bots against bias…

Research late last year revealed that sources quoted in Financial Times articles were ~80% men, and only ~20% women. To fix this, FT recently revealed a new bot aimed at balancing those numbers, calling it “She Said, He Said”.

According to its press release, “She Said, He Said” “uses pronouns and first names [in an article] to determine whether a source is male or a female”, then it will “integrate prompts into the CMS to highlight any gender imbalance prior to publication and remind editors to think about sourcing at the commissioning stage”.

This follows FT’s previously revealed “JanetBot”, which “tracks the number of women featured in images on the home page”, giving real-time feedback to editors as they change what’s featured over the course of each day. It’s all part of a greater strategy FT is using to try and balance its appeal among both genders.

Why It’s Hot

There’s obviously plenty of room for technology to surface bias in news reporting, and it’s great to see one of the world’s most prominent daily outlets using it to do just that. It’s another example of how technology can help us see things we otherwise might not, and allow us to correct it – effectively balancing our human capabilities.

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High power international pubs debut new ad product, “Pangea”

Even as exchanges and programmatic buying make it easier than ever to reach specific audiences, our team is still challenged to reach niche audiences at scale, globally, since data availability, type and quality varies so significantly from country to country. Tuesday, our partner, Rubicon Project revealed “Pangea” to us, a possible solution to one such problem, and by the next day, the news had hit the press.

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The Guardian, CNN International, the Financial Times, Reuters and The Economist will soon allow marketers to use automated buying technology to purchase advertising space across their online properties, globally, through a dedicated marketplace. Further, the publishers also plan to pool data about their respective audiences to help marketers target those ads more effectively. We are exploring this new opportunity now and hope that it will allow us to reach very narrow B2B audiences (e.g., CFOs, HR Directors) in a wide variety of countries, while also benefitting from the transference of brand credibility, through association with such high quality, trusted content.

Why It’s Hot: The digital landscape is getting more and more complex, w/universes, targeting, environments and formats packaged up in endless ways, to offer advertisers the opportunity to reach prospects more effectively, at scale. And yet, oftentimes, to get that scale, there are tradeoffs made in targeting (use of modeling dilutes audience composition; audience definitions vary; data is just unavailable) or environment (expansion to long tail, remnant inventory). We are still often challenged to create the exact scenarios in which we believe our advertisers’ messages can be the most effective, ideally with efficiency. Publisher consortiums and private marketplaces, like Pangea, address this problem.