Media & data-driven technologies

Today, news media use open data and feedback from its audience. How representative is this digital audience of the general public? And should contributors be paid or how should they – if at all - be credited?

From the left: Heidi Mork Lomell, Ståle Grut, Nanna Bonde Thylstrup, J. Peter Burgess, Mareile Kaufmann, Gisle Hannemyr & Christian Katzenbach. Photo: Ystehede/UiO

Technology news have a new audience. They are no longer for tech geeks only, but have become part of the mainstream. In addition, there has been a rise of automated content editing and an increase in digital data-driven investigative journalism. More and more news stories make use of open and at times commercial datasets, both of which pose different kinds of challenges. These were just some of the trends discussed at the first Critical Data Network (CDN) workshop this fall.

NRKbeta – a sandbox for technology development

First in a series, this workshop organized by the CDN was dedicated to media and data-driven technologies.

Ståle Grut from NRKbeta presented how they communicate with audiences through websites, newsletters and social media. He explained how they have inspired new formats such as NRK’s slow-TV with productions such as Hurtigruten minutt for minutt (Hurtigruten minute by minute), and also SOME-savvy series such as SKAM.

Grut mentioned examples of new avenues for user interaction. For instance, publishing program material with a Creative commons license allows people to re-mix material from NRKbeta productions. This enables the audience to come up with ideas, which again inspire news media development.

Dilemmas in data-driven news media

“The use of audience interaction and open data for journalism raises a series of questions”, says the head of the network, Mareile Kaufmann.

“Can open data be considered sensitive or is its use for journalism always justified? How far should the news media go to obtain user-generated information? Should news media credit user-generated data, or is it more important to anonymize this information?”

Entertainment news have pushed the envelope when it comes to innovate uses of data technologies. For example, algorithms are now deployed to edit stories. We see the rise of machine news, for example sport results, such as soccer goals, can now be identified by artificial intelligence and no longer need to be written by journalists.

“We will see this happen in other parts of the news media,” says Kaufmann. “The question is what role data and algorithms will play in the future of journalism. Will these trends follow the principle of entertainment value - meaning clicks, likes and money - or will they create styles of editing that produce new insights or analyses?”  

The next CDN meeting will explore the use of digital data in modern medicine and brain research.

The CDN is funded by the Research Council of Norway.

By Per Jørgen Ystehede
Published Oct. 3, 2018 2:57 PM - Last modified Oct. 3, 2018 3:36 PM