Project Ratio

The current functioning of the news media is not working as it should. Citizens often fail to consume factual information. They languish in echo chambers that reinforce existing preferences —factual or not—and fall into algorithmically-defined filter bubbles that limit access to the facts they need. Project Ratio seeks to improve our understanding of the information ecosystem that underpins democracy by mapping the content moving through. Currently, the project is studying the production of news - what publishers cover what news events? How much attention do they devote to different types of events? How do they frame their coverage? We do this by setting up a large scale webscraper which records the stories published by online news outlets every hour. We then run clustering over the resulting articles (~100k) to detect news events. We also map the articles to wikipedia to make use of wikipedia's category hierarchy to tag our articles with topics. Work done with Duncan Watts, Markus Mobius, and David Rothschild @ MSR and Mary Joyce, Melissa Ellamil, and Baird Howland @ Harmony Institute.