Friday, November 1, 2013

You’ve got Bias! - Weekly Report v.44

Everything is biased - we show you how!

Project summary

In the future there will be even more news sources where corporations and personal news channels will compete to break news. How can we as readers trust what we read when the publisher is unknown?

“You’ve got Bias” is an automated system that will analyse news in real time to:
  • Connect relevant data about the author with the news-item.
  • Put the news-item in context to other articles on the same story.

Thanks to “You’ve got bias” I can finally decide for myself what news I want to believe in.

What we have done

We are currently in research mode, and working on putting a specific aim into what we will focus on in our background research work focusing on the four areas of: Data journalism, NLP and NLU, bias and manipulation in news and Journalism as a profession.

  • We developed a slogan.
  • We worked out the pitch/summary
  • We made a plan on how to continue with the project (see below).

What we will do

We have identified four areas that we need to do research to be able to move forward with our idea:

  • Data journalism - about the increased role data has in journalism and news writing.
  • Natural Language Processing/Understanding (NLP/NLU) - a field in computer science that deals with computer reading comprehension.
  • Soft definition/understanding of truth and bias - this will help us understand what bias really is, how it evolves and the different forms of bias that exist.
  • General research on journalism - more specifically how journalists deal with source criticism.

We have divided these parts equally among us and the next time we meet we will present our findings to each other. Further down the line we intend to conduct interviews with a journalist and maybe a guest lecturer from the course.

Problems encountered

We had a discussion about what we are trying to solve with our system and at this stage we don’t have a niche. We figured it would make more sense to start by working with a very general scope and then tailor our product/system to a specific target group. We see an opportunity for journalists to use a system that notifies them on bias in their work before they publish. However, this system might just as well work on the consumers end by providing them with notifications about hidden bias in the text they are reading.

Changes in the project

Since this is our first weekly report there is really no changes yet.


We will start by reading the basics of the topics using wikipedia and related sources as well as research articles and studies on the subject. We will also read work done by Noam Chomsky who is a well known linguist and cognitive scientists and has influenced many other fields such as computer science and artificial intelligence. We will probably conduct interviews with journalists and others that are involved in the process of news writing.


Nothing else.

1 comment:

  1. I think the scope is good, and I especially like that you are looking into how journalists work with sources. This is a very important part to get a good understanding of. I can strongly recommend books by Torsten Thurén on the subject of "källkritik", so check what you can find by him. However, this is a difficult subject, and among other things, you need to figure out who decides what bias really is. And can this new service - the bias detector - be created without creating a society with paranoia? Keep up the good work with the research! /M