October 24th, 2014 §
I’m following the
Computation + Journalism 2014 symposium via the hashtag and livestream. Below are some highlights I collected from the opening keynote.
2014 C+J Symposium
We live in a society that is increasingly dependent on data and computation, a dependence that often evolves invisibly, without substantial critical assessment or accountability. Far from virtual, inert quantities, data and computation exert real forces in the physical world, shaping and defining systems of power that will play larger and larger roles in people’s lives.
Highlights from the keynote (in chronological order):
Keynote by Jon Kleinberg of Cornell: metaphors of information travelling online include the library and the crowd
travels on-line via (pages, links, association) & crowd (memes, contagion) |
We can track the flow of information temporally, structurally, and in terms of content, says Jon Kleinberg
But are crowd & library metaphors dual: people trailblazing through documents or documents transmitted through networks of people?
It’s easier for algorithms to track items (quotes, photos, phrases) than stories. Q: Does that encourage pack journalism?
Tracking stories through networks reveals difficulties eg., natural language. But can track quotes to show news cycles
Kleinberg explains tracking essential elements of a story (like phrases) as they move through networks.
Half of all reshares on FB happen in large cascades (>500) |
Is virality predictable? You as poster rarely experience it w your content, but you as consumer see it often
One solution: reframe question as tracking rather than snapshot instant: what are the chances of this being shared further?
On whether something “goes viral”: “An important moment in a cascade is the moment it escapes the neighborhood of the root.”
My thoughts are on how narratives or stories in news, eg images of ‘typical’ migrants, circulate and are widely diffused
Troubling finding here seems to be that actual content has less impact on how likely something is to go viral
Kleinberg now moving from global discussion to local conversations via threads or friends. What makes them engaging, long, short?
Tracking the virality of memes: Speed is important. Pics that get the first 1k of shares fast are more likely to go viral after.
Content more likely to spread if strangers share it = good reason for journalists to make sure their networks are diverse
For a week in September 2008, Obama commandeered the news media with the line “lipstick on a pig,” says Jon Kleinberg
That would be a nice job description for a business card: Meme tracker.
Kleinberg compares memorable & unmemorable movie lines as lab setting to see what features contribute to memorable or viral text
Why do we like “these aren’t the droids you’re looking for” but not “you don’t need to see his identification”
Memorable quotes are sequences of unusual words with common part of speech patterns – application to headline writing?
Memorable quotes are less probable in their word choices but more probably in their sentence (part-of-speech) structure – Kleinberg.
Jon Kleinberg: Socially shared information – how to predict success stories? Try a sequence of unusual words.
Is there an algorithmic pattern to why a movie quote is memorable? Take “you had me at hello.” What’s so special about it?
“Memorable quotes need to have a certain portability” _Jon Kleinberg
Memorable quotes tend to be more ‘general': more present tense, indefinite articles, fewer third-person pronouns >> ‘portability’
Slogans in are like memorable quotes. “It just keeps going & going & going.” |
Is there an analogy of genetics for text: ‘fitness’ of text for sharing, mutation of ‘junk’ parts of quotes while core parts remain
Just as genes have functional parts and junk parts, so does text – Beautiful analysis of content prolongation
“Genetic analogies for memes are becoming increasingly rich” -Jon Kleingberg
Sharing on social networks: “Can cascades be predicted?” — paper by Jon Kleinberg et al
Great question: What are the features of content that make people STOP watching/reading/commenting?
Another great question: Are there computational ways to evaluate WHO gets to be quoted in the first place?
October 17th, 2013 §
Materials from the
structure your beat session that Stephanie Yiu, Connor Jennings and I presented. Examples
http://www.politifact.com/ (using Django for structure)
- people (politicians and now pudits)
- legislative bills
- true/false spectrum of fact checks
http://technical.ly/philly/directory/ (uses WordPress)
http://homicidewatch.org/ (uses Django for structure, WordPress for posts) Kaiser Family Foundation
has 30+ Custom Post Types that allow for faceting when you search their site:
They combined 10 years of content across 10 CMSes into WordPress:
The structured data allows them to generate these maps of State and Global Health Indicators.
http://kff.org/global-indicator/malaria-deaths/#map General types
How can WordPress help?
Custom post types
http://wp.smashingmagazine.com/2012/11/08/complete-guide-custom-post-types/ Custom meta boxes
http://wordpress.org/plugins/meta-box Custom fields
http://codex.wordpress.org/Custom_Fields Custom taxonomies
October 16th, 2013 §
Greetings! I’m here in Atlanta for the Online News Association’s
#ONA13 conference — my sixth consecutive ONA. Check out the stuff below, if it strikes your fancy.
