(Spring 2012) Data Driven Interactive Journalism Complex storytelling using data

This is What Our Media Looks Like: An Overview of National Occupy Wall Street News Coverage and Protests

Was the U.S. media disinterested in the Occupy Wall Street protests, leading to less coverage of otherwise popular protests, or did it more or less match the collective public interest of the movement?

Starting with the first day of the Occupy protests, September 17, we collected data on the number of initial OWS protests around the nation and compared them week-by-week to the quantity of OWS news coverage in the U.S. media in order to look for a correlation. By comparing citizen action versus media interest, a link between OWS media coverage and number of new protests was found; an increase in protests meant a similar increase in news coverage. Likewise, the decline of media coverage also mirrored the decline of protests.

However, this correlation between protests and media coverage began to show differences toward the end of 2011, when the press showed minimal coverage on Occupiers who rallied in 20 cities against foreclosure. Most recently, these differences were also widely apparent when OWS held a nation-wide protest on May 1st – it also received minimal coverage.


– OWS News Coverage in U.S. Line Graph: Data gathered using http://nl.newsbank.com/. Searched for “occupy wall street” in Lede/First Graf of all U.S. Newspapers and News Scripts. Here is a list of all newspapers and news organizations included in the search.

– OWS Protests in U.S.: Data gathered from Many Eyes data set by The Guardian on Occupy protests world-wide: http://www-958.ibm.com/software/data/cognos/manyeyes/datasets/occupy-wall-st-protest-map-3/versions/1



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