April 9, 2018
Media Deserts Project Creates Searchable Media Access Research Atlas
ATHENS–Ohio University’s new Media Access Research Atlas lets you find out just where daily newspapers are located in the United States and how much of the population in that area is subscribing to the newspaper.
The new Media Access Research Atlas is an interactive map of all the places in the country where people live in media deserts – places where it is difficult to access daily, local news and information. The map is part of the Media Deserts Project, a joint research project of the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, the Department of Geography and the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs at Ohio University.
The new name for the maps better reflects what the tool demonstrates. The Media Access Research Atlas has updated estimates of media access using 2010 census data. The new locator allows users to search by state, county, and ZIP code to see the number of daily newspapers in a region and the percent of the population over the age of 18 that are reading them.
“Media deserts are created when there is a lack of access to daily news and information,” says Dr. Michelle Ferrier, principal investigator for the project. “The map shows changes over time, helping us visualize the media landscape down to the local, ZIP code level.”
In “Media Deserts: Mapping the Changing Media Ecosystem,” in The Communication Crisis in America and How to Fix It (2016), Ferrier, Dr. Gaurav Sinha of the Geography Department and Michael Outrich, a graduate student at Ohio State University argue that the newspaper and local media have been key mediators in democratic processes in many communities. But as the reach, penetration and accessibility of the media landscape changes, who has been affected by these changes and are these declines a cause for concern?
Light yellow areas in the atlas indicate geographies served by one or two daily newspapers. Red areas indicate areas with multiple newspapers and a higher concentration of adults receiving the newspaper. Data for the newspaper display is drawn from the Alliance for Audited Media. Smaller newspapers may not report circulation numbers to AAM and may not be displayed in a geography. Please report additions or corrections to: https://goo.gl/forms/2brIERTRTYMePV3q2 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Recent analysis of newspaper circulation data has demonstrated an effect of the lack of daily local news on political participation. POLITICO conducted an analysis of voting patterns and showed how Donald Trump avoided mainstream outlets and appealed to voters in “news deserts” — who voted for him in higher-than-expected numbers. Politico’s analysis showed that in tight races with Hillary Clinton in states like Wisconsin, North Carolina and Pennsylvania, the decline in local media could have made a decisive difference.
This erosion has direct impact on the health of communities. “Understanding local assets and conditions are critical to creating better local communications infrastructure,” Ferrier said. “We are going beyond the AAM data and using digital ethnography techniques to provide deeper analysis at the county and ZIP code level of media sources, local assets and social media activity. “
Through these additional measures, updated data and added layers of detail, the Media Access Research Atlas builds on past research to provide researchers, city planners, nonprofit organizations and policy makers a more nuanced view of the factors that impact whether local residents can be informed – and engaged – in their local communities.
LINK: Media Access Locator Atlas
|June 26, 2014
||Street Fight Magazine: Despite Many New Local News Sites ‘Media Deserts” are a Stubborn Reality,” by Tom Grubisich
||NEWS COVERAGE: Article from Street Fight Magazine
|May 14, 2014
||University of Maryland, Baltimore County campus workshop on digital humanities initiatives and Media Deserts Project by Max Cole
||NEWS COVERAGE: Article from UMBC Insights
|October 13, 2013
||Axiom News Article “Mapping the News and Information Ecosystem,” by Peggy Holman
||NEWS COVERAGE: Article from AxiomNews.com
|September 3, 2013
||NABJ Blog: “Journalism Professor Uses Crowdsourcing to Track Patch Layoffs” by Benet Wilson mentions work as part of Media Deserts Project
||NEWS COVERAGE: Post on NABJdigital blog
|January 7, 2012
||Demonstration: Seattle Nourishing Networks; Worked with Seattle community to develop media innovations to solve community food access issues.
||NEWS COVERAGE: Article from Elon University
|January 21, 2012
||LocallyGrownNews.com: LocallyGrownNews.com Founder Initiates Media Deserts Research in Seattle
||NEWS COVERAGE: Article from Locally Grown News