NewsQ Activity Area: Ideation Through Data
How should news ranking and recommendation systems work? One answer has been news quality: higher quality news should rise to the top.
Yet, news quality itself is a complicated, and not clearly understood concept. There are aspects around which experienced journalists may disagree, depending on the context in question. At the same time, news ranking and recommendation systems are built around defined processes and rules, which require technical specificity and sometimes trade-offs.
- if the presence of local news is important in news feeds, what exactly counts as local news?
- what are the places of opinion pieces in breaking news feeds?
- should the rules governing the ranking and recommendation for a science news feed be the same as another topic, such as politics?
We could many other questions such as these.
To support constructive engagement on these questions, NewsQ is embarking on a series of review panels. Composed of journalists, journalism experts, and technologists, the panels will delve into specific cases of news ranking and recommendation to aid their deliberation. The goal is to understand whether generalizable guidance or principles regarding quality journalism—interpretable both by algorithms and by journalists—might emerge.
Pilot panels: May – August 2020
Our first panel discussions over collected cases of ranked recommended news results will include:
- the place of opinion versus other kinds of news genres;
- how science and health news might be ranked or recommended;
- the priority of local news.
Reflections from these panels will be published later in the year.
We are grateful for the participation and input of our panelists. Members of our inaugural cohort include:
- Opinion: David Agraz, Jon Allsop, Leona Allen, Patricia Lopez, Subramaniam Vincent, Rebecca Traister, Rochelle Riley.
- Science and Health: Caroline Chen, Jennifer Kahn, Katherina Thomas, Randi Hutter Epstein, Rick Weiss, Wudan Yan, Zoë Triska.
- Local: Al Cross, Claudia Irizarry Aponte, David Kroman, Gabriel Kahn, Jeff Jarvis, Mandy Jenkins, Meredith Clark, Natalie Mao, Sarah Blaskey.
- Orientation Guide on Algorithms and News Ranking: an orientation to help newcomers to algorithms understand the challenge of news ranking and recommendation systems better. (May 2020)
- Orientation Guide to Platform News Products: Provides overviews for eight news products, mostly from the perspective of the goals expressed by platform owners themselves, with background and process for each product (vis-a-vis news). (June 2020)
- Reference Guide: News Genre: Includes examples of classification systems, including Opinion.