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Interactive News Poverty Map tracks ebb and flow of Canadian media landscape

by | Nov 9, 2016 | Journalism, Media, News, Traditional Media

The word “bleak” has been used a lot in recent years to define the state of Canadian media, as more and more communities find themselves underserved by their media outlets, resulting in a condition some are calling “news poverty”. And the outlook doesn’t seem to be improving.

Last week, Postmedia announced that it would be decreasing local coverage in two major Ottawa publications (the Ottawa Citizen and the Ottawa Sun). Shuttered publications and reductions of local coverage have many Canadian media watchers worried. To better understand just what is happening and why, Canadian researchers have developed a tool to track changes in local outlets.

Researchers at Ryerson’s School of Journalism and the University of New Brunswick’s SPICE Lab have created an interactive map that tracks changes in local media outlets, including newspapers, online news sites, and radio and television channels. The map tracks both new and closed outlets, along with fluctuations in service.

canadian media interactive map

For PR and communications professionals looking to target various outlets and journalists, it’s important to stay on top of what’s happening in the rapidly changing media world. Tools like the Local News Map and Agility PR Solutions’ ongoing  Media Moves installments (along with a robust, well-maintained media database) are now must-haves for anyone needing to keep track of a dramatically shifting industry.

But here’s where it gets interactive: Do you know of a change that hasn’t been added to the map? You can make your own contributions. Just add a marker and provide a link to your information, and the researchers will verify your contribution.

The Local News Map launched in June, and now has data going as far back as 2008. Armed with this information, researchers presented their findings to the House of Commons Heritage Committee on October 6; their findings were bleak (164 local news outlets have closed their doors since 2008, while only 63 new outlets have been created), and similar to that which has been documented across much of the U.S.

Further findings reported that 18 per cent of local services had been reduced, with only two per cent seeing increases; another five per cent of local news outlets showed a shift from print to online-only platforms.

Chantelle Brule
After receiving her Master's in Communications from Carleton University, Chantelle brought her research experience to Agility's Media Insights team as a data analyst. She's particularly good at what she does.

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