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365 Dots in 2019: Quantifying Attention of News Sources

Nwala, Alexander C ; Weigle, Michele C ; Nelson, Michael L 2020

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  • Title:
    365 Dots in 2019: Quantifying Attention of News Sources
  • Author: Nwala, Alexander C ; Weigle, Michele C ; Nelson, Michael L
  • Description: We investigate the overlap of topics of online news articles from a variety of sources. To do this, we provide a platform for studying the news by measuring this overlap and scoring news stories according to the degree of attention in near-real time. This can enable multiple studies, including identifying topics that receive the most attention from news organizations and identifying slow news days versus major news days. Our application, StoryGraph, periodically (10-minute intervals) extracts the first five news articles from the RSS feeds of 17 US news media organizations across the partisanship spectrum (left, center, and right). From these articles, StoryGraph extracts named entities (PEOPLE, LOCATIONS, ORGANIZATIONS, etc.) and then represents each news article with its set of extracted named entities. Finally, StoryGraph generates a news similarity graph where the nodes represent news articles, and an edge between a pair of nodes represents a high degree of similarity between the nodes (similar news stories). Each news story within the news similarity graph is assigned an attention score which quantifies the amount of attention the topics in the news story receive collectively from the news media organizations. The StoryGraph service has been running since August 2017, and using this method, we determined that the top news story of 2018 was the "Kavanaugh hearings" with attention score of 25.85 on September 27, 2018. Similarly, the top news story for 2019 so far (2019-12-12) is "AG William Barr's release of his principal conclusions of the Mueller Report," with an attention score of 22.93 on March 24, 2019.
  • Creation Date: 2020
  • Language: English
  • Source: arXiv.org

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