A host of new tools allows journalists and independent researchers to analyze important trends across media including airtime, advertising, digital privacy, and political spending. (h/t to Nancy Watzman of Lynx LLC for sharing the first four):

  • Ad Observatory: Launched last week, this new tool from NYU Tandon School researchers helps journalists and researchers find trends in Facebook advertising in their states. A complimentary browser plug-in tool, Ad Observer gives the public a way to donate information safely on how they are being micro-targeted by these ads.
  • Online Ads Portal from the Center for Responsive Politics is a searchable database to find political advertising on Facebook and Google, and so much more. (Open Secrets remains the go-to source to track “dark money” and other connections in lobbying, foreign agents, and other political spending databases.)
  • Wesleyan Media Project tracks and analyzes political spending across media platforms, including TV, providing a high level view of how political money is flowing into ads.
  • TV Kitchen is an open source tool to get data out of local TV streams–starting with captions, and in the future political ads, chyrons, talking points, and more. Participants can develop, share, and use free software tools to extract data from TV and share metadata safely with a wider community.
  • The Stanford Cable TV News Analyzer allows anyone to analyze which topics and people are getting the most airtime on cable TV news, using the Internet Archive’s TV News Archive. The tool was created by the Computer Graphics Lab at Stanford University in collaboration with the John S. Knight Fellowship Program.
  • Blacklight, a new tool from The Markup, allows anyone to enter the name of any website and see who is getting their data.
About the Author
Katie Donnelly

Katie Donnelly

Research Consultant

Katie is a research consultant for Media Impact Funders and associate director for media strategy and production firm Dot Connector Studio. She formerly served as associate research director at American University’s Center for Social Media (now the Center for Media and Social Impact), and as senior research associate at the University of Rhode Island’s Media Education Lab. Katie has led impact evaluations for many media organizations including PBS, Working Films, and the National Association for Latino Independent Producers. She has conducted extensive impact research, particularly on the power of documentary film, and has written about the power of media to make change for numerous academic and journalistic publications. Katie has created many educational toolkits that use media to dig into social issues, including curricula addressing youth and gender, substance abuse, and gender-based violence.