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PageOneX is a tool to visualize the evolution of stories on newspaper front pages.

PageOneX is an open source software tool designed to aid the coding, analysis, and visualization of front page newspaper coverage of major stories and media events. Newsrooms spend massive time and effort deciding what stories make it to the front page. Communication scholars have long used column-inches of print newspaper coverage as an important indicator of mass media attention.

In the past, this approach involved obtaining copies of newspapers, measurement by hand (with a physical ruler), and manual input of measurements into a spreadsheet or database, followed by calculation and analysis. Some of these steps can now be automated, while others can be simplified; some can be easily shared by distributed teams of investigators working with a common dataset hosted online.

You can find more information and examples at pageonex.com

Background

The project has gone through different phases.

Initially, this type of data visualization was made through a ‘manual’ process: images of newspaper front pages were downloaded from the web and reorganized in a vector graphics program to draw rectangles on top of them to highlight certain stories.

The first version of an automated tool was a script written in Processing, that downloaded newspapers front pages and generated an organized array of images ordered by date.

The second version is this tool written in Ruby on Rails that you are using. It is developed to be a web platform to provide a ready to use front page analysis tool for anyone with a connection to the Internet. The platform automates the process of newspaper selection, download, thread coding, and data visualization. The alpha version was developed by Pablo Rey Mazón with Ahmd Refat, thanks to Google Summer of Code program (GSOC) and the Berkman Center as host institution in Summer 2012. You can test the alpha version at PageOneXtester at Heroku.

In Winter-Spring 2013, at the Center for Civic Media at MIT Media Lab, we are developing the first beta version and preparing a stable deployment.

Collaborators

The project has many collaborators. The coders have been/are Ahmd Refat, Edward L Platt, Rahul Bhargava, Rafael Porres and Pablo Rey Mazón. Sasha Costanza-Chock is giving advice and support from the Center for Civic Media; Alfonso Sánchez Uzábal is providing tecnical support and Montera34 helped with the server and domains. Thanks to Jeff Warren for his advice and Rogelio López for his testing.

Join the project

Join the mailing list for developersfor users or subscribe to the newsletter to get the last updates.

For coders

This is an open source tool built in Ruby on Rails. You can download and test it locally, and/or help improve the code!
View, collaborate and download the code
Issue tracker
Email list for developers and coders

PageOneX in use

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Timeline of the project.
Slides: presentation at the MRAP
Galleries of examples: at numeroteca and at Pineterest

How things started

Approximately two years ago I started diving in the newspaper front page world. It was days after the occupations of squares in many cities from Spain, and I was living in Boston. I made a front page visualization to show what people was talking about: the blackout in the media about the indignados #15M movement. You can read more about the story in the Civic Media blog. Since then I’ve been making more visualizations around front pages of paper newspapers, testing different methods and possible ways to use them.

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