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Potential of algorithmic news recommenders

Patricia Cruz

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The study “When Algorithms Recommend What’s New(s): New Dynamics of Decision-Making and Autonomy in Newsgathering” by Hannes Cools, Baldwin van Gorp and Michaël Opgenhaffen from KU Leuven, Belgium studied the new dynamics of algorithmic news recommenders (ANR) and how they influence the newsworkers’ role. 

Algorithmic news recommenders (ANR) have been developed over the last ten years by newsroom innovation labs. They suggest and summarise news. The expected positives from ANRs are new angles to news stories and more interaction with the audience, while suggested negatives are a decrease in the quality of news and more polarization.

The topic of newsworker-ANR interaction has been studied previously. According to Milosavljević & Vobič (2019,) the interactions can enhance or complicate the performance of their work packages in newsgathering. The topic is relevant, since autonomy is key feature of newsroom work, and ANRs can have an impact on it.

The authors used a snowballing method of finding interviewees for the study among American, British and German newspapers. A total 16 interviewees were interviewed. The youngest interviewee was 25 and the oldest 61, with the average being 34.6. Nearly all had a master’s degree and backgrounds in journalism, computer science, or both. Due to Covid-19, the interviews were conducted on Skype.

All of the interviewees understand why ANR is used in the news-gathering phase, but some saw ANR as useless in daily decision making. The interviewees highlighted the fact that they use ANR during a “news peak” and are more inclined to hand over a part of their decision-making to ANR. The interviewees used the metaphor of “shovel” or “assistant” to refer to ANR.

There exists a dichotomy that the authors term “trust-distrust dichotomy”, with some interviewees trusting ANR and others viewing it with distrust. It was pointed out that newsworkers rely on ANR much even without understanding it, and allowing it to define what is newsworthy and thus leading to what was called a “lazy attitude” to newswork. To discourage blind faith, some innovation labs newsworkers place disclaimers on the ANR platform.

The distrustful group cited a fear of losing autonomy in the newswork, and all the interviewees agreed on the importance of having a human in the loop, and some make a distinction between the lower-level work of categorizing done by the ANR and the final decisions made by the newsworker. 

The analysis finds that there is “positive acceleration effect” that due to ANRs news leads can offer a greater diversity in regards to topics that are put on the agenda. It also seems that if ANR is given a partial or complete autonomy, it leads to distrust of the tool. 

The authors caution that the research has limitations in how generalizable it is to the news editorial staff, as the interviewees were members of newsroom innovation labs. These workers, as previous research has indicated, are more tech-savvy than the average. The authors suggest using Grounded Theory ethnography to study the implementation of ANRs.

The study “When Algorithms Recommend What’s New(s): New Dynamics of Decision-Making and Autonomy in Newsgathering” by Hannes Cools, Baldwin van Gorp and Michaël Opgenhaffen is in Media and Communication. (Open access).

Picture: Untitled by Markus Spiske.

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Journalism

The Top Journalism Websites for News and Analysis”

Alice Trout

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Journalism plays an essential role in keeping the public informed about current events and issues. The internet has made it easier than ever to access a wide range of news and analysis from reputable sources. Here are some of the best journalism sites for keeping up-to-date on the latest happenings around the world:

  1. The New York Times (www.nytimes.com) – The New York Times is a well-respected newspaper that has been in operation for over 150 years. It offers a wide range of news and analysis on politics, business, technology, and culture.
  2. The Washington Post (www.washingtonpost.com) – The Washington Post is another well-respected newspaper that has been in operation for over 150 years. It offers in-depth coverage of national and international news, as well as commentary on politics, business, and more.
  3. The Guardian (www.theguardian.com) – The Guardian is a British newspaper that offers a wide range of news and analysis on politics, business, technology, and culture. It has a strong reputation for investigative journalism and has won numerous awards.
  4. BBC News (www.bbc.com/news) – BBC News is the online news division of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). It offers a wide range of news and analysis on international, national, and regional events.
  5. Al Jazeera (www.aljazeera.com) – Al Jazeera is a Qatari news organization that offers a wide range of news and analysis on international, national, and regional events. It has a strong reputation for its coverage of the Middle East and North Africa.
  6. Reuters (www.reuters.com) – Reuters is a global news organization that offers a wide range of news and analysis on international, national, and regional events. It has a strong reputation for its coverage of business and financial news.
  7. CNN (www.cnn.com) – CNN is a global news organization that offers a wide range of news and analysis on international, national, and regional events. It has a strong reputation for its coverage of breaking news and live events.
  8. The Economist (www.economist.com) – The Economist is a British magazine that offers a wide range of news and analysis on international, national, and regional events, with a focus on economics and politics.
  9. The Atlantic (www.theatlantic.com) – The Atlantic is an American magazine that offers a wide range of news and analysis on international, national, and regional events, with a focus on politics, culture, and technology.
  10. ProPublica (www.propublica.org) – ProPublica is a non-profit organization that focuses on investigative journalism. It has a strong reputation for its coverage of politics, business, and social issues.

