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DocLab Shorts 24 Nov at 19:45

A program of short stories that would never have existed without the internet.

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Panorama of news headlines

Newsmap (doclab-page) is an interactive online visualization that reflects the constantly changing landscape of global news stories that are collected by the Google News aggregator. Google News continuously crawls thousands of news sources from around the world and selects headlines

Newsmap (doclab-page) is an interactive online visualization that reflects the constantly changing landscape of global news stories that are collected by the Google News aggregator. Google News continuously crawls thousands of news sources from around the world and selects headlines for its homepage. The selection process is based on a computer algorithm that includes how often and on which sites a story appears elsewhere on the web. This reflects the tradition of Google’s web search mechanism, which relies heavily on the collective judgment of web publishers to determine which sites offer the most valuable and relevant information.

In Newsmap, current news headlines are mapped into a colorful visual space using the “tree map” visualization technique. The news stories that have the greatest number of related stories are given the biggest surface area. Different categories of news are given different colors: world news, national news, business, entertainment, etc.. News coverage can be monitored as it develops through the day, allowing visual comparison of media coverage at different points in time and in different countries. One can observe, for example, that on an average day, UK news outlets devote more attention to world news than US news outlets. On the other hand, a smaller proportion of UK news is devoted to sports, compared to the US. According to Newsmap’s creators, this visualization “is not thought to display an unbiased view of the news” but rather “to accentuate the bias of it”. (With thanks to Ben Schouten.)