Geoparsing and the coverage of South Pacific states in Australian newspapers 2010 - 2020


Diane de Saint L├ęger
School of Language and Linguistics


Luke Yin
School of Historical and Philosophical Studies

Christopher Orrell
School of Historical and Philosophical Studies

Project description

This project aims to build a corpus based on two national Australian newspapers to investigate diachronically which countries, states or territories in the South Pacific region are being most mentioned, on what occasion, for what purpose and in what way (2010-2020) and to display this information in an open and accessible way through the use of visualisations.

The corpus for this project consists of articles from physical editions of two Australian newspapers, The Australian and Sydney Morning Herald, obtained from the Factiva database.

Each article references one or more of the following pacific island states in either the headline or lead paragraph:  Cook Islands, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, the Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, French Polynesia, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, Nauru, New Caledonia, Palau, the Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu.

Data retrieved from the Factiva database was saved in the pdf format. This was then selectively extracted from the pdf files and stored in a csv file as a database. The following information was collected for each article: headline, byline, date of publication, newspaper of publication, lead paragraph, and subsequent paragraphs.

Tableau has a built-in geo-coding and base-map system (so we don’t need to import external GIS systems) containing place information of most countries in the world. Within a few easy steps, a heat map (see above) can be generated by Tableau, and in our case, the Tableau function allows the display of data in time series (2010, 2015, and 2020). Users can click buttons on the dashboard to see the change of media coverage of pacific islands in Australian newspapers over the past decade. The map can be viewed here.

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