Vanishing Point

Overview:
Objective,      Description,      News Search,      Visibility,      Map's projection


Objective
The goal of this project is to decipher the world that news media reconfigures and to observe if media coverage, or lack thereof, is creating a new cartography.
 
Description
Vanishing Point consists of a map of the world connected to a database fed by news coming from several international newspapers.  The visibility of each country on the map results from the quantity of media coverage the country receives, so those countries that do not make the news disappear progressively.

The newspapers selected are some of the most widely-read from countries that make up the Group of Seven (G7), the seven most industrialized nations in the world:

-CANADA: -Globe and Mail
-FRANCE: -Le Figrao
-Le Monde
-GERMANY: -Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
-ITALY: -La Republica
-JAPAN: -The Japan Times
-Yomiuri
-UNITED KINGDOM: -The Times
-Guardian Unlimited
-UNITED STATES: -Wall Street Journal
-New York Times

The G7 countries represent the 'focus group' of this project since by great measure, their unilateral and collective influence affect fundamental aspects of most countries' social and economic fates.

News Search
Content for the news search was provided by the RSS* feeds of the selected newspapers. For each country, a set of country-specific keywords was created; these keywords, totaling more than 1400 words, were subsequently translated from English to the newspapers' native languages (i.e., French, German, and Italian) for a total of about 6000 keywords.

The search engine, done using complex PHP scripts, scans article headlines and article descriptions, when available, and stores the results in a MySQL database.

Although the number of keywords is expansive and the search routines are calibrated to net the highest number of matching news, the process is not perfect. Nevertheless, the results are a good representation of the type of news coverage that is available from this project's news sources.

*RSS is a format for syndicating news and the content of news-like sites --including major news sites.

Visibility
The visibility of each country is calculated based on a mathematical model that considers the daily news available for each country over a period of 50 days, and the antiquity of these news. In this way, newer news items have a more relevant role when calculating the countries' visibilities than older items.

Map's Projection
The world projection used on Vanishing Point is the Peter's Projection map. This is an equal area map, which means that it shows each country, continent, and water mass according to their actual size, thus enabling accurate comparisons among countries.