More news meta…

…still thinking about last week’s conversation about the corporate media and what that means for information literacy instruction and the broader idea of library users as informed citizens. A couple of things have come across my screen that seem to fit into this conversation.

First, continuing the theme of cool and awesome visualizations is Muckety, with the tagline “exploring the paths of power and influence.” The site is a simple blog like presentation of news stories, focusing on the connections between people, corporate entities, topics and more. But the stories are accompanied by these interactive maps that let you explore those connections on your own. I like how easy and responsive it is – do a search, choose a result and generate a map around that result. The visualizations seem to be based on an in-house database, so it’s not as easy as it could be to follow the sources and explore the relationships further.

The first thing I thought of was using this tool to look at some of the corporate relationships I talked about last week – someone’s already done it. And that’s great because the resulting map is a bit chaotic and crazy and probably took forever to put together -

Big 8 + Sony Muckety Map

And in a nice bit of synchonicity – today’s top story on Muckety is the other thing I was going to talk about here. Jason Mittell and Barbara Fister both talked about this yesterday and got me thinking about the connections between all of these conversations. Barbara got a comment when she cross-posted the story on ACRLog that suggested the commenter saw the story as an attack on the Bush administration and nothing more.

I think the commenter was primed to see things that way and wouldn’t have been open to any other interpretation, but I also think Mittell’s JustTV post raises another important issue that has particular significance for us when we’re trying to think about the question of how to teach information literacy – the kind of information literacy that supports informed citizenry and lifelong learning:

The biggest gap in Barstow’s article is an explanation for why the media allows its “experts” to hold forth unchecked, whether due to conflicts of interest, ethical lapses, or demonstrated ineptitude for actually displaying expertise. The end of the article tries to address this, but the networks stonewall Barstow in a range of ways, from ABC saying it’s the responsibility of analysts to report their own conflicts of interest, to Fox’s outright refusal to participate in the article. Of course looking too closely at these issues would force the Times to justify why it publishes its own discredited “expert,” William Kristol, despite nearly every claim he’s made for the last 7 years having been proven wrong.

So yay for the Times for pulling back the curtain – but to some extent this little glimpse just shows how much more pushing at the curtain still needs to be done.

3 thoughts on “More news meta…

  1. Hi,
    Thanks for the link. Since I originally made that muckety map I’ve learned some more features of the site and done some further mapping which may be helpful for those interested in exploring the relationships further. First off, you can see the muckety maps in the larger size by adding ?big=true to the end of the URL.

    Secondly, I’ve made a bare bones map which includes the same 8 media corps without a lot of the extraneous information. Easier to explore, perhaps. That map is at http://www.muckety.com/066E08D6323CB1FB4AD191A6AD88F242.map?big=true

    Thirdly, I made a map up which I call few names, many boards focusing on about 40 people who sit on multiple Fortune 500 boards. That map is @ http://www.muckety.com/6ABECBB0F2F4546704763F447BF3B5C6.map?big=true adding in just two more names to that map- Eric E. Schmidt- Apple-Google-SunMicro and Mary Agnes Wilderotter Tribune-Xerox-Yahoo-McClatchy-Microsoft puts all 8 of the media corps (and some others as well- Tribune, McClatchy, Clear Channel) on that map with some of the larger surrounding Fortune 500 context shown.

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