Media Cloud

Case Studies

Media Cloud in Action


Case Studies

Issues Covered Heavily During the 2016 US Election

Monitoring a Topic

Key Question: How were topical priorities set by media sources? 

Key Takeaways: The right wing media ecosystem altered the broader media agenda: 

  • Immigration is the key topic around which Trump and Breitbart found common cause; just as Trump made this a focal point for his campaign, Breitbart devoted disproportionate attention to the topic and was widely shared on social media

  • Mainstream media, though critical, focused on immigration as well

  • Though framing of immigration differed, media organizations and activists can use this information to critically reflect on how agendas were set, and develop strategic plans for covering future elections

Contraceptives Coverage in Different Media Ecosystems

Designing Messages

Key Question: How do Nigerian media talk about contraceptives?

Key Takeaways: Framing differs depending on the source of information: 

  • Traditional newspapers focus on the conflict between religious authorities advocating traditional contraceptive methods such as abstinence, and public health approaches of using condoms or IUDs

  • Online, youth-oriented sources focused on celebrities and pop culture supporting the use of modern contraceptives

  • Health organizations and non-profits working in Nigeria can use these insights to find partners, design campaigns and build advocacy efforts

Disseminating Public Health Information in News Media

Identifying Influencers & Bridge Figures

Key Question: Who were key information authorities for coverage of the Ebola epidemic, and did that impact the global health response?

Key Takeaways: There is an important relationship between health communicators, online publics and social media when organizing global health responses: 

  • Significant public engagement and sharing was directed towards stories about domestic (U.S.) Ebola infections rather than West Africa

  • Scientific information was infrequently shared by digital publics

  • Because international health authorities were not frequently linked to by mainstream media and in social media conversations, they were largely unsuccessful in directing the narrative about the Ebola outbreak

  • This information can be used by intergovernmental organizations to better understand how networked global publics impact the dissemination of of health communications

Multimedia Documentary about Life after Prison


Key Question: How did this cross-platform documentary journalism affect the online conversation? What did the assessment reveal about how funders and media makers can realize the full potential of stories like these to inform public understanding?

Key Takeaways: The first phase of this study analyzed Connecticut and national coverage of relevant topics before and after the broadcast and multimedia news stories. The second surfaced key distribution strategies and questions Media Cloud can help answer before, during, and after production.

  • The pre/post analysis showed that coverage of parole focuses on specific incidents -- often high-profile cases. The broadcast offered a different narrative -- the everyday experience of parole, in a policy context -- but did not shift the prevailing one.

  • The cross-platform series didsignificantly increase frequency of a term -- ‘reentry’ -- that refers to the mix of factors that affect trajectory after release. Usage rose after each piece appeared -- and in relation to specific themes and memes.

  • Questions to ask and answer with Media Cloud tools include: what themes, perspectives, and audiences are missing from the conversation

  • Strategies that maximize reach include: In-linking (in-text references to other coverage or resources) and combining a personal story with information on a specific policy.

A webinar about this case study by a funder and a producer -- and a chart of questions and tools -- are available here