Saturday, March 19, 2011

news by neighborhood - where is East Oakland?

Inspired in part by a post at A Better Oakland some time back asking Where is East Oakland?, I started keeping track of where in Oakland news stories were reported. Many times the article simply says "Oakland"; sometimes it gives an address, block or intersection. More interesting is when it names a specific neighborhood or district of Oakland. Is there a bias towards reporting crime in Oakland? In East Oakland? Where exactly is East Oakland? Or as noted on Oakland Space Academy
...when you hear about crime in Oakland, it happens in Oakland. Whereas when you here about crime in San Francisco, it is typically attributed to a specific neighborhood, usually Bayview-Hunter's Point or maybe the Tenderloin.

Going from least specific to most, the colors are as follows:
green - Oakland
blue - East Oakland
red - West Oakland
purple - Downtown
yellow pin - named neighborhood or other

View news by neighborhood in a larger map
Note that I've only linked stories that give some sort of location, be it address, block, intersection or neighborhood name. Also note that anything older than 30 days or so in the Tribune gets archived, so most of the links no longer work, so I've included a brief synopsis of the title.

While my observations aren't scientific or even remotely complete (I've missed lots of stories, and I don't follow SFGate that closely), looking at the map does suggest there's a tendency to report news in Oakland as being in Oakland, East Oakland, West Oakland or Downtown, rather than in a specific neighborhood. Particularly if it's a crime; non-crime articles are more likely to get the neighborhood named. And it's not just San Francisco media, either -- most of the stories I've mapped come from the Oakland Tribune. There are plenty of exceptions either way (e.g., areas around Lake Merritt get a mixture), but I've definitely noticed a trend.

So while referring to every single neighborhood on the Oakland neighborhoods map would be overkill and counterproductive (because most people don't know where a lot of those neighborhoods are and some names are no longer in use), it would be great if the Tribune and other media started referring to neighborhoods or at least districts when reporting*, instead of lumping stories in Oakland and crimes in East Oakland.

(* Maybe closer to what's on my Oakland map? Though that's somewhat out of date, now -- I'm aware of more specific neighborhoods in what I labeled as East Oakland on that map, largely through volunteering with Habitat for Humanity and riding my bike to and from the worksites.)


Gene said...

A timely reference in this LA Times article:
Best known for its rowdy Raiders and crime-heavy headlines, Oakland has changed for the better in recent years. There are trendy shops and nightclubs, modern condos cheek-to-cheek with restored Art Deco gems and an influx of top chefs, lured by cheaper rents from San Francisco and Berkeley's gourmet ghettos.

Gene said...

Also of interest is this dicussion at the DTO, where is the DTO 3?