on the top social news sites  (Digg, Reddit,  Del.icio.us,  Hackernews and Yahoo buzz) and mashes it all together. Viewers then get a rapid overview of the latest headlines. The bigger the box, the more relative votes a story has; the warmer the colour, the more the story is on the rise and cooler colours denote that the story is becoming “less important”.

We could have our students compare each of the above, looking at the similarities and differences and then trying to come up with the why.

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