Nieman Foundation at Harvard
HOME
          
LATEST STORY
Should it stay or should it go: News outlets scramble to cover Britain’s decision to exit the European Union
ABOUT                    SUBSCRIBE
March 18, 2016, 12:36 p.m.
Screen Shot 2016-03-18 at 12.09.48 PM
LINK: medium.com  ➚   |   Posted by: Joseph Lichterman   |   March 18, 2016

It’s a common lament: Though the Internet provides us access to a nearly unlimited number of sources for news, most of us rarely venture beyond the same few sources or topics. And as news consumption shifts to our phones, people are using even fewer sources: On average, consumers access 1.52 trusted news sources on their phones, according to the 2015 Reuters Digital News Report, which studied news consumption across several countries.

To try and diversify people’s perspectives on the news, Jigsaw — the tech incubator, formerly known as Google Ideas, that’s run by Google’s parent company Alphabet — this week launched Unfiltered.News, an experimental site that uses Google News data to show users what topics are being underreported or are popular in regions around the world.

Screen Shot 2016-03-18 at 11.45.09 AM

Unfiltered.News’ main data visualization shows which topics are most reported in countries around the world. A column on the right side of the page highlights stories that are being reported widely elsewhere in the world, but aren’t in the top 100 stories on Google News in the selected country. In the United States yesterday, five of the top 10 underreported topics, unsurprisingly, dealt with soccer. In China, Barack Obama was the most undercovered topic.

In a post on Medium, Jigsaw’s Izzie Zahorian and CJ Adams explained the thinking behind Unfiltered.News:

Search engines, social media and news aggregators are great at surfacing information close to our interests, but they are limited by the set of topics and people we choose to follow. Even if we read multiple news sources every day, what we discover is defined by the languages we are able to read, and the topics that our sources decide to cover. Ultimately, these limitations create a “news bubble” that shapes our perspective and awareness of the world. We often miss out on the chance to connect and empathize with ideas beyond these boundaries.

Unfiltered.News also lets users explore how certain topics are being covered around the world. Merrick Garland, who Obama named as his nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday, has been dominating coverage in the States. By clicking on his name in Unfiltered.News, users can explore how his nomination, and the Republican Party’s refusal to vote on it, have been covered everywhere from Germany to Guyana.

Screen Shot 2016-03-18 at 12.13.18 PM

The site features a timeline, so users can see how coverage of each topic has changed over time, and it also uses Google Translate to translate headlines into one of 40 different languages. Unfiltered.News is also soon planning on launching a weekly email that will send subscribers news that’s optimized for their region.

And though the project launched this week, Jigsaw emphasized that the project is still “very much still a work in progress” that it is continuing to tweak and develop:

The viz is still in beta, so there are many known limitations at the moment, including the fact that topics (like Zika Virus) don’t map to larger concepts (like health or virus), and in some cases headlines/translations may be missing. Currently we only show the top 100 topics per country, so there may be topics that are in the news on a given day, but are not represented on the map.

Show tags Show comments / Leave a comment
 
Join the 15,000 who get the freshest future-of-journalism news in our daily email.
Should it stay or should it go: News outlets scramble to cover Britain’s decision to exit the European Union
Online, readers stayed up for the results: Peak traffic to BBC News, for instance, was around 4 a.m. GMT, and by 11 a.m. BBC.com had received 88 million page views.
Acast wants to get new audiences “in the podcast door” with more diverse shows and better data
With a new paid subscription option and its sights set on non English-speaking countries, the Swedish podcasting startup is looking for listeners (and shows) beyond the iTunes set.
“Medium’s team did everything”: How 5 publishers transitioned their sites to Medium
What happened when Pacific Standard, The Ringer, The Awl, The Bold Italic, and Femsplain moved their sites over to Medium.
What to read next
0What does it take to be a “full-service” digital journalism organization? Ask Discourse Media
“We’ve gone down lots of experimental rabbit holes.”
0Hot Pod: New podcasts, more existential public radio talk, and progress on intern wages
Plus: New big-picture views from Pew, Malcolm Gladwell hits the promo circuit, and more growth in branded podcasts.
0Hot Pod: Is the Stitcher deal a step toward a closed podcast ecosystem?
Plus: Midroll’s CEO steps down, Malcolm Gladwell goes audio, and how voice assistants (Siri, Alexa, Cortana) could impact NPR’s drive time programs.
Encyclo is our encyclopedia of the future of news, chronicling the key players in journalism’s evolution.
Here are a few of the entries you’ll find in Encyclo.   Get the full Encyclo ➚
Groupon
IRE/NICAR
Poynter Institute
InvestigateWest
New Jersey Newsroom
Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Quartz
Quora
Fwix
Las Vegas Sun
Chicago Tribune
USA Today