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How do we define and measure news in the platform era? Defining “the news” has never been a straightforward proposition, but in the era of platform media, a number of factors complicate this task further. Beyond legacy media, today's news is transmitted by mobile phones, tablets, smart home devices such as Amazon’s Alexa, and algorithmically driven news feeds by many of the major platforms. In addition to the influence of the feeds, the content of news is increasingly produced by individuals without professional training, from dedicated bloggers monetizing content for niche audiences, to impromptu citizen journalists livestreaming to social media feeds. Mixed in is an ever-expanding cohort of websites that present themselves as traditional news organizations, but skirt journalistic norms, producing content ranging from opinion posing as fact to outright disinformation.
For better or worse, what has counted as news in the Western tradition—and what made its way to news consumers—has historically been determined by a professional elite: news editors. Today, however, the gatekeeping role of editors is increasingly appropriated by technology: the search and recommendation algorithms that suggest content to ever greater proportions of news consumers. The result is that we rely heavily on technology, but lack a precise understanding of how that technology operates.
How have ubiquitous content production, rampant opinion and disinformation presented as fact, and plummeting trust in expertise complicated the task—imperative in a democracy—of defining the news and measuring its quality? What counts as “news quality,” and can we imagine improvements or remedies to algorithmic or semi-automated recommendation and ranking systems?
Research Director, Agora Journalism Center
University of Oregon
Philip Michael Napoli
James R. Shepley Distinguished Professor of Public Policy
(Co-Author(s): Nicholas Diakopolous)
PhD Candidate, Technology and Social Behavior
Paper: "Algorithmic Influence and the Flow of News Media on Twitter"
(Co-Author(s): Shun Yamaya, Alessandro Flammini, Filippo Menczer, Giovanni Luca Ciampaglia, and Brendan Nyhan)
PhD Candidate, Computer Science
University of South Florida
Paper: "Political audience diversity and algorithmic bias in news recommendation"
Meredith D. Clark
(Co-Author(s): Mutale Nkonde)
Assistant Professor of Media Studies
University of Virginia
“Examining Media’s Maafa: A Diasporic Black Feminist Intervention against Algorithmic Amnesty in Journalism”
Associate Professor of Journalism and Media Studies
Texas A&M University
Paper: “News & Democracy in the Platform Era: Technological Effects on Access, Exposure, Attention, and Processing”
(Co-author(s): Sacha Molitorisz, Derek Wilding)
University of Technology, Sydney
Paper: “How Australia’s market regulator tried to save public interest journalism through a digital platforms mandatory bargaining code"
(Co-author(s): Hai Liang)
Assistant Professor of Communication
North Dakota State University
Paper: “User comments as news quality: a conjoint experimental design to understand the effects of online incivility”
(Co-Author(s): Felicia Löcherbach, Johanna Möller)
Assistant Professor of Social and Behavioral Sciences
University of Amsterdam
Paper: “Out of control? Using interactive testing to understand user agency in news recommendation systems”
(Co-Author(s): Jim Bisbee, Joseph Phillips)
Assistant Professor of Political Science and Social Data Analytics
Pennsylvania State University
Paper: “Does Demand Create its Own Supply?: YouTube Politics During the 2020 Presidential Campaign”
(Co-Author(s): Rodrigo Zamith, Seth C. Lewis)
Assistant Professor, School of Media and Public Affairs
George Washington University
Paper: “More of the Same? Homogenization in News Recommendations When Users Search on Google, YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter”
(Co-Author(s): Jessica Harlan)
Senior Research Consultant
Paper: “Comparisons of Crowdsourced Measures for Quality and Trust in News”
(Co-Author(s): Katherine Ognyanova)
Assistant Professor of Telecommunication
University of Florida
Paper: “Reputation and Status of News Media in the Digital Marketplace of Attention”
Partnership on AI
Paper: “Editorial Values for News Recommenders: Towards the translation of principles to engineering”
Visiting Assistant Professor of Journalism and Media Studies
American University of Nigeria
Paper: “Gaming AI: ‘We Write What Algorithm Wants”’
(Co-Author(s): Stephanie Edgerly)
Associate Professor of Journalism and Mass Communication
University of Minnesota
Paper: "Is That News for Me? Defining News-ness by Platform, Relevance, and Topic”