The mission of the 4th Estate project is to replace anecdote and speculation about how the media covers important issues in our society with visual intelligence based on statistical analysis of the media. Goals of the project include providing insight into the behavior of the newsmakers as well as showing patterns in the behavior of journalists, media outlets and media corporations as they cover the issues of the day.
4th Estate data is multi-faceted. It can show how often women are quoted versus men; it can be used as reliable quantitative data that serves as the basis for making arguments of liberal or conservative bias; it can demonstrate the behaviors of a participant in the environment and their particular influence (both being influenced or influencing others). The 4th Estate Project uses the same proprietary technology that its parent company (GlobalNI) uses to service its enterprise corporate customers. The 4th Estate project is a a stand alone project of GlobalNI.
The first domain that the 4th Estate project tackled was Election 2012 – both the GOP Primary and the General Election. We published data on the Election on an almost daily basis. We tracked major US policy debates within the Election coverage and tried to demystify the carefully orchestrated influence campaigns run by both the Democrats and the Republicans. Election 2012 was shaped by many factors including the rising influence of Super PACS. We hope the 4th Estate Project provided critical insights into all of the vying influences of the campaign. We received a wealth of great coverage. During the Election, there were over 100 articles about 4th Estate Project including high-profile articles in Washington Post, The Atlantic, C-Span, PBS, Newsweek, U.S. News & World Report and The New York Times among others.
With Election 2012 over, the 4th Estate Project has turned to widening its focus. In the short term, we are generating special reports that demonstrate our “data journalistic” way of analyzing the media coverage patterns. Our long term goal is to start generating daily content across multiple domains on a daily basis. In essence, we want to help citizens to understand what we all are consuming in a daily basis – as far as media is concerned.