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.


The Newsroom is Dead. Social Media Killed it.

Social Media is the Local TV for the Next Generation

According to a new Pew Research Center report on political interest and awareness among 18- to 29-year-olds, about 6 in 10 online Millennials report getting political news on Facebook in a given week. That’s a much larger percentage than any other news source.

This stands in stark contrast to internet-using Baby Boomers, for whom local TV tops the list of sources for political news at nearly the same reach (60%).

Millennials and Baby Boomers: A Generational Divide in Sources Relied on for Political News

This occurs even though Millennials express less interest in political news. Roughly a quarter of Millennials (26%) select politics and government as one of the three topics they are most interested in (out of a list of nine).


Why this is hot?

Social media personalizes the news. The good side is you get to read what you want. The bad side is you get to read ONLY what you want.

Facebook Becomes A News Distributor With “Instant Articles”

Now that “Instant Articles”, Facebook’s publisher outreach program, is finally launching, the social network brings The New York Times, BuzzFeed, The BBC and others on board with consumers “real-time/anytime/all-the-time” digital expectations, thanks to publishers ability to post content directly to the Facebook platform (and keep 100% of revenue from ads they sell against the stories!).


Facebook was known to be negotiating with publishers about terms of the deal for the last several months. But publishers, who have grown ever more dependent on referral traffic from Facebook, have been wary of giving up the advertising revenue and user data they glean from people who visit their sites.

However, the terms of Instant Articles seem good enough to assuage those who might be hesitant. Also the partnership is experimental — there are no commitments to publish a certain number of articles a day and publishers can stop at any time.

The nine launch partners are The New York Times, National Geographic, BuzzFeed, NBC, The Atlantic, The Guardian, BBC News, Spiegel and Bild — with the Times, BuzzFeed, the Atlantic, NBC and National Geographic expected to post stories in the format Wednesday morning.

Facebook says Instant Articles are designed to load quickly on users’ mobile phones — at launch they will be available on the Facebook iPhone app.

Read the full story here


Why this is hot?

With this move, Facebook becomes a news aggregator, allowing users to access full articles from nine different sources, on the same platform; while giving Facebook, news organizations and advertisers, a lot more information about their audiences.