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A Digital Nose For News: Re-Inventing Journalistic Sourcing? Dr Neil Thurman @neilthurman [email protected]

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Page 1: Finding & Verifying News via Social Media

A Digital Nose For News:

Re-Inventing Journalistic

Sourcing?

Dr Neil Thurman @neilthurman [email protected]

Page 2: Finding & Verifying News via Social Media
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Probability of Computerisation

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‘We don’t think it is … desirable

that journalism is done with

algorithms’ Email to Konstantin Dörr

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•Social and professional contexts •How they work. •Biases? •Changes in journalistic work and outputs

Tools for computational news

detection & verification

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SocialSensor is a single tool that

quickly surfaces trusted news

stories from social media – with

context.

A Single Tool: one platform, one interface

Quickly: in real time

Surfaces: automatically discovers and clusters

Trusted: automatic support in verification process

Material: any material (text, image, audio, video =

multimedia)

Social Media: across relevant social media platforms

With Context: location, time, sentiment, influence

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1. To what extent does social media

break news first, and how much

news does it carry that’s not

covered elsewhere?

2. And, in addition to ‘surfacing’ news,

what else can tools like Social

Sensor do?

Page 17: Finding & Verifying News via Social Media

Source: Osborn, M. and Dredze, M (2014) Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus for Breaking News: Is

there a winner? Proceedings of the Eight International AAAI Conference on Weblogs and Social Media.

etc

Broke

1st or

1st=

Page 18: Finding & Verifying News via Social Media

Where Twitter was first

Source: Petrovic, S. Osborne, M, et al, 2013 Can Twitter Replace Newswire for Breaking

News? Proceedings of the Seventh International AAAI Conference on Weblogs and Social

Media

Page 19: Finding & Verifying News via Social Media

Source: Petrovic, S. Osborne, M, et al, 2013 Can Twitter Replace Newswire for Breaking

News? Proceedings of the Seventh International AAAI Conference on Weblogs and Social

Media

Only carried on Twitter

Death of Canadian Ice Hockey player

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Source: Petrovic, S. Osborne, M, et al, 2013 Can Twitter Replace Newswire for Breaking

News? Proceedings of the Seventh International AAAI Conference on Weblogs and Social

Media

Only carried on Twitter

Identification of looter’s car,

London riots 2011

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0

1

2

3

4

8 UK & Dutch Quality &Tabloid Newspapers

(2011)

7 Elite US newspapersand TV stations (2010-11)

2 quality Flemishnewspapers (2013)

Newspaper articles / Broadcast news packages quoting social media (per outlet per day)

Source: Broersma and Graham (2013) Source: Paulussen and Harder (2014)

Source: Soo Jung Moon and Patrick

Hadley (2014)

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• Providing editors with information on

trends in popularity and sentiment

• Alerting newsrooms to ongoing

developments in running stories and

providing contacts and content

• Giving journalists information on the

reliability of contributors and the

veracity of content

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Source: Broersma and Graham (2013)

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0

5

10

15

20

25

30

35

40

Source: Broersma and Graham (2013)

Types of story using Tweets as source (%)

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Types of social media contributor quoted in UK & Dutch newspapers

Source: Broersma and Graham (2013)

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Types of social media contributor quoted in UK & Dutch newspapers

Source: Broersma and Graham (2013)

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“the biggest problem is how to exploit the vast

amount of content in social media with a small

team” – MSN journalist (pers. Comm.)

“we need algorithms to take more onus off

human being, to pick and understand the best

elements” – New York Times’ Social Media

Team member (pers. Comm.)

“Current tools aren’t powerful enough” – CNN

social media expert (pers. Comm.)

Page 28: Finding & Verifying News via Social Media

• J’aime pas Bieber, 1D le rap et plein d’autres conneries. Vous pouvez m’amener 500 haters je changerai pas d’avis. • This wine is going down a lil to smoothly. Here comes trouble. • LIMA HARI BULAN LIMA ! KEK SEBESAR GUNUNG ! kena belajar buat • kek ni, tinggal 2 bulan jea lagi -.-’ • RT ZorianRamone: Happy Bday

Less than 5% of Tweets carry newsrelated content

Representative non-events:

• Running traditional First Story Detection

systems on Twitter produces a mass of false

positives

• Less than 1% of events detected in

Twitter are news related

Event detection in Twitter

Source: Osborne &

Benjamin Van

Durme in Callison-

Burch

Page 29: Finding & Verifying News via Social Media

Examples of false positives

Source: Osborne & Benjamin Van Durme in Callison-Burch

• Juicy Couture, Ed Hardy, Coach, Kate Spade and many more! Stay tuned for more brands coming in http://. . . • i lovee my nephew hair :D • Going to look at houses tomorrow. One of them is & right behind Sonic Taco Casa. If I live there, I might weigh 400 lbs within a year. • Hope a bad morning doesnt turn into a bad day...

