Several more prominent blogs have linked to this already — including Matt Bors, whose blog tipped me to it — but I want to share this with some of my colleagues in the information professions (i.e., librarians.) Graphic designer Erica Smith has created Paper Cuts, a graphical blog that uses Google Maps to track layoffs in the newspaper industry.
As with a regular Google Map, when a user clicks on a site marker (those upside down tear dop shaped icons), an information balloon pops up, this time with a link to a specific newspaper company and news about their financial status. For example, clicking the site marker for Portland, OR, I found this out:
|Pamplin Media Group|
|Positions cut: Unknown|
|Announced: May 2, 2008|
|The twice-a-week paper will cut back to once-a-week, eliminating an unknown number of jobs.|
Because Smith relies upon newspaper accounts to track the damage (kinda like Iraq Body Count), there are a lot of unknowns about staff numbers. And as Matt points out, the graph so far has not tracked information from the alternative press, which has been contradicting wildly over the past decade. Nonetheless, Erica has done a great thing here, demonstrating how to use available information tools in an easily accessible and readable format. Info literacy at its best! Students in writing, marketing, journalism and business classes might find this useful in their research, too.