Campaign contributions. Insider trading. Conflicts of interest. Each of these topics requires a journalist to understand relationships among people, places and organizations — social network analysis.
The Knight Lab started exploring this subject in April 2013 by experimenting with software that makes it easier for journalists to perform SNA.
Our next step: a Knight Lab microsite that serves as a hub for collective intelligence around the application of network analysis to journalism. The site is for analysts, journalists, programmers... anyone.
The potential for network analysis in journalism has been long known and long untapped. The same techniques that have been applied to epidemiology, marketing and other fields have the potential to enhance investigative reporting. Imagine having the ability to unearth connections or central figures in an investigation who would otherwise be unknown. SNA could help a news organization identify key influencers in political, business or social networks.
A cohesive site for anyone interested in network analysis in journalism will allow these types of conversations and to happen on a regular basis and facilitate collaboration in the tool-building and investigative process.
This site will contain three main categories: Tools including Gephi and Neo4j; Stories and news apps based on network analysis in journalism stories such as The Calderon family’s connections or Spheres of Influence; and articles related to the topic produced by the Lab and other contributors. I hope anyone interested in the topic can use this space to move existing projects forward and create new ones.
I'd also love to have your input, ideas, and insights. Please feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org.