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Tracking NATO Summit Tweets

Northwestern’s Knight Lab keeps tabs on tweets and news about NATO 2012 in Chicago

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May 16, 2012 | by Erin White

EVANSTON, Ill. --- If you want to know what people around the world are saying about the upcoming NATO Summit in Chicago, head to www.natoinchicago.com, a website created by staff and students from the Knight News Innovation Lab at Northwestern University.

The technology behind the website spots, sorts and analyzes what protestors, leaders, city residents and other groups are saying about the NATO Summit on Twitter. It also aggregates and presents traditional media coverage from around the globe, enabling city residents to see how Chicago is being portrayed internationally.

“We're tracking how Twitter conversations are changing in the days leading up to the summit and during the summit, and paying special attention to how the tweets from Chicagoans may be different from tweets from other countries," said Michael A. Silver, executive director of the Knight Lab.

Tracking conversations on Twitter may be especially important as thousands of people plan to protest in Chicago during the NATO Summit and will likely use social media to organize their efforts.

Likewise, the news aggregation tool is an interesting way to see how international media is covering the NATO Summit and Chicago. Already the technology has shown that media in more the 70 countries around the world are reporting on Chicago and various aspects of the event, ranging from the potential for protests to calls for leaders to focus on protecting women in Afghanistan.

“In a way, the website will give journalists an additional set of eyes and ears that they can train on an event that they are covering in person,” said Owen Youngman, Knight Professor of Digital Media Strategy at Medill and one of the Knight Lab's founding faculty. "Smart use of social media is not a substitute for the work of journalists on the ground, but it is an interesting supplement.”

The Knight Lab will report its findings and observations of the digital conversation surrounding the NATO summit at www.natoinchicago.com/what-we-are-learning/.

The Knight Lab’s NATO in Chicago website: www.natoinchicago.com

For more information on the Knight News Innovation Lab at Northwestern University and natoinchicago.com, contact Michael A. Silver, executive director of the Lab, at michael-silver@northwestern.edu or (847) 467–6268.

Topics: University