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Ferrier receives $25K grant to expand Media Deserts Project

May 26, 2016

Ferrier receives $25K grant to expand Media Deserts Project

Team to create state-level maps

ATHENS, Ohio (May 26, 2016)—The Media Deserts Project, directed by Dr. Michelle Ferrier, associate dean for innovation, research/creative activity and graduate studies at the Scripps College of Communication, has received a $25,000 grant from the News Measures Project at Rutgers University, to deepen mapping of the media ecosystem.

The Media Deserts Project uses geographic information systems to map the circulation and penetration of daily newspapers and hyperlocal online news sites. The project is a collaboration of the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, the Geography Department and the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs.

The grant is part of a nationwide research effort to track media changes at the local level. Rutgers University News Measures Project Director Phillip Napoli conducts research on local ecosystems and sees the visualization as an important piece of mapping changes over time. The state maps will show changes to daily at the ZIP code level of daily newspaper circulation.

Ferrier’s team released national maps last summer that showed changes to the reach of media entities and the loss of many daily newspapers across the country.

“The maps are showing clear losses of newspaper coverage across the country that are not being filled by the emerging media innovations like hyperlocal online news sites,” Ferrier said. “The Media Deserts Project is tracking changes over time to bring awareness about our changing media ecosystem. We also are spurring media innovation at the local level with student and professional entrepreneurs.”

In April, Ferrier received an additional $20,000 fellowship to explore supports for student and professional media entrepreneurs from the Reynolds Journalism Institute at the University of Missouri. The goal of both projects, Ferrier said, is to spur local media innovation in underserved and underrepresented communities.
-From staff reports