First Impressions of our “Futurists in Media” Scanner

When I began this project of searching for mentions of futurist in the media, I was interested to see that there were no articles over the weekend. (I was also a bit relieved, frankly, as that gave me two days to focus on my other courses.) But why was that? Was it due to the search engine or was no one writing about futurists? Were futurists taking the weekend off? Were reporters taking the weekend off? I soon found out it was an anomaly and was only true the first couple weekends. So I thought I should see if I could find a pattern in looking at which day of the week articles were published. However, I did not find a trend; the number of pertinent articles was not evenly distributed, but there also was no clearly defined peak day.

What does this mean, and what can we learn from that? While I am happy to have only three or four articles to peruse most days (albeit there have been days with 11 articles), this does seem like a dearth of articles, especially with the amount of news now available online. Although it appears the number of articles has been steadily rising since this study began in 2015, there still are not an inordinate number. What we are getting is pretty easy to keep up with. We began with 24 pertinent articles in December 2015. This increased to 282 in 2016, and we have 76 pertinent articles for the six weeks I’ve been compiling in 2017. If we extrapolate 2017, presuming a steady number of pertinent articles, we could have in the vicinity of 600 pertinent articles for the year.

So, while I don’t want to overtax the people keeping track, is there something we can do proactively to increase the number of articles that refer to actual futurists? Should we start seeding reporters with information? Should reporters be invited to any and all events that include futurists? Should we author articles, for example news releases, and send them to news organizations? At a minimum, it would seem to me, technology reporters would be interested in futurists who are presenting, especially if the futurist is speaking at what is not typically considered a “futurist forum.” I’ve also seen a number of futurists quoted for science fiction movies (the new Blade Runner 2049 movie is an excellent example as three reviewers of the movie spoke with futurists in order to get their take on the movie).

Another thing to keep in mind is the search term itself. Right now, we search on just the word “futurist”. I presume there might be more articles that could be pertinent, but that do not use the term “futurist,” but our primary interest here is in how people who are called futurists are being portrayed. — Lloyd Chesley

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