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

The City of Kelowna needs your help to design its cultural plan

Residents are invited to take part in an online survey until Aug. 31

Councillors don’t like it but send tower proposal to public hearing anyway

Despite speaking out against Cedar Avenue project councillors say minds are still open

Ballet Kelowna to perform in China

For the first time Ballet Kelowna has been invited to perform in Beijing

B.C. Wine Info Centre feeling the impact of striking casino workers

The casino isn’t the only Penticton business feeling the brunt of the strike action

Kelowna cannabis company licensed to perform tests on the plant

GTEC Holding’s Zen Labs got its Health Canada licence in July

Trudeau asks transport minister to tackle Greyhound’s western pullout

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he’s asked Transport Minister Marc Garneau to find solutions in Greyhound Canada’s absence.

Okanagan mixed martial arts athlete ready for battle

Xcessive Force Fighting Championship comes to the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre

Temperature records break across southern B.C. as heat continues

Whistler broke a 70-year-old record high of 32.2 C with a temperature of 32.9 C

A’s sweep Pirates, host Twins to cap regular season

With just four games remaining in the regular season, the Okanagan Athletics’… Continue reading

Small house fire extinguished by Okanagan homeowner

Homeowner knocked down flames with hose before crews were on scene Tuesday morning

Come dance between the lakes

Powwow Between the Lakes returns to Penticton Indian Band in August

Hawaii volcano boat tours continue after ‘lava bomb’ injuries

“An explosion occurred near the shoreline hurling hot lava rocks towards the boat and injuring several passengers.”

Trump returns from summit with Putin to forceful criticism

“Shameful,” ”disgraceful,” ”weak,” were a few of the comments. Makes the U.S. “look like a pushover,” said GOP Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee.

Obama to deliver Mandela address in likely rebuke to Trump

Former U.S. President Barack Obama Monday praised Kenya’s president and opposition leader for working together but said this East African country must do more to end corruption.

Most Read