Computation & Journalism Symposium

Today I attended Day 1 of the Computation & Journalism Symposium at Columbia’s Brown Institute for Media Innovation.

Highlights included:

  • “Many people were exposed to rumor. Many exposed to the correction. Few were exposed to both.” Paul Resnik on RumorLens and following rumors/rebuttals on Twitter.

  • Loved iCheck/uCheck fact checking project out of Duke, University of Texas at Arlington, and Google Research. In particular, I liked the idea of slightly permuting a statement to see if still holds: a sort of “robustness” of a fact.

  • Rob Barry’s persistence in obtaining data was quite admirable, and a reminder of why investigative jouralism is so hard and so important. link

  • Meredith Broussard showed how just exposing how things actually work can be quite valuable in her work on books in schools in Philidelphia. Your takeaway could be that we need to buy more books so that students have a chance in our current system or that it’s bad that we’re in a situation in which the only way to pass standardized tests successfully is to buy millions of dollars of books each year sold by the test creators. Or something else. But, either way exposing what’s actually going on in detailed, easy-to-access facts, means that we can have a meaningful conversation about it.

  • “Stream tools” out of the NYT R&D lab looks pretty cool. I like that you can see “under the hood” in real time.

  • One journalist was calling in from a far-away place, and might have had to drop off the call if there were missles. It was an impressive reminder of the heroism and honor of journalism, and made it feel very real.

  • Want to be quotable? Use unique words in common sentance structures, according to Jon Kleinberg.

Written on October 24, 2014