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Observatory of international geomediatic flows – GEOMEDIA

Submission summary

Although they have rarely worked together, at least in the French context, scholars in geography and media studies develop similar questions about the contemporary dynamics of globalization and the international system. Once we believed that the reduction of transport costs, the ICT development and the acceleration of trade would lead to the "end of geography" (O'Brien, 1992) and "the advent of the global village" (McLuhan, 1962, 1964, 1967). Yet, nowadays, more and more scholars in each discipline criticise these assumptions and try to map a far less unified and "flat" World, still bristling with national borders but with large areas integrated across continents or sub-continents (Leamer, 2007; Grasland & Beckouche, 2007).
By keeping the hypothesis that globalization must be studied through flow dynamics rather than through structures, the project GEOMEDIA aims at carrying out a joint research (geographically and media-based) on the contemporary exchanges of media information flows among World countries. We propose to build a database storing RSS feeds associated with articles published in one hundred newspapers (see Appendix 7.5) in different parts of the World and to extract two types of information: flows and international events.
Newspapers are considered as markers of countries’ public spaces where their readers are located. Among the published articles, we will focus on international news, that is to say news related to events occurring outside the country borders. According to this perspective, any article of a newspaper of the country A citing the country B is considered as a flow of information between the two countries. By aggregating the articles, we can identify the international flows of information for a time period and for a theme. Finally, we will validate or invalidate the assumptions of the global village and we will clarify the regional organisation of media information exchanged among countries by analysing the flows by the methods ordinarily employed to study the exchange of persons or goods.
The geographical analysis will be completed by several media-oriented exploitations of the database. By considering every newspaper as a sensor and by retrieving in the articles the events that occur in the World (disaster, war, crisis, ...), we can try to measure their international impact or more precisely their distribution in space and time. Consequently, we will distinguish international, global or local events. Moreover, we will analyse the information flows from a historical viewpoint, by studying phenomena of spatial and temporal distribution (media peaks shifted in time from the transmitter point) and temporal links to past events (recall of Chernobyl connected to Fukushima) and to future events (anticipation of the reduction of nuclear power plants).
Thanks to the interactions between computer sciences and medias studies teams, this project is meant to provide an innovative database for future research on globalization, far beyond databases provided by geography or media studies. Storing volatile (RSS feeds enriched with spatial attributes) and royalty free (unlike newspaper articles) information, the database will be an archive useful both to historians of present time and future generations of researchers.

Project coordination

Claude GRASLAND (Groupe d’Intérêt Scientifique Collège International des Sciences du Territoire) –

The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.


GIS CIST Groupe d’Intérêt Scientifique Collège International des Sciences du Territoire

Help of the ANR 242,570 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: January 2013 - 36 Months

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