“The word ‘contamination’ is not there”

The Reframed Stories Project asks people to respond to dominant themes and issues that appear in news coverage about their communities. These stories are reflections by people who are frequently represented by others in the media. Word clouds are created using the Media Cloud platform, a data analysis tool which examines a collection of media outlets over a specific period of time, allowing participants to analyze and discuss preliminary insights into how they might be represented in the media. The project refrains from making conclusive pronouncements about the data, and instead is a starting point that creates space for discussion about how they can help shape their own media representation through digital media.

Jorge Cano is a member of collective El Churo in Quito, Ecuador. The following is a transcript of the video about Jorge's analysis of the word cloud for the term, “minería” (mining) within the Ecuadorian context due to opposition to several large-scale mining projects due to environmental concerns.

Dominant words from 1,718 articles published between January 2017 and April 2018 mentioning “minería” (mining) within 2 Media Cloud collections of Ecuador’s Spanish-language media outlets. (view larger image)

What about the word cloud drew your attention most?

En estos ejercicios, escogí la palabra “minería” para ubicarla en esta búsqueda digital, en esta nube de palabras. Nos sorprendió bastante el que se relacionen varias palabras, sobre todo con el tema de desarrollo, empresas, con el tema económico. Creemos que hay como una versión bastante desde la economía hacia lo minero.

In this exercise, I chose the word “mining” to focus on in this digital search of this word cloud. We were very surprised to see that mining is related to several words, in particular to the topic of development, companies, to the economy. We believe that there is a strong version that sees economy related to mining.

According to the word cloud, how has ‘mining’ been represented in the media?

En la nube están varias palabras frente al tema de minería: desarrollo, consulta, está el tema de economía, empresas, plusvalía, oro, metales. Está también el tema de política, es un tema que se relaciona bastante con todas las palabras con eso, con política también, con inversión, muy poco palabras relacionadas a contaminación, ambiente, eso no hay. Hay quizá una palabra general: ambiente, pero no existe “ríos”, no existe “agua”, no hay algunas palabras de las que las organizaciones sociales usan para relacionar una agenda en contra de la explotación, de la minería.

In this word cloud, there are several words related to mining: development, consultation, economy, companies, capital gain, gold, metals. There is also the topic of politics, it is a topic that relates with all those words, such as investment. There are very few words related to contamination, environment. Those words are absent. There might be one general word: environment, but there is no [word] “rivers”, there is no [word] “water”, some of the words that social organizations use to relate an agenda against exploitation and mining are not there.

What words should a word cloud for ‘mining’ have?

Quisiera que se visibilicen más palabras relacionadas a qué ocasiona la minería. No hay contaminación, no hay los elementos que se utilizan para la explotación minera: cianuro, metales. Lo que sí sale es la palabra “pueblos” e “indígenas”. En Ecuador, vivimos una consulta popular sobre el tema de la explotación de minería en áreas que son mucho más sensibles cercanas zonas urbanas y también zonas como parques protegidos, áreas protegidas. Sin embargo, no salen estas palabras. Por ejemplo, no sale el tema de lo urbano, no sale el tema de áreas protegidas, si bien sale como áreas, no sale como algo más específico.

I would like the word cloud to include more words related to the consequences of mining. The word “contamination” is not there, the materials that are used in mining exploitation also aren't listed: cyanide, metals. What is present are the words “communities” and “indigenous”. In Ecuador, we had a referendum about mining in areas that are very sensitive. close to urban places, and also in areas such as protected parks. However, these words are not appearing (in the word cloud). For example, the topic related to urban areas and protected areas are not there, there is a mention to areas, but not as a specific topic.

This is part of a Rising Frames series developed in close collaboration with the organization El Churo based in Quito, Ecuador. They organized a workshop held on April 21, 2018 that brought together representatives from various collectives and groups to examine how they or issues they care about are represented in a collection of Ecuadorian media and to create stories in response.

Mónica Bonilla and Belén Febres-Cordero assisted with the transcription and translation of the post, which was edited for clarity and length.

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