The News Source Diversity Meter is under development as part of a multidisciplinary research project at Tampere University, bringing together research in journalism and IT, two media companies, and a cross-sectoral steering group. The Media Industry Research Foundation of Finland is funding the project. The project aims to develop a data analytics tool that uses methods of natural language processing (NLP) and trial the application of the tool in workshops organised with the newsrooms serving as project partners.
A further aim is to generate recommendations for enhancing content diversity in journalism from the perspective of different types of newsrooms. The starting point is a sense of trust in the notion that better journalism and high-quality public discourse can be achieved by listening to different voices and perspectives and increasing mutual understanding.
The browser-based meter allows users to perform searches based on media companies’ news archives and databases. The meter uses NLP technology to identify the people interviewed in texts and information related to them. For example, the meter lists the people who have been interviewed the most in different subject areas and reveals facts such as the proportion of women and men in all interviews, the proportion of interviews with people from the various political parties, and the prevalence of different job titles. One of the key questions that the project seeks to address is which of the many dimensions of the overall concept of diversity should be measured. The search features are still under development.
The demo version of the meter was developed by Sopiva, the Finnish Association for Conciliatory Journalists, whose roots lie in a research project on conciliatory journalism at Tampere University. The Sopiva team entered the meter into the 2019 Uutisraivaaja Media Innovation Challenge run by the Helsingin Sanomat Foundation, and the project finished among the five finalists. The project partners for the Uutisraivaaja challenge were Yleisradio, the Finnish national broadcasting company, and STT, the Finnish News Agency.
The News Source Diversity Meter is now being developed as part of a research project at Tampere University, and the partners are The Finnish News Agency STT and the regional newspaper Kaleva from Kaleva Media. Funding is provided by the Media Industry Research Foundation of Finland and the Foundation for the Promotion of Journalistic Culture.
The research team consists of Professor Jyrki Nummenmaa and Research Assistant Tuomas Mäkelä from Computing Sciences Unit, and Doctoral Researcher Matleena Ylikoski and Associate Professor Laura Ahva from Communication Sciences Unit at the Faculty on Information Technology and Communication Sciences. The team is led by Associate Professor Ahva.
Doctoral Researcher Matleena Ylikoski, University of Tampere matleena.ylikoski(at)tuni.fi
Illustrations: Meeri Hentilä