Group 5 – Research

opennews

Secondary Research

Demographics and News Consumption

The mediums by which individuals view news vary strongly by age, gender, education and income.  

newsprofile.png

This may not seem like a problem, but the audiences of each news source varied greatly in their knowledge when asked about current events. In addition, many of these news sources are biased. Since different demographics watch different news sources, this means different demographics are exposed to different biases and amounts of direct knowledge of current events.

http://www.people-press.org/2012/09/27/section-4-demographics-and-political-views-of-news-audiences/

http://www.allsides.com/about-bias

 

Algorithms and News

Many sites, such as GreatSchools and Google use algorithms to rank pages online. One issue with ranking algorithms is that they often use metrics that only subjectively indicate quality. For instance, some communities may wish to use different factors for ranking schools and often the “most viewed” page is not necessarily the highest quality. Nick Diakopoulos urges for transparency in algorithms so that consumers can choose whether or not they agree with the metrics used by the computer.

http://www.nickdiakopoulos.com/2014/12/01/whats-in-a-ranking/

 

Scholarly References

Biased news distorts facts and omits information yet it increases public engagement with the political process. However, it increases polarization and a deeper and deeper divide occurs between factions. This is bleeding into party politics and was especially obvious with Obama’s healthcare initiative.

Kelly, D. (2013). Red news, blue news: Political consequences of news bias

The news has the power to portray people of certain races, incomes or genders in certain lights. A portion of this power is in their coverage of homicides. The news coverage of homicides does, indeed, often vary by gender, race and income.

Lundman, R. J.. (2003). The Newsworthiness and Selection Bias in News about Murder: Comparative and Relative Effects of Novelty and Race and Gender Typifications on Newspaper Coverage of Homicide.Sociological Forum, 18(3), 357–386. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org.ezproxy.lib.vt.edu/stable/3648888

 

The majority of participants in a web-based study share news on social media to stay connected with family and friends. They also rely on this network to guide them to news articles, since they are often similar. The backs up past research cited by the paper that news consumption is becoming a social act. Individuals under 35 are now heavily relying on their social networks for alerts to news stories.

 

Howe, J. (2011). Social media and news consumption (Order No. 1505751). Available from ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global. (920121262). Retrieved from http://login.ezproxy.lib.vt.edu/login?url=http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.lib.vt.edu/docview/920121262?accountid=14826

 

Current Solutions to Journalistic Issues

In order to allow for better whistle-blowing and honest reporting, the Tor Project was created. Its goal is to develop an open security toolkit to allow journalists to avoid digital surveillance by governments and other groups.

http://www.knightfoundation.org/grants/20121802/

 

Currently it is difficult to view the comments and annotations of others. The DocumentCloud project allows individuals to crowdsource news by adding their own notes and comments to existing news material.

http://www.knightfoundation.org/grants/20110146/

 

During big events, like the Brussels Bombing, aggregating eyewitness accounts is a complex and relatively opaque process. In order to solve this, a web-based tool, iWitness, is being created to aggregate user generated content during big events. It will then display this information for all to see.

http://www.knightfoundation.org/grants/20110148/

 

Wikinews currently advertises itself as, “The free news source you can write!” It instructs users that they can only post things cited from reputable sources or first hand eyewitness accounts. On the news article all of the sources are listed and users have a link to edit the page. The articles are not well categorized, however, and doesn’t appear to have lots of recent content or breadth of content like traditional sources such as CNN or Fox.

https://www.wikinews.org/

 

Propublica states that it is an “independent, non-profit newsroom that produces investigative journalism in the public interest”. Upon browsing the site one can see that it is full of investigative journalism. However, news on breaking current events is not shown.

https://www.propublica.org/

 

Survey

Goals:

  • Understand the demographics of our sample
  • Usage of different mediums of news
  • Identify level of bias and filtering
  • Establish the monetary value of news
  • Find survey takers’ satisfaction with news

 

  1. Which sources of news do you use regularly? (check all that apply)
    1. Newspaper, magazines, or other physical periodicals
    2. Radio (e.g. NPR, talk shows)
    3. Television (e.g. local news, national cable news)
    4. News websites (e.g. Yahoo! News, CNN.com)
    5. News aggregator websites (e.g. Reddit, Google News)
    6. Social media (e.g. Facebook, Twitter)
  2. Which is your primary source of news? [Only if the responder replied to 1]
    1. Newspaper, magazines, or other physical periodicals
    2. Radio (e.g. NPR, talk shows)
    3. Television (e.g. local news, national cable news)
    4. News websites (e.g. Yahoo! News, CNN.com)
    5. News aggregator websites (e.g. Reddit, Google News)
    6. Social media (e.g. Facebook, Twitter)
  3. Satisfaction with news (Rate with stars 1-5)
    1. Quality of reporting
    2. Advertisements
    3. Entertainment
  4. How much time per day, on average, do you spend on social media?
    1. 0-1 hours
    2. 1-2 hours
    3. 3-4 hours
    4. 5+ hours
  5. What is your age?
    1. Under 18 years old
    2. 18-24 years old
    3. 25-34 years old
    4. 35-44 years old
    5. 45-54 years old
    6. 55-64 years old
    7. 65-74 years old
    8. Prefer not to answer
  6. How much would you be willing to pay to get quality news?
    1. A great deal
    2. A lot
    3. A moderate amount
    4. A little
    5. None at all
  7. How much do you currently pay to get news? Please choose the second option to verify you are paying attention.
    1. A great deal
    2. A lot
    3. A moderate amount
    4. A little
    5. None at all

 

We have designed this questionnaire with Qualtrics and intend to survey a random sampling of Amazon Mechanical Turk users.

We are submitting this survey by the end of this week. Our next update will include the results and analysis of our findings.

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