Mapping hysteria: the Ebola pan(dem)ic

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Although a few cases of Ebola have been confirmed in the United States, a more aggressive pandemic is taking root: hypochondria. News stories are being published from all over the United States about people who either think they have the disease, or think someone else does, and then spring into action. The media then entered a frenzy of coverage, not all of which was true or with proper consideration of media ethics.

Using an application called myHistro, we mapped 70 unconfirmed reports of Ebola hysteria and nine confirmed reports across the United States by the times at which they happened.


MyHistro is neat in that it allows a user to map stories both geographically and chronologically, so a news consumer can scrub along the timeline and see flags appear on different parts of the map. Admittedly there are a few shortcomings, namely the inability to add custom icons for certain events, or change the default pan or range of zoom for particular incidents. But this technology is still in its infancy and we’re working with the MyHistro team to get these changes pushed through.



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