What is the best source for tracking protest activity? Newspaper sources remain dominant, but other options are tempting. This article compares three differently sourced catalogs of protest events in Toronto from July 15 to September 15, 2020. The widely discussed Movement for Black Lives and housing justice cycles of protest are visible in all three catalogs, but apart from this, the field of protest they reveal is very different. While the coverage by the newspaper with the largest circulation, the Toronto Star, shows Toronto protest as state-centered, domestic, and progressive, other catalogs that include television, radio, and social media content reveal a more diverse, fragmented, and globalized protest field. Catalogs sourced from Nexis Uni and Twitter show the significant presence of diasporic protest. These observations suggest new limits to relying on mainstream newspapers for representing the full array of protest activity. We recommend that, moving forward, researchers experiment with media aggregators to incorporate sources such as television coverage and social media into their research while remaining aware of the additional challenges such data generate.

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