Trayvon Martin Media Analysis

In April of 2012, I published the initial case study on the Trayvon Martin story’s rise from obscurity to prominence. I conducted research to quantify professional and social media attention to study society’s reaction to the death of Trayvon Martin and prosecution of George Zimmerman. I incorporated petition data from Change.org, Archive.org’s TVNews database (a first for any researcher), Media Cloud, qualitative interviews with key actors, and a variety of other media sources. I later adapted this case study for  publication in the magazine of Australia-based Walkley Foundation for Excellence in Journalism, and presented my work at the Hearst Corporation’s Future of News event in New York City. The study has been cited by CNN, The AtlanticMashable, and Archon Fung.

Together with Erhardt Graeff and Ethan Zuckerman, we’ve expanded the initial media-reach research to include network analysis, and normalized the data over time to paint a landscape of the first three months of the story. This paper has now been published at the open access journal First Monday. A concise summary was written up by the Nieman Lab.

Together with Rahul Bhargava, I also published an open Ruby script, featured on Nieman Lab, to allow other researchers to download bulk data from Archive.org’s TV archive for the first time (with permission and encouragement from the Archive).

A commissioned illustration of my Trayvon Martin analysis by artist Lyla Duey
A commissioned illustration of my Trayvon Martin analysis by artist Lyla Duey