Geographic Information Systems (GIS) enable the integration, mapping, and analysis of data across numerous domains. It has been estimated that 80 per cent of all data collected by governments and businesses contain geographic references, and the news media are no exception. We will explain how we conceptualize news items as spatial data points and illustrate how GIS can be used to manage and analyze them using a sample of geographic references from local news items published in the Toronto Star newspaper. The analysis makes use of cartographic mapping for visual analysis of local news distribution and geospatial tools for quantitative–statistical analysis of emerging patterns. The objective of this paper is to illustrate how computer-based mapping tools can be used to analyze the geographic distribution of news in order to identify concentrations and gaps in local news coverage within a given area and thus better understand issues and trends in local news reporting.
Keywords : geographic distribution, GIS, local news, spatial point pattern analysis