1st Edition

Algorithms, Automation, and News New Directions in the Study of Computation and Journalism

Edited By Neil Thurman, Seth C. Lewis, Jessica Kunert Copyright 2021
    226 Pages
    by Routledge

    226 Pages
    by Routledge

    This book examines the growing importance of algorithms and automation—including emerging forms of artificial intelligence—in the gathering, composition, and distribution of news. In it the authors connect a long line of research on journalism and computation with scholarly and professional terrain yet to be explored.

    Taken as a whole, these chapters share some of the noble ambitions of the pioneering publications on ‘reporting algorithms’, such as a desire to see computing help journalists in their watchdog role by holding power to account. However, they also go further, firstly by addressing the fuller range of technologies that computational journalism now consists of: from chatbots and recommender systems to artificial intelligence and atomised journalism. Secondly, they advance the literature by demonstrating the increased variety of uses for these technologies, including engaging underserved audiences, selling subscriptions, and recombining and re-using content. Thirdly, they problematise computational journalism by, for example, pointing out some of the challenges inherent in applying artificial intelligence to investigative journalism and in trying to preserve public service values. Fourthly, they offer suggestions for future research and practice, including by presenting a framework for developing democratic news recommenders and another that may help us think about computational journalism in a more integrated, structured manner.

    The chapters in this book were originally published as a special issue of Digital Journalism.

    1. Algorithms, Automation, and News

    Neil Thurman, Seth C. Lewis and Jessica Kunert

    2. On the Democratic Role of News Recommenders

    Natali Helberger

    3. Newsbots That Mediate Journalist and Audience Relationships

    Heather Ford and Jonathon Hutchinson

    4. Public Service Chatbots: Automating Conversation with BBC News

    Bronwyn Jones and Rhianne Jones

    5. Selling News to Audiences – A Qualitative Inquiry into the Emerging Logics of Algorithmic News Personalization in European Quality News Media

    Balázs Bodó

    6. Making Artificial Intelligence Work for Investigative Journalism

    Jonathan Stray

    7. Human Still in the Loop. Editors Reconsider the Ideals of Professional Journalism Through Automation

    Marko Milosavljević and Igor Vobič

    8. News Algorithms, Photojournalism and the Assumption of Mechanical Objectivity in Journalism

    Matt Carlson

    9. Structured Journalism and the Semantic Units of News

    David Caswell

    10. Atomising the News: The (In)Flexibility of Structured Journalism

    Rhianne Jones and Bronwyn Jones

    11. Towards a Design Orientation on Algorithms and Automation in News Production

    Nicholas Diakopoulos

    12. Prioritizing the Audience’s View of Automation in Journalism

    Andrea L. Guzman


    Neil Thurman is Professor of Communication in the Department of Media and Communication at LMU Munich, Germany, a Volkswagen Foundation Freigeist Fellow, and an Honorary Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Journalism at City, University of London, UK.

    Seth C. Lewis is Professor and Shirley Papé Chair in Emerging Media in the School of Journalism and Communication at the University of Oregon, USA, Visiting Fellow with the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at the University of Oxford, UK, and Chair of the Journalism Studies Division of the International Communication Association.

    Jessica Kunert is Senior Research Associate in the Institute for Journalism and Communication Studies at the University of Hamburg, Germany.