Archiving news on the Web through RSS flows. A new tool for studying international events

Abstract : Media news is more and more used in academic research as data for social sciences’ studies. News allows detecting and monitoring events from social movement to natural catastrophes. In the last decades, several scholars have worked on the definition and identification of media events (Dayan and Katz, 1992; McCombs and Shaw, 1972). Among them, some investigated cross-national media coverage of different types of events (Galtung and Ruge, 1965; Koopmaas and Vliegenthart, 2011) and focused on mechanisms that may explain diffusion of media attention. One of the main issues related to this type of studies is that media data can be retrieved only in commercial databases such as DowJones Factiva. The use of these databases is not only expensive, but it also raises several technical (i.e. it is not possible to extract more than 100 items simultaneously) and methodological problems (i.e. the lack of transparency concerning keywords and the inhomogeneous coverage of sources). Yet, recently, with the emergence of the Web 2.0, media (especially newspapers) publish news directly on the Web, mainly free of charge, and often they provide free push services such as RSS feeds to get real-time information to the reader. Our hypothesis is that newspapers’ RSS flows can be an alternative source of information for media studies. RSS are supposed to have three great advantages: they are free; they may be archived and tagged without limits; they are generally provided as the news is ready and they can therefore be suitable for a real-time analysis. However, RSS are still little studied. If there are several researches on technical aspects, their informational value is rarely analyzed (Marty et al., 2012). Several exploratory studies on our corpus already showed that, despite the short format, RSS items allow both qualitative and quantitative analysis (Beauguitte and Severo, 2014). This paper will present the results of the ANR Corpus Geomedia project (2013-2016, http://geomedia.hypotheses.org). In this project, we build a database storing RSS flows associated with articles published in one hundred newspapers in different parts of the World in order to extract two types of information: flows among countries (which are spaces of interest according to the media localization?) and international events (can we distinguish between inter-national, regional and global events in our corpus?). Geographical structures possibly revealed by international news flows are our main domain of investigation, as we plan to compare them with other global interaction patterns (trade, migration, finance, etc.). At the end of the project, the archive will be freely available to researchers. This paper will present the main features of this Web archive and possible uses of RSS data for studying international events with a multi-dimensional viewpoint.
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Marta Severo, Laurent Beauguitte, Hugues Pecout. Archiving news on the Web through RSS flows. A new tool for studying international events. RESAW 2015. Web Archives as Scholarly Sources: Issues, Practices and Perspectives., Jun 2015, AArhus, Denmark. ⟨halshs-01187828⟩

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