After Jesse’s lecture last evening, I thought a lot about the direction of my (and our) mapping project, imagining ways I could string together several types of media that would enhance the rather factual nature of my research.  I was particularly inspired by his comment about the motive behind a project or campaign getting tangled in the aspiration of using available technologies:  he questions, “What is it that you want to DO?”  This got me thinking about my project in a non-linear way; as in, what exactly do I want to eventually represent?  I’m an organizer, so up to this point I’d been thinking about my project in terms of re-organizing data (numbers, in this case) and worrying about the end result once I had my information in order.

Initially, I’d thought to outline a 100-year history of several New York City newspapers…and I realized I’ve been struggling to envision my project as something beyond a undulating map.  My first points of research have been investigations into other efforts to display the “hard facts” of newspaper circulation.  For example, this link is a graphical representation of the circ numbers for  several different publications in New York City.  Although it may be helpful from an advertising standpoint, this hardly represents the information I’m trying to extract.  Viewing charts and graphs such as this one prompted my decision to potentially focus on one newspaper – the New York Post.   This paper is the oldest New York newspaper, not to mention the oldest U.S. daily.  (I happen to share a birthday with The Post, excluding the year – November 16th, 1801).

Now that specificity is on my side, collecting circulation numbers from each zip code per year and representing each data point individually is not a task that’s meant to prove the exactness the research; rather, it will allow my map to be rich with potential conclusions and patterns (like Adrian’s racial demographic map critique).  Inspired by map critiques I’ve seen so far, Shannon’s writing, and Jesse’s presentation, I’ve decided to consider this factual data my “base map” and will add texture with other layers of media.

An exciting prospect for video, sound, still images, etc…is my upcoming paper route adventure!  I’ve contacted a delivery man for the New York Post named Ronnie (who I’ve never met), and he agreed to let me come on his delivery route next Saturday morning at 4a.m.  Equipped with my flip camera, digital recorder, iphone camera, and a very large coffee, I’ll ride in his truck as he travels through Brooklyn and Queens to scatter copies of that day’s paper.  He’s agreed to media participation as well (and, I’ve been told,  is a large Italian man with an equally large personality), so I’m looking forward to colorful conversation and recordings.   Ronnie has agreed to meet me for coffee the day before our paper route, which will build trust and also allow time for background information that might inspire questions or conversations the following morning.  This is my kind of research.

Another recent exciting discovery that may lead to new layers of my project was my encounter with Jason Borbay’s website; Jason is a New York City location artist and film artist whose directorial debut, the “New York Post” won Best Film at the 2010 Hakker Short Film Festival.  His 10-minute film (which you can watch in its entirety at the link above) “chronicles an Upper East Side adventure between two pals as they read, walk, talk, dance and savor the day.”  As for his location artwork, his website indicates that it is  “comprised of collaged New York Post headlines, and layer upon layer of acrylic paint. Driven to capture the actuality of society, this series visually displays the paradox of love, lust, murder, sex, sports, betrayal, triumph, religion, rape and politics in one place… concepts any person reading a daily newspaper will see juxtaposed without a second thought.”

Check out the painting below, and the blog post that outlines his process of composing with NY Post headlines.