Media and Technology Stats and Studies – October 7, 2013

Twenty-one percent of Americans without health insurance do not use the Internetaccording to Pew Research, complicating such Americans’ ability to participate in health insurance marketplaces. African Americans and Latinos are uninsured at a rate of 20.8% and 30.7%, respectively, compared to 11.7% for non-Hispanic whites, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  
 
The Chicago Police Department’s use of a tool called “network analysis” to map the relationships among 14,000 of Chicago’s most active gang members is credited by some to have reduced Chicago’s July 2013 crime rate by 76 homicides, compared to July 2012. The tool also found the homicide rate to be 900 percent higher for individuals within two degrees of separation of a homicide victim than it is for the average Chicagoan. The approach is seen by some as a more effective alternative to “stop and frisk” policies currently being implemented in many cities that target entire high crime areas rather than specific individuals most likely to engage in crime, resulting in disproportionate stops of African Americans and Hispanics.
 
Two reports paint a bleak picture for broadcasters as well as print, TV and radio news outlets seeking to reach younger audiences. The age demographic of viewers of broadcast TV networks is skewing slightly older than it was a year ago. According to Nielsen, “The median age for the five English-language broadcast networks is now 53.4 years – up from 53 years.” In separate research, Pew reported Generation Xers and Millennials (ages 31 to 47 years old) spend far less time watching, reading or listening to the news than their Silent Generation and Boomer generation counterparts (ages 48-84 years old).
 
The New York Times reports that, according to documents provided by former contractor Edward J. Snowden and interviews with government officials, the National Security Agency has, since 2010, been “exploiting its huge collections of data to create sophisticated graphs of some Americans’ social connections that can identify their associates, their locations at certain times, their traveling companions and other personal information.” While NSA officials continue to maintain that its vast data collection and analysis programs are designed only to gather foreign intelligence, in 2011, one tool used to collect phone and email records – Mainway – was collecting as many as 700 million phone records per day. “In August 2011 [Mainway] began receiving an additional 1.1 billion cellphone records daily from an unnamed American service provider under Section 702 of the 2008 FISA Amendments Act, which allows for the collection of the data of Americans if at least one end of the communication is believed to be foreign.” At least some data not used immediately can be stored for later use.
 
The FCC released a list of tips for researchers seeking to use FCC public data. The FCC noted “the Federal Communications Commission publishes a large amount of information and data, much of it potentially useful for research projects. However, the FCC’s information is organized in ways that facilitate rulemakings, not research; and for those not directly involved in rulemakings, it can be difficult to find the most useful resources, even though the information is public.”

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