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Lyse Doucet, Chief International Correspondent: @BBCLyseDoucet

Gavin Hewitt, Europe Editor: @BBCGavinHewitt

Lucy Williamson, Paris Correspondent: @LucyWilliamson

Fergal Keane, World Affairs Correspondent: @FergalKeane47

Chris Morris, Correspondent: @BBCChrisMorris

Christian Fraser, Correspondent: @ChristianFraser

Damian Grammaticas, Correspondent: @DNGBBC

Simon Wilson, Europe Bureau Editor: @Siwilso

Piers Schofield, Senior Europe Producer: @Inglesi

Natalie Morton, Senior Producer: @NatalieMortonTV

Imelda Flattery, Senior Producer: @ImeldaFlattery

Frank Gardner, Security Correspondent: @FrankRGardner

Gordon Corera, Security Correspondent: @GordonCorera

Example list used to ‘seed’ News Hound database

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Criteria Score

On ‘seed’ list? 150

Each seed that follows them 5

Each seed they follow 2

Send at least 10 tweets per day

50

Verified with Twitter’s blue tick

25

Presence on at least 50 Twitter lists

25

Scoring newshounds

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Dispersion of news on social media

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52

23

0

10

20

30

40

50

60

Males

Female

InstitutionalAccounts

Who are the ‘news hounds’?

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Who are the ‘news hounds’?

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News hounds scoring system

Criteria Score

On ‘seed’ list? 150

Each seed that follows them 5

Each seed they follow 2

Send at least 10 tweets per day

50

Verified with Twitter’s blue tick

25

Presence on at least 50 Twitter lists

25

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Computational journalism tools

Tuned to: Most mentioned, Most followed & Most Vocal…?or

Agents for change?

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Research Potential

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The Personal Brand

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The Personal Brand

#6924

#6758

@Le_Figaro

@wblau

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#43

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Burstiness

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Tony Harcup & Deirdre O'Neill, 2010

News values

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• ....political, structural and natural root

causes and contexts

• the accounts of the people involved

rather than third interpretations by a

third party….

Source: NGO-EC Liaison Committee, 1989

Alternative News Values?

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Verification

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•Content

•Contributor

•Context

Principles for social media verification

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Content

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Contributor

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Context

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0

500

1000

1500

2000

2500

3000

3500

Bostom MarathonBombings 2013

US tornadoes 2010

Tweets per min

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If training=

And test=

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No. of Tweets HISTORY

Frequency HISTORY

No. of followers POPULARITY

No. of follows POPULARITY

Retweets INFLUENCE

Computing Contributor Credibility

Page 66: Finding & Verifying News via Social Media

Grade 0-9 Standard Deviation

Journalists’ Evaluation

5.67 2.10

Truthmeter Evaluation

5.71 2.45

Human vs. algorithmic evaluation of

social media contributors

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Inactive!

Yeah, but check out his

followers!

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Weight

No. of Tweets HISTORY 1

Frequency HISTORY 2

No. of followers POPULARITY 4

Ratio followers: followings POPULARITY 3

Retweets INFLUENCE 2

Verified? n/a 5

Popularity HISTORY 5

5/10

What? She’s Deputy Leader of the Labour Party!

Page 69: Finding & Verifying News via Social Media

• The social and professional contexts • How they work • Biases? • Agents of change?

Digital ‘Nose for News’

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• Rely on journalistic input • Success measured against

journalistic ‘ground truth’ • Created in our own image

Digital ‘Nose for News’

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• Its biases are ours: – short-termism

– ‘Personalization’

– Demography

Digital ‘Nose for News’

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“To enjoy the privilege of making stockings for

everyone is too important to grant to

any individual”

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Thank you!

Dr Neil Thurman

@neilthurman

[email protected]