Automated Journalism as a Source of and a Diagnostic Device for Bias in Reporting

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http://hdl.handle.net/10138/318031

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Leppänen , L , Tuulonen , H & Sirén-Heikel , S 2020 , ' Automated Journalism as a Source of and a Diagnostic Device for Bias in Reporting ' , Media and Communication , vol. 8 , no. 3 , pp. 39-49 . https://doi.org/10.17645/mac.v8i3.3022

Title: Automated Journalism as a Source of and a Diagnostic Device for Bias in Reporting
Author: Leppänen, Leo; Tuulonen, Hanna; Sirén-Heikel, Stefanie
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Discovery Research Group/Prof. Hannu Toivonen
University of Helsinki, Swedish School of Social Science Subunit
University of Helsinki, Media and Communication Studies
Date: 2020-07-10
Language: eng
Number of pages: 11
Belongs to series: Media and Communication
ISSN: 2183-2439
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/318031
Abstract: In this article we consider automated journalism from the perspective of bias in news text. We describe how systems for automated journalism could be biased in terms of both the information content and the lexical choices in the text, and what mechanisms allow human biases to affect automated journalism even if the data the system operates on is considered neutral. Hence, we sketch out three distinct scenarios differentiated by the technical transparency of the systems and the level of cooperation of the system operator, affecting the choice of methods for investigating bias. We identify methods for diagnostics in each of the scenarios and note that one of the scenarios is largely identical to investigating bias in non-automatically produced texts. As a solution to this last scenario, we suggest the construction of a simple news generation system, which could enable a type of analysis-by-proxy. Instead of analyzing the system, to which the access is limited, one would generate an approximation of the system which can be accessed and analyzed freely. If successful, this method could also be applied to analysis of human-written texts. This would make automated journalism not only a target of bias diagnostics, but also a diagnostic device for identifying bias in human-written news.
Subject: 113 Computer and information sciences
518 Media and communications
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