Difficulties of Mapping the News


The Wall Street Journal has an article on “Why It’s Hard to Map Media Attention” by Carl Bialik (aka “The Numbers Guy”). The subject of his perspective piece is a recent entry on the french blog, L’Observatoire des Médias, that mapped out the intensity of news articles across the world. By clicking on one of the listed news outlets, the map changes to show a cartogram with the size of each country shown in proportion to the number of news stories published in that particular paper about it. The Wall Street Journal article delves into the difficulties of mapping out news locations stating, “These maps make use of developments in mapping that make it easier to turn numbers into attractive, informative graphics. But in this case, the underlying numbers are problematic. For one thing, it turns out to be difficult to distinguish news stories about the African nation of Chad from articles about Chad Kroeger or Chad Johnson.


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