Solution Based Press Freedom Project

Ian Morse (Lafayette College)

Current press freedom indices conflate myriad problems and measures into single values. When searching for solutions to press freedom violations, believing that all countries suffer from similar afflictions is counterproductive. I approached this project in search of solution-oriented measures that could suggest which political, legal, economic, and social factors had the most influence on press freedom. However, many advocacy efforts neglect how the quality of journalism actually changes as a result of press freedom violations.

The crux of my project has thus focused on establishing a method of measuring how we can use digital humanities to see how newspapers react to external events. How does press freedom affect the ‘quality’ of journalism? I began with a familiar Turkish, English-language newspaper and 1065 articles from its ‘National’ section surrounding the Gezi Park Protests in 2013. I gathered results predominantly from online tools, including AntConc and Voyant tools.

Keyness and Cluster results indicate that there is indeed a noticeable change in the presentation of news in this case. They indicate that more research, including delving deeper into individual cases and examining more cases, is necessary. I hypothesize that the language found in these newspapers will over several cases become more inflammatory by various measures after their freedom to report is violated. Because a methodology for such a text analysis on newspapers is to my knowledge uncharted, these results present only many more questions from which to launch research, as many digital humanities projects do.

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