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Berkman Center’s ‘Media Cloud’ To Offer Insights on Media Trends, the Blogosphere and News Industry Dynamics

Thomson Reuters Contributes Calais Web Service to New Research Tool from the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University

Cambridge, MA and New York, NY - Thomson Reuters has teamed with Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society to support the new ‘Media Cloud’ open research tool. Debuting in Q2, 2009, Media Cloud will offer unprecedented insight into the flow of online media as well as powerful interfaces to bring the data to life. Thomson Reuters has contributed its Calais Web Service to the effort.

Media Cloud was conceived by Berkman Fellow Ethan Zuckerman and Berkman Faculty Co-Director Yochai Benkler. It was inspired by their debate over whether the blogosphere largely echoed traditional media or was instead a source for original news and democratic agenda-setting.

“While daily newspapers struggle for survival, political, niche and special interest blogs continue to thrive,” said Yochai Benkler, Faculty Co-Director of the Berkman Center. “In the midst of this upheaval, it is difficult to know where stories begin, who sets the agenda, and how these dramatic changes impact news coverage on the whole. We created Media Cloud to help researchers and the public get quantitative answers to these challenging questions.”

Found at http://www.mediacloud.org, Media Cloud offers a way to quantitatively examine complex questions about the shape and flow of news coverage in the Internet era, such as:

  • What types of stories are covered by which media sources?
  • Where do particular news stories begin?
  • What areas of the world garner attention, and which do not?
  • How does the blogosphere's coverage of an issue compare to the mainstream media?
  • What role do comments and other participatory channels on the Web play in setting the news or political agenda?

Media Cloud will comprise an ever-growing archive of news stories and blog posts that have been analyzed using the Thomson Reuters Calais Web service. Relevant people, places, companies, facts and events will be automatically tagged to support exploration in relation to the rest of the network of media sources. Users will be able to query this dynamic catalog and generate revealing visualizations to show, for instance, how sources cluster or diverge, where new news stories come from, and what new media flows are emerging.

“We are extremely pleased to be working with Harvard University and the Berkman Center in support of this valuable research tool,” said Barak Pridor, CEO, ClearForest, the Thomson Reuters company that produces the Calais Web Service. “Media Cloud will help map the interaction between mainstream media and the blogosphere to reveal how people influence, shape and interact with news stories today.”

To learn more about Media Cloud, visit: http://mediacloud.org. To learn about the Thomson Reuters Calais initiative, visit: http://OpenCalais.com.

About the Berkman Center for Internet and Society
The Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University is a research program founded to explore cyberspace, share in its study, and help pioneer its development. Founded in 1997, through a generous gift from Jack N. and Lillian R. Berkman, the Center is home to an ever-growing community of faculty, fellows, staff, and affiliates working on projects that span the broad range of intersections between cyberspace, technology, and society. More information can be found at http://cyber.harvard.edu.

About the Thomson Reuters Calais Initiative
The Calais initiative supports the interoperability of content and advances Thomson Reuters mission to deliver intelligent information. It leverages the company’s substantial investment in semantic technologies and Natural Language Processing to offer free metadata generation services, developer tools and an open standard for the generation of semantic content. It also provides publishers with an automatic connection to the Linked Data cloud and introduces a global metadata transport layer that helps them leverage next-generation search engines, news aggregators and more to reach more downstream readers. For more information or to get started with the Calais API, visit OpenCalais.com.

Contact:
Lexie Koss
Berkman Center for Internet & Society
617.384.9100
lkoss@cyber.harvard.edu

Krista Thomas
The Thomson Reuters Calais Initiative
415.202.3523
Krista.Thomas@ThomsonReuters.com

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