News Ranking Review Panels

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.

For example,

  • 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.

Inaugural Cohort

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.