A multifaceted study of online news diversity: issues and methods

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Emmanuel Marty, Nikos Smyrnaios and Franck Rebillard


In Ramón Salaverría (ed.), Diversity of Journalisms, Proceedings of the ECREA Journalism Studies Section and 26th International Conference of Communication (CICOM) at University of Navarra, Pamplona, 4-5 July 2011, p. 228-242

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A multifaceted study of online news diversity: issues and methods

  1. 1. Emmanuel Marty, University of Paris 3 Nikos Smyrnaios, University of Toulouse Franck Rebillard, University of Paris 3 ECREA/CICOM Conference « Diversity of Journalisms », Pamplona, July 2011 A multifaceted study of online news diversity: issues and methods
  2. 2. Introduction The purpose of the IPRI project <ul><li>Pluralism of opinion depends on diversity of media and contents. </li></ul><ul><li>Much greater multiplicity of sources online than offline </li></ul><ul><li>Research questions: </li></ul><ul><li>Does the multiplicity of sources necessarily lead to pluralism ? </li></ul><ul><li>Can the profusion of sources lead to an oversupply and/or to redundant content ? </li></ul><ul><li>Research method: </li></ul><ul><li>Multifaceted analysis of online news agenda and diversity </li></ul>
  3. 3. Theoretical framework Social science meeting computerized methods <ul><li>Quantitative content analysis (Riffe 2005), </li></ul><ul><li>from traditionnal approach of journalistic biases (Brossard & al. 2004) </li></ul><ul><li>to almost real-time analysis (Krstajic & al. 2010) </li></ul><ul><li>Agenda setting and framing theories ( Dearing & Rogers 1992; Entman 1993), computer assisted agenda measurement and frames identification (Matthes & Kohring 2008; Baumgartner & Mahoney 2008), combination of quantitative and qualitative methods (Koenig 2006) </li></ul><ul><li>Digital methods (Watts 2004; Leskovec & al. 2009; Rogers 2010) </li></ul><ul><li>and analysis of online social networks (Cha & al. 2010; Asur & al. 2010; Yang & Leskovec 2011) </li></ul>
  4. 4. IPRI project overview A multifaceted project Qualitative Analysis Internet/TV Comparison Socio-economical Analysis Social Diffusion Quantitative Analysis : online news agenda
  5. 5. Methodological steps From corpus definition to quantitative analysis Corpus Definition Articles collection (RSS) Topics Identification Articles Indexing Statistics: variety among topics, sources comparison, « consumed pluralism », etc. With IPRI-NA software
  6. 6. Methodological steps Sampling process of sources <ul><li>- French websites covering mainly current affairs and politics </li></ul><ul><li>- 42 online media (newspapers, radio, TV) </li></ul><ul><li>- 14 portals and aggregators (e.g. Google news, MSN news, etc. ) </li></ul><ul><li>- 42 pure players (news websites without offline counterpart) </li></ul><ul><li>- 111 blogs </li></ul><ul><li>209 news websites </li></ul><ul><li>Crawling headlines through RSS feeds in March 2011, with the IPRI News Analyzer software (IPRI-NA) </li></ul><ul><li>Average number of headlines collected per day: 3500 </li></ul>
  7. 8. Methodological steps Topic identification and analysis <ul><ul><li>Topic = event occurred in a specific spatiotemporal context. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Broader than stories tackled through different angles or frames (Esquenazi 2002, Ringoot & Rochard 2005) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Identification of topics on a sample of 11 days (7-17 of March 2011) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Classification of the headlines into topics through computerized then manual method. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Processing variety and balance: which topics are the more and the least covered in online media agenda? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Comparison of sources: who produces redundancy or pluralism? </li></ul></ul>
  8. 9. Some provisory results 5 over-represented topics on 8 of March 2011 Topic Number of articles Marine Le Pen tops French Presidential poll rating 466 Uprising in Libya 430 Adjournment of French ex-President Chirac ’ s trial 340 International women ’ s day 210 Civil war in Ivory Cost 96
  9. 10. A multifaceted analysis Qualitative analysis Provides with more detailed results completing quantitative analysis : pluralism of opinions and representations conveyed by media discourses <ul><li>Selection of a particular topic </li></ul><ul><li>Manual collecting of the full-text articles </li></ul><ul><li>Computer assisted pre-analysis to build a representative sample (Iramuteq software) </li></ul><ul><li>Two-sided content analysis of discourse and image </li></ul><ul><li>(with screenshots of the websites) </li></ul>
  10. 11. A multifaceted analysis Pre-analysis and sampling Topic « Insurrection in Libya » 8 of march 2011 Corpus = 178 full articles Frame identification and measurement (Matthes & Kohring 2008) Iramuteq software (Ratinaud & Dejean 2009) Geopolitical stakes and USA strategy Debate about UNO intervention Air strike in Ras Lanouf
  11. 12. A multifaceted analysis Consumed diversity and social intermediation <ul><li>Analyzing demand through traffic data (from AT Internet and Médiamétrie) </li></ul><ul><li>Confrontation between offered diversity and consumed diversity: </li></ul><ul><li>which topics are the more popular? </li></ul><ul><li>Analyzing social intermediation: creation of  Tweetism  software (22000 accounts, almost 6.000.000 tweets during March and April 2011 ). </li></ul><ul><li> Which topics and sources are the most shared by French Twitter users? </li></ul><ul><li> Are there discrpancies between online media agenda and sharing preferences of Twitter users? </li></ul>
  12. 14. A multifaceted analysis Transmedia comparison and relative diversity <ul><li>Collaboration with INA (Institut national de l ’Audiovisuel) to put in perspective online news agenda with TV news shows. </li></ul><ul><li>Identification of topics in TV news </li></ul><ul><li>Time devoted to each one of them per day </li></ul><ul><li>Are the most covered topics the same online and in TV news shows? </li></ul><ul><li>Identification of topics covered exclusively by websites </li></ul><ul><li>(or, at the opposite, proper to TV news shows) </li></ul>

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