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Introducing Media Cloud

(updated March 19)

March 19, 2009

March 11: The Berkman Center for Internet & Society is pleased to announce the launch of Media Cloud, a new project that seeks to track news content comprehensively -- providing free, open, and flexible research tools:

http://www.mediacloud.org

Researching the nature of news, and media information flows, has always faced a difficult challenge: there is so much produced by so many outlets that it is hard to monitor it all. Researchers have used painstaking manual content analysis to understand mass media. On the web, the explosion of citizen media makes such an approach far more difficult and less comprehensive. By automatically downloading, processing, and querying the full text of thousands of outlets, Media Cloud will allow unprecedented quantitative analysis of media trends.

Today's launch allows a first view into some of what is possible on the Media Cloud platform. At http://www.mediacloud.org you can generate simple charts of media coverage across sources and countries. The actual capabilities of the system are much greater, and the Media Cloud team is actively looking for other researchers who will bring their own questions as the tools are further developed. Ultimately, Media Cloud will provide open APIs that can support a variety of lines of inquiry.

Visit the Media Cloud site, try the visualizations, share your research ideas with the team, and sign up for the Media Cloud mailing list to hear about functionality enhancements and other project developments.

March 19 update: First Media Cloud Code Release (Ethan Zuckerman comments here).

The Berkman Center is proud to be incubating the project in its initial phases and is now seeking partners to help Media Cloud realize its full research potential.

Check out the full press release -- issued with the project's first collaborators, the Thomson Reuters Calais Initiative.

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Some early takes on Media Cloud from around the web:

MediaPost, ReadWriteWeb, Sunlight Foundation, and Mass High Tech all carried news of the launch as well.

Last updated March 23, 2009