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Breaking News: How Push Notifications Alter the Fourth Estate | Small Group...

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Data & Society Research Institute

36 West 20th Street

11th Floor

New York, NY 10011

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Speakers: Yafit Lev-Aretz and Madelyn Sanfilippo

New media, both social and in terms of new technologies, such as push notifications, coupled with media mistrust and increasing scrutiny over fake news have placed the fourth estate in a tenuous position, both in terms of esteem and the potential for journalism to check power. Changes in news reporting and dissemination have greatly reshaped the information environments of an informed electorate within American democracy, yet many of the changes have not been critically explored. How have objectivity and sentiment changed in media representations over time? How have new forms of dissemination, such as push notifications influenced these representations? This paper specifically explores a case comparison between representations of two historically parallel breaking news stories, President Nixon firing special prosecutor Archibald Cox in 1973 and President Trump firing FBI Director James Comey in 2017, through computational textual analysis. While headlines and push notifications vary significantly by news providers, push notifications are similar across platforms in distinguishing characteristics such as emotionally-loaded and subjective language. Both of these are defining elements of fake and deceptive news and may potentially account for some of the media distrust in recent years.

Hosted by Andrew Selbst.


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Data & Society Research Institute

36 West 20th Street

11th Floor

New York, NY 10011

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