Norwegian version

The Role of Algorithmic Intermediaries in Shaping Attention to News

Nicholas Diakopoulos is an Assistant Professor in Communication Studies and Computer Science at Northwestern University.

As people seek news information online, platforms like Google, Facebook, Apple, Amazon and other news aggregators mediate and influence a huge portion of human attention, acting as algorithmic gatekeepers and curators. But as private platforms, there are few public details about how the algorithms of these information intermediaries serve to drive public exposure and salience of news information. What types and sources of news are made available and prioritized, and are there diverse perspectives represented in the algorithmic curation of major platforms? This talk will address these questions by presenting the results of several audit studies of algorithmic news intermediaries.

These studies shed light on the role that intermediaries play in the diversity of news exposure based on source and ideology, and quantify the impact of news exposure on human attention. Implications for platform power, governance, and the economic health and competitiveness in the larger news ecosystem will be discussed. 

This event is a focus seminar presented by the the Digital Journalism Research Group. 

  • Bio

    Nicholas Diakopoulos is an Assistant Professor in Communication Studies and Computer Science (by courtesy) at Northwestern University where he directs the Computational Journalism Lab. He received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from the School of Interactive Computing at Georgia Tech where he was involved in the early development of the field of Computational Journalism. His research is in computational and data journalism with active projects on algorithmic accountability and transparency, automation and algorithms in news production, and social media in news contexts. He is author of the book, Automating the News: How Algorithms are Rewriting the Media, from Harvard University Press.