Automated Insights, a American technology company, recently announced that it is producing and publishing 3,000 earnings report articles per quarter for the Associated Press, all automatically generated from data. Narrative Science, another US software company, generates stories the same way, in finance, sports, web analytics and other domains.
Anywhere there is clean and well-structured data an algorithm can now write straight news stories that in some cases are indistinguishable from human-written ones. Often referred to as “robot journalism”, such technology offers new opportunities for cheaply creating content on a massive scale, personalizing that content to individuals, or just covering events more quickly than a human ever could.
Twitter is a key platform for information dissemination and exchange and a significant tool for journalism but there is as yet little research on how one of its key functions – the favouriting of tweets – actually works.
Favouriting appeared on Twitter in November 2006. The users can favourite tweets by clicking on an accompanying small star-shaped icon. As a result, the favourited tweets can be located on separate timeline and accessed faster by both the user and their followers. Meier, Elsweiler and Wilson’s research shows this function is becoming more popular: in May 2013 the star was clicked 1.6 billion times, four times higher than a year before. Read more
A study from Journalism Practice looks at how effective social media is in reaching audiences for news. It compares Facebook and Twitter and suggests that Twitter might just have the advantage. Researchers believe this is the case because Twitter is primarily used for reading and posting tweets, while Facebook has many additional functions. “In other words, Facebook is a social network while Twitter is more of social media—more news-orientated, or more ‘newsful.’ ”
Researchers Ju, Joeng, and Chyi were interested in several different questions: “How many major U.S. newspapers are using Facebook and Twitter to reach social media users?” and “Which social media platform—Facebook or Twitter—is more effective in attaining subscribers?” Read more
How do professional journalists use social media? With enthusiasm, caution or skepticism?
Digital Journalism, the newly-launched journal of Taylor & Francis Group which focuses on the transformation of journalism in age of digital technology has published two studies that show significant variations in the way reporters use social networks .
Ulrika Hedman and Monika Djerf-Pierre looked at Swedish journalists’ professional and personal use of social media.
Their study looked at the social media habits of 2,500 Swedish journalists, with data from the Swedish Journalists Surveys, conducted at 5-years intervals.
The findings indicate three distinct patterns of social media use among journalists, which authors divide as skeptical shunners, pragmatic conformists, and enthusiastic activists. Read more
Romanian political parties that get online win elections. A new study shows that political parties in Romania mobilized social media networks at the last election to promote their political image and messages, and that there are now clear links between the degree of support for parties in general elections and their support online.
The German media overestimate the impact of Twitter and downplay the use of other social media networks, according to new research published by the Department of Communication at the University of Mainz, Germany.
Researchers Birgit Stark, Stephan Geiss and Melanie Magin, have analysed the relationship between the frequency of mentions of social media in article and the number of actual users. They found that even though only 3 percent of all Internet users in Germany over the age of 14 use Twitter, it is the second-most covered social network after Facebook.
It’s certainly no secret, for better or worse, Twitter is changing the way journalism is produced and received. Austrian journalist Nadja Hahn investigated the question of why social media is important for journalism. In collaboration with POLIS, and the London School of Economics and Political Science, Hahn and Eurovision surveyed and conducted a series of interviews with opinion leaders, with the results summarized in a white paper titled, “What Good is Twitter? The Value of Social Media to Public Service Journalism.” To show how social media can facilitate the work of public service broadcasters and add value to their reports, Hahn collected data via a survey distributed to public service news broadcasters and national radio broadcasters in the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), asking them how they use social media and how it affects competition. The results of the survey – of which no information is given about the method used or the size of the sample – contain elements worthy of consideration as well as interesting indications.