Follow me on Twitter as @
greglinch and be sure to say hello there and in-person! I’m always happy to talk about ONA, the board, the ONA student committee and a smattering of other things:
data and coding
abstraction in art, poetry and music
milkshakes and French toast
Also, say hello to all the wonderful
Washington Post folks! Lightning talk pitch
Vote here for my lightning talk, which you can read the pitch for here. Workshops
I’m helping to teach a few workshops alongside some awesome folks like Stephanie Yiu, Connor Jennings and Jeremy Bowers. Come join the fun!
Using WordPress to Structure your Beat
Thursday, 2:45 – 3:45 p.m.
Digging through notebooks or scanning old articles isn’t the best way to find archival information. Structure your beat using the key subject matter as your foundation to track people, places, organizations, incidents, schools and more.
Editorial Workflows in WordPress
Friday, 11:45 a.m. – 12:45 p.m.
Learn how to use WordPress to control your copy flow, with plugins like Zone Manager, Google Docs and edit flow to wrangle emails.
Friday, 4:15 – 5 p.m.
From git to commit, root to branch, learn the best way to go from ack to zsh.
Join us Friday night at 9:30 at the Metro Diner Cafe for the third annual
officially unofficial ONA karaoke bash. It’s just a block down that street from the conference hotel. See you there!
June 22nd, 2013 §
Highlights from “Talking Tech: Learning the Language(s) of Web Developers — and Then Some Code” session I led at SPJ’s #jourcamp today.
[ View the story “SPJ #journcamp in DC: code for journalists session” on Storify]
View on Storify
May 7th, 2013 §
Below is a round-up of materials from
BarCamp News Innovation Philly 2013 discussions about measuring the impact of journalism. Thanks to Gino Canella and the Center for Public Interest Journalism for the videos! Also, check out Jim MacMillan’s roundup of posts from #bcni13.
Erika Owen’s post:
So you want to measure impact: BarCamp 2013
summary video of the session Brian Abelson, Erika and I led:
Full session video:
Temple University journalism chair Andrew Mendelson’s “Beyond metrics: Thinking more broadly about journalism’s impact” talk:
I live-tweeted the session and Storified some key points he shared:
[ View the story “#bcni13: Andrew Mendelson’s \”Beyond metrics\” talk” on Storify] #bcni13: Andrew Mendelson’s "Beyond metrics" talk
Temple University journalism chair Andrew Mendelson presented a talk called "Beyond Metrics: Thinking more broadly about the measurement of journalism impact (or building journalism’s theory of change)."
Greg Linch· Mon, May 06 2013 21:16:35
This session is being led by @andrewmendelson. #bcni13Greg Linch
He’s interested in public interest, investigative, accountability journalism. "Theory of change." — @andrewmendelson #bcni13Greg Linch
Two ideas: Public interest journalism goal to create informed & engaged citizens and "journalism as a curriculum" @andrewmendelson #bcni13Greg Linch
Characteristics: stories themed thematically, focus on problems + solutions, address civic values — @andrewmendelson #bcni13Greg Linch
Also: incl mobilizing info (how to get involved), incl opportunities for engmt and interaction, diverse sourcing — @andrewmendelson #bcni13Greg Linch
"We need to think of multidimensional aspects of change," @andrewmendelson citing my use of the term in bit.ly/GLimpact thx! #bcni13Greg Linch
Affective level (individ) shorter term: usability measures, attitudes to topic, civic agenda shift, attitude to org @andrewmendelson #bcni13Greg Linch
Cognitive level (individ) shorter term: issue knowledge lvl (free & cued recall), mobilizing knowledge, issue frame @andrewmendelson #bcni13Greg Linch
Conative/behaviorial level (individ): engmt, issue disc + research, mobilizing + voting intention, behav chg intnt @andrewmendelson #bcni13Greg Linch
Affective (individ) longer term: +/- public mood, cynicism, poltcl self-efficacy, social capital, credblty, divrsty @andrewmendelson #bcni13Greg Linch
>@andrewmendelson calls for A/B testing on news content… couldnt agree more but wonder if editors are on board.brian abelson
Cognitive level (individ) longer term: knowledge retention, cognitive complexity abt socl issues, knwldg abt commty @andrewmendelson #bcni13Greg Linch
Conative/behavioral level (individ) longer term: cmty groups activity lvl, readership, willing to support org 1/2 @andrewmendelson #bcni13Greg Linch
Conative/behavioral level (individ) longer term: netwrk lvl/diversity, voting, willing to disc, behavior change 2/2 @andrewmendelson #bcni13Greg Linch
Showing impact: A/B testing, matched sets btw cmtys, compr betw read vs not, comp attn lvls, content/attndnce links @andrewmendelson #bcni13Greg Linch
Societal level: issue-related behavior + policy change, civic activity, voting levels, more robust news ecosystem @andrewmendelson #bcni13Greg Linch
How do people wrestle with community issues and what are they’re looking for? asks @andrewmendelson #bcni13Greg Linch
You want to get beyond just knowledge Qs to the nature of knowledge Qs, says @andrewmendelson re NYT health quiz example. #bcni13Greg Linch