Friday, 27 January 2012

Trans news analysis preview

    Regular readers of this blog will know that I have something of an interest in language, and how it is used in relation to us.
    In pursuit of that interest, I have been looking at how we are treated in the media, and to that end I have been collecting as many news stories on transgender themes as I can.
    Last March, I wrote a little piece of software that checks Google News feeds every day on a range of keyword searches designed to find as wide a range of transgender news stories as possible from the widest possible range of sources and from all corners of the world. Since I will soon have a year's worth of data, I have been working on some code that analyses the stories and allows a human-readable view of the language trends.
    It is too early to show anything meaningful, but I thought I would share the following graph by way of a preview. It shows the story frequency by source, for British publishers only, and it shows pretty clearly which outlets have something of an obsession with us. The Daily Mail was not just the most frequent publisher in the UK of transgender related stories, they also top the world rankings. At number two was the Huffington Post, and at number three was the Guardian, for the curious.
    Expect to see something more meaningful from this data set in March. At the moment I'm playing with analysis scripts and with display ideas. I will also release my processed data sets, should anyone else fancy their own analysis.


  1. interesting! i'm looking forward to see what keyword searches you used. the nitpicker in me also wonders if it would be possible to pick up those articles that don't reference "transgender" or "sex change" (or whatever) directly. but then i guess you're not really looking for stories that mention Chaz Bono in passing, are you?!

  2. You've identified the flaw, in that by searching on keywords I'm in a search ghetto and I could inadvertantly have slewed my results. But I'd counter that by saying that in this case it's that ghetto I'm investigating so acknowledging I'm in it need not necessarily be a bad thing.

    It would be nice to think that one day there will be news stories about Chaz Bono, the bloke.

  3. Nope, not a bad thing, just a point of interest. I guess the other unfortunate thing is that there are a lot of articles out there that completely overlook the (potential) trans identity of the people in the news (I researched a couple of these early in my PhD). Or those that say "gay" when they mean "trans" or "gender questioning".

  4. Not many surprises so far, the Mail would probably also top a list of reports on foods that give you cancer etc. etc. Of the "respectable" dailies it must be the most purilent

  5. As you know, Jenny, I love statistics and analysis. I use them all of the time in my job in the....ah....dare I say media?

    Nix echoed my thoughts.

    Calie xxx

  6. Interesting that the top two are also well known for using clickbate and seo terms.

  7. As am trying to start up communications with my MP, Heather Wheeler in the South Derbyshire about the unacceptable discrimination Trans in the British Media would like to get in touch with any one that these issues also concern in the South Derby are as I want to start campaigning A.S.P. Please message me.