Track local media with UBCO crowdsourcing map

The crowd-sourced map lets people track changes to media—like this newspaper—and comment on what’s going on.

Nick Blackwell

While the landscape of Canadian media outlets has changed significantly during the past decade, a UBC researcher is hoping to keep tabs on exactly what has changed and where.

Assoc. Prof. Jon Corbett has teamed up with Ryerson University’s School of Journalism and Royal Roads University, to work on the Local News Research Project. The goal is to examine the future of local journalism and news sources across Canada.

Local News Media MapCorbett has created an interactive map through UBC Okanagan’s Spatial Information for Community Engagement lab. Corbett, who teaches in Community, Culture and Global Studies, says the crowd-sourced map will give people an opportunity to track changes to media—like a small town newspaper closing—and comment on what’s going on.

“There has been a huge transformation of media and the way people are getting their news in the past 10 years,” says Corbett. “We want to know what type of news are people getting, is it from the same source, and is it a credible source? We want to examine the consumption of news across the country and how it has changed.”

The crowdsourcing map launched in June; since then more than 800 people have used it to explore and report changes to local news outlets in communities across Canada. People can add a marker to the site to represent an event like a newspaper shutting down, or reducing the number editions it publishes a week, or even a merger of media outlets.

The map reports on cuts to local news broadcasts, the closure of local online, radio, television and newspaper media outlets and the launch of new endeavors. Users can also use it to identify which media companies are scaling back or expanding local news operations.

“This map gives us the best visual analysis of what’s happening in Canadian media across the country,” says Corbett. “There has been a very definite temporal change, and we can see it.”

The map will be used to detect geographical patterns and other trends such as whether certain types of media outlets are closing more frequently than other types.

“We are concerned about local news-poverty,” says Ryerson’s April Lindgren, map co-creator and principal investigator for the project. “People who live in smaller cities and towns, suburban communities and rural areas have fewer options to begin with, and in recent years their choices have become even more limited. Traditional news outlets have been hit by cutbacks, consolidations and closures, while digital-first news sites often struggle to stay afloat.”

Information on the map can be downloaded and analyzed over time. In a recent presentation to the federal House of Commons Heritage Committee, for instance, Lindgren reported that there were 307 markers on the map representing changes to local news outlets across of the country.

The committee is investigating Canadians’ access to local journalism at a time when there are major changes in the news industry.

The map can be accessed at crowdsourcedmap.

 

Just Posted

Truck fire forces evacuation of Lake Country gas station

No one was injured as firefighters quickly contained blaze at the Shell on Sunday afternoon

Gas leak contained near Lakeshore Road

Ruptured line was quickly contained Sunday morning by Kelowna Fire Department

High winds cause havoc for sailors

Kelowna Fire Department assists boats with broken masts on Okanagan Lake

Late night confrontation between two men in Peachland

RCMP was called to the scene of a physcial encounter on Saturday evening where one man was injured

Update: Police expand search in North Okanagan-Shuswap

Examination continues in Silver Creek, while another search happens between Salmon Arm and Enderby

VIDEO: Sears liquidation sales continue across B.C.

Sales are expected to continue into the New Year

Rockets raise money for autism

Western Hockey League club hosts third annual Family Day Sunday in Kelowna

WATCH: 10,000 signatures gained to stop ‘no pets’ rental policy

Pets OK BC said about 1,700 animals were surrendered to the BC SPCA last year due to housing issues

A golden opportunity

Orthodontist offers sweet deal for the pocketbook

Who is Curtis Sagmoen?

The Observer reveals what we know about the man attached to the Silver Creek property where human remains were found

VIDEO: Oprah Winfrey and a celebrities attend ‘B.C. Miracle Concert’

Fundraiser featured Foster, Steven Tyler, The Tenors, Matteo Bocelli, Laura Bretan, Carly Rae Jepsen

First-place Warriors edge Caps, visit ‘Backs today

West Kelowna scores twice in 25 seconds early in third to overtake Cowichan Valley in BCHL action

Grab a book; thank your librarian

All libraries are cornerstones of their communities and we celebrate them during library month

Five decades of volunteering

Even though she is approaching 70, Merle kindred continues to volunteer around the world

Most Read