Ameya Mhatre


Visual interpretation of the spread of news media across the blog-sphere.


Creative Networking

NEWS media has been redefined by the internet and its ability to rapidly distribute a given story or article. Although there is a clear increase in the available sources of news media one must remain vigilant in regards to the quality and accuracy of the information they have acquired.

Link is a project that aims to contextualize the information one might encounter online. Initially the application will pull unique breaking news events from numerous sources online, essentially creating a simple news aggregator. Once a story entices the user, they will have the ability to 'follow' that particular story. At this point, that given story will represent the parent node of a tree structure. The unique url of the user selected story will then be monitored against the technorati blog network (representing over 100 000 000 unique web logs), allowing one to monitor in real time how that particular story is spreading across the blog sphere.

The visual representation will be clean and simple, allowing one to understand the general trajectory of a given event with a single glance. The parent node will exist alone until the event it represents has been linked to online. At this point, the url of the story linking to the parent node will be added as a child within the structure. When a source such as yahoo news becomes part of the structure, dramatic modifications of the network will occur as thousands of children will appear within the network. The ability to drill down for additional details will be present, however the project aims to highlight the higher-level distribution of news media across the internet.

User Scenario
A user is presented with a dynamic list of breaking news events. A story of particular interest to the user flashes onto the screen, prompting the user to select the given story with a click of a mouse. The perspective onscreen changes, now only displaying the selected story. Hovering over the story with the mouse, one can see that this story originated from a small independent blog. Within moments, 4 additional nodes appear on screen as children of our initial story (think tree graph representation). The story selected by the user was referenced by these new web logs, propagating the growth of our visual representation. The google news aggregator was among these 4 children, leading to the sudden and violent growth of our structure. A clear branch emerges as the power and size of such a large news resource becomes evident.

The growth of the story is being stored within a database, allowing the user to move back to the news aggregator where they can select one, or multiple new stories to follow in the same manner.

Every selected story is stored within a database, allowing one to review the growth of a given story retroactively.

Screen based data visualization powered by java and mysql.