Newsmap paper in Digital Journalism

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My paper on geographical news classification is finally published in Digital Journalism, a sister journal of Journalism Studies. In this paper, I not only evaluate Newsmap’s classification accuracy, but compare it with other tools such as Open Calais and Geoparser.io.

This paper presents the results of an evaluation of three different types of geographical news classification methods: (1) simple keyword matching, a popular method in media and communications research; (2) geographical information extraction systems equipped with named-entity recognition and place name disambiguation mechanisms (Open Calais and Geoparser.io); and (3) a semi-supervised machine learning classifier developed by the author (Newsmap). Newsmap substitutes manual coding of news stories with dictionary-based labelling in the creation of large training sets to extract large numbers of geographical words without human involvement and it also identifies multi-word names to reduce the ambiguity of the geographical traits fully automatically. The evaluation of classification accuracy of the three types of methods against 5000 human-coded news summaries reveals that Newsmap outperforms the geographical information extraction systems in overall accuracy, while the simple keyword matching suffers from ambiguity of place names in countries with ambiguous place names.

New paper on Russia’s international propaganda during the Ukraine crisis

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My paper on Russia’s international propaganda during the Ukraine crisis, The spread of the Kremlin’s narratives by a western news agency during the Ukraine crisis, is published in the Journal of International Communication. This is very timely, because people are talking about spread of “fake news”!

The description of the Ukraine crisis as an ‘information war’ in recently published studies seems to suggest a belief that the Russian government’s propaganda in the crisis contributed to Russia’s swift annexation of Crimea. However, studies focusing on Russia’s state-controlled media fail to explain how Russian’s narrative spread beyond the ‘Slavic world’. This study, based on quantitative and qualitative analyses of news coverage by ITAR-TASS, Reuters, the AP, and AFP over two years, reveals that Russian’s narratives were internationally circulated in news stories published by a western news agency. Although this by no means suggests that the western news agency was complicit in Russia’s propaganda effort, these news stories were published on the most popular online news sites, such as Yahoo News and Huffington Post. These findings highlight the vulnerability of today’s global news-gathering and distribution systems, and the rapid changes in relationships between states and corporations in the media and communications industry.