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Etmaal 2019 presentation: Spaces in which people and algorithms meet: automation in journalistic practice

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On the Etmaal conference Journalismlab of Hogeschool Utrecht gave a presentation about: Spaces in which people and algorithms 'meet': automation in journalistic practice.

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Etmaal 2019 presentation: Spaces in which people and algorithms meet: automation in journalistic practice

  1. 1. SPACES IN WHICH PEOPLE AND ALGORITHMS ‘MEET’: AUTOMATION IN JOURNALISTIC PRACTICE Etmaal 2019 Daniela van Geenen Journalism Lab Utrecht University of Applied Sciences
  2. 2. Philip Meyer, 1967-2012
  3. 3. Methodology • Literature review approach: • Academic discourse • Communication and Mass Media (1938-) & ACM Digital Library (1954-) • Search strategy: • Notion of ‘automation’ through computation • Thesaurus search string: ”journalism” (all) AND “information storage and retrieval systems” • Challenge: changing terminology & meaning • Processing & analysis • In-depth reviewing & structuring • Identification of central publications • Typologies & definitions of relevant terms • Inventory and overview of (empirical) case studies
  4. 4. Literature review Communication and Mass Media (comprehensive collection) • Journalis* AND [other terms] • Thesaurus search string: 579 academic publications • Corpus by numbers • AND algorithm: 57 • AND automat(ed/ion): 167 • AND computat/ion: 1,718 / 50 • AND data: 2,379
  5. 5. Literature review Communication and Mass Media (comprehensive collection) • Journalis* AND [other terms] • Thesaurus search string: 579 academic publications • Corpus by numbers • AND algorithm: 57 • AND automat(ed/ion): 167 • AND computat/ion: 1,718 / 50 • AND data: 2,379
  6. 6. 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 Journalism Educator Journalism Practice Journalism Journalism & MassCom m unication Quarterly Journalism Quarterly Journalism Studies New M edia& Society Speech Com munication JournalofCom m unication NewspaperResearch Journal Health Com munication InternationalJournalofCom m unication (19328036) Public Opinion Quarterly JournalofBroadcasting & ElectronicMedia Public Relations Quarterly AnnalsofSpiru HaretUniversity,Journalism Studies Com m unications:The European Journalof… Inform ation,Com m unication & Society InternationalJournalofPress/Politics InternationalJournalofSpeech Technology JournalofHealthCom m unication Journalism & MassCom m unication Educator Media,Culture & Society Com m unication Theory(1050-3293) Com puterSpeech & Language Convergence:TheJournalofResearch into New… CriticalStudies in M ediaCom munication GlobalMediaJournal:IndianEdition InternationalCom m unication Gazette Javnost-The Public JournalofMassMediaEthics JournalofMediaResearch MediaDevelopm ent PoliticalCom m unication Telecom municationsPolicy Television & New Media Most prominent academic journals in the literature review (n=246)
  7. 7. Preliminary findings • Prominent: academic research investigating news distribution and consumption • Algorithmic in creation of journalistic output • Computational technology in daily practice? • By-catch: (big) data/computation in research methodology • A number of overview publications
  8. 8. Terminologies & definitions • ‘Computer-assisted reporting’ (CAR) in newsrooms since 1950’s • ‘Precision journalism’: 1960s/70s; social science methods & surveying • ‘Data(-driven) journalism’: CAR follow-up vs. open source/access culture • ‘Computational journalism’: ‘computational thinking’; related to (public) accountability • ‘Algorithmic journalism’: specialist; sometimes synonymous with CJ • ‘Automated journalism’: directed to output (also: ‘algorithmed journalism’) • Occasionally: ‘hacker/programmer journalism’
  9. 9. • Typology based on three-partite model: CAR, data(-driven) journalism, computational journalism (Coddington, 2015) • Focusing on data journalism scholarship, practices & computational journalism (Coddington, 2018, see also authors on next slide) • Journalistic productions using and inquiring into data and related technologies (e.g. Bradshaw 2012 in Bounegru, Chambers & Gray, 2012) • ‘Datafied journalism’ coping with the ‘datafication’ of society (Loosen, 2018) • ‘Computational journalism’ as field in transition; context-dependent definition(s) (Bucher, 2017; also Anderson 2018) Related terminologies & definitions
  10. 10. ‘Computational journalism’ as field in transition (Bucher, 2017; also Anderson 2018) • “Form of quantified journalism”: ‘structured journalism’, which “turns narratives into databases”, role of ‘computational thinking’ (Wing 2006 in Anderson, 2018, pp. 13-4, Chapter 6) • “finding, telling, and disseminating news stories with, by or about algorithms” (Diakopoulos & Koliska, 2017, p. 810) • Socio-technical question: journalism as site of study where meetings between journalist and ‘machine’ take place (e.g. Bucher, 2018) Related terminologies & definitions
  11. 11. “Structured Stories model Source” in Anderson, 2018, p. 150
  12. 12. Some case studies • Anderson, 2018: discourse analysis and empirical work in US context, e.g. “Structured Stories” • Borges-Rey, 2017: study of British newsrooms • Bucher, 2017; Karlsen/Stavelin, 2013: interviews/fieldwork in Scandinavian newsrooms/ news organizations • Loosen et al., 2017: content analysis of award-winning data journalism • Michalski, 2016: quantitative analysis of journalistic output (Guardian/Washington post) • Usher, 2016: eyewitness study of diverse international media in the field of ‘interactive journalism’, “history of the impact of digital technology on reporting, photojournalism, graphics” etc. (Google Books, 2018) Related terminologies & definitions
  13. 13. Some observations & discussion • Computational, ‘structured journalism’: risk of “naïve empiricism” (Schudson, 1978 in Anderson, 2018, Ch. 6)? • Objectivity (positivist notion) vs. ‘precision journalism’ (social science [methodologies] ‘in a hurry’) • Accountability vs. transparency (cf. Diakopoulos, 2015 vs. Leon, 2019, on Jupyter Notebooks) • Relevance of method(ology) & how truth claims are made
  14. 14. ‘Jupyter Notebooks in the newsroom’ (Sam Leon, Global Witness, 2018)
  15. 15. Some observations & discussion • ‘Algorithmic account-ability’ (Garfinkel, 1967 in Neyland, 2016) • Anderson (2018): admitting and showing complexity and uncertainty (Ch. 8)? • Usher (2016 & 2019): ‘interactive journalism’, embracing hacker culture, also “hacking journalism” • More general: ‘Data infrastructure literacy’ (Gray, Gerlitz & Bounegru, 2018) in journalistic practice?
  16. 16. Conclusion and follow-up: automation & computational journalism • ‘Computational journalism’: ≠ “unified discourse”, but “process of articulation” & “practices of meaning production” (Hall, 1986 in Bucher, 2017, p.919) • More empirical research needed • Blind spot in academic research: computational technology in everyday journalistic practice, especially research and production phase • Inventorying and inquiring into ‘data-infrastructure literacy’ in Dutch newsrooms/of journalistic practitioners • ‘Datafied journalism’ with/about information technologies, databases, and computation
  17. 17. Thank you for your attention! Daniela van Geenen @DanielaVGeenen daniela.vangeenen@hu.nl @JlabHU www.journalismlab.nl/

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