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Berkman's New Media Cloud

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Earlier today, Harvard's Berkman Center for Internet and Society, teamed with Thomson Reuters, launched Media Cloud, a new project that tracks news content comprehensively with free, open and flexible research tools.

It’s the brainchild of Berkman fellow Ethan Zuckerman and Berkman Faculty Co-Director (and Sunlight advisory board member) Yochai Benkler. The goal is for the site to be an open research platform that allows unprecedented quantitative analysis of media trends by automatically downloading, processing, and querying the full text of stories and blog posts from thousands of media outlets.

Berkman’s announcement quotes Yochai, “While daily newspapers struggle for survival, political, niche and special interest blogs continue to thrive. 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.”

The hope is for Media Cloud will help map the interaction between mainstream media, citizen media and blogs to give a more accurate and comprehensive view of how people influence, shape and interact with the news.

The Nieman Journalism Lab put this video of Ethan describing and walking us through Media Cloud on their site:

Ethan Zuckerman on Media Cloud from Nieman Journalism Lab on Vimeo.

Dave Weinberger calls it of Berkman’s most exciting projects, and Doc Searls notes that the Berkman folks are looking for feedback. So go check it out.

Congrats to Ethan, Yochai and the Berkman community on this great new tool.