Guest blogging is a highly effective marketing strategy that every business should be utilizing. By purchasing PR publications, you can increase traffic and establish authority.

These are just a few examples of the many great journalism websites that are available. Whether you’re looking for breaking news, in-depth analysis, or a particular perspective on current events, these sites are an excellent starting point.

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Journalism

The Ethics of Healthcare Advertising: Balancing the Right to Information with the Risk of Deception

Alice Trout

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Healthcare advertising has the potential to inform and educate the public about important medical treatments and products, but it must be done in an ethical and responsible manner. On one hand, the public has the right to access information about healthcare options that may improve their quality of life or save their lives. On the other hand, there is a risk that healthcare advertising could deceive or mislead consumers, leading to negative consequences for both the companies and the public.

One issue with healthcare advertising is the promotion of prescription drugs for off-label use. Off-label use refers to the use of a drug for a purpose that has not been approved by the regulatory agency, such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States. While it is not illegal for doctors to prescribe drugs for off-label use, it is illegal for pharmaceutical companies to promote drugs for off-label use. This is because the FDA has not determined that the drug is safe and effective for the unapproved use.

Unfortunately, some pharmaceutical companies have been known to engage in off-label promotion in order to increase sales. This can be harmful to patients, as they may be prescribed a drug that has not been thoroughly tested for the specific condition they are suffering from. In some cases, off-label use of a drug can even be dangerous.

Another issue with healthcare advertising is the use of exaggerated or misleading claims. This can include making false or unproven statements about the effectiveness of a drug or treatment, or downplaying the risks and side effects. Such practices can lead to consumers making informed decisions about their healthcare, and can also harm the reputation of the healthcare industry as a whole.

In order to strike a balance between the right to information and the risk of deception, it is important for both regulatory agencies and the healthcare industry to prioritize ethical practices in healthcare advertising. This can include measures such as strict oversight by regulatory agencies, clear guidelines for the approval and review of advertising materials, and campaigns to educate the public about how to evaluate and interpret healthcare advertising. By taking these steps, we can ensure that the public has access to accurate and reliable information about healthcare options, while also protecting against deceptive practices that can harm both consumers and the healthcare industry.

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Journalism

Supporting Startup Founders’ Mental Health: The Importance of Prioritizing Well-Being in the Fast-Paced Startup World

Alice Trout

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As the startup world continues to thrive and grow, it’s important to recognize that the fast-paced, high-stress environment can take a toll on the mental health of founders and employees. In fact, research has shown that entrepreneurs are at a higher risk for mental health issues such as anxiety and depression compared to the general population.

One key factor that contributes to this risk is the pressure to succeed and the fear of failure that can come with starting and running a business. Additionally, the long hours and lack of work-life balance that are often associated with the startup world can also contribute to mental health challenges.

It’s essential that startups prioritize the mental health of their founders and employees, not only for the well-being of the individual, but also for the overall success of the business. Research has shown that mental health issues can negatively impact productivity and decision-making, which can have serious consequences for a company.

There are a few steps that startups can take to support the mental health of their team members:

  1. Encourage open communication and create a safe space for employees to talk about their mental health concerns.
  2. Offer resources such as counseling and mental health benefits to employees.
  3. Foster a culture of self-care by promoting healthy habits such as regular exercise and proper nutrition.
  4. Set boundaries and encourage work-life balance to prevent burnout.

For those not ready to go to the doctor or looking for support, mental health startups Europe offer help through apps.

It’s important to remember that mental health is just as important as physical health, and it’s crucial that startups prioritize the well-being of their founders and employees. By taking steps to support the mental health of their team, startups can create a positive and healthy work environment that leads to success for both the business and its employees.

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