The emerging field of computational journalism offers hope for preserving the "watchdog" function of journalism, an essential element in the healthy functioning of democracy, says a report released today Monday by the DeWitt Wallace Center for Media and Democracy at Duke University. The report, "Accountability through Algorithm: Developing the Field of Computational Journalism," identified four target areas for innovation: more efficient data-analysis tools to allow reporters to discover patterns; a digital "dashboard" for journalists with open-source software reporting tools to spot anomalies in everyday information; new watchdog roles for readers; and collaborative research with social scientists, medical researchers and others.
Hamilton, a co-author of the report and director of the DeWitt Wallace Center. By using algorithms to make sense of data more quickly and efficiently, reporters can leverage technological capacity to continue investigative reporting at a lower cost.
As reliance on the Internet for news continues to increase, traditional business models for news media are failing to generate enough revenue to support investigative journalism. At the same time, the report notes, public and private data sources are expanding exponentially, computer scientists are rapidly creating algorithms to make sense of large-scale data sets, and social scientists are researching some of the same social problems that interest reporters.
The report intends to stimulate dialogue about ways to create convergence among these trends to lower the costs of investigative reporting. The report is a product of that workshop, whose participants represented the journalism, research and NGO communities.
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The center is mailing the page report to about opinion leaders, including editors at the largest U. In addition to leading development of the field of computational journalism, the center also is examining non-profit ownership models, targeted online advertising, partisan political information and barriers to information consumption for low-income populations.
For more information about the center, go to www. Contact: James T.
Hamilton Phone: Email: jayth duke. Enjoy art, science, theatre and music on campus this month.
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