Computing Veracity – the Fourth Challenge of Big Data

Supporting the Use of User Generated Content in Journalistic Practice

A paper written jointly by researchers from the University of Warwick,, Lancaster University and the University of Siegen will be presented at the flagship Human-Computer Interaction conference, CHI, in Denver in May this year. The paper is entitled ‘Supporting the Use of User Generated Content in Journalistic Practice’ and documents how initial studies of journalistic work were used to inform the development of the Pheme Journalist Dashboard, how the dashboard was evaluated, and a range of important lessons that were learned. The paper concentrates in particular upon how User Generated Content is made use of and verified by journalists in real-world newsroom situations and makes the following key points:

  • Newsdesk work is highly contingent and this impacts significantly upon the ways in which journalists might make use of user generated content. Time pressure, organizational interests, specific national and legal frameworks, editorial preferences, the prospective audience, and story formats can all influence the way user generated content is handled.
  • Verification is an ongoing and contingent process as well. So it cannot be assumed that user generated content will be verified just once and left at that. It can be subject to further verification throughout journalistic workflows.
  • News production is often too fast-paced and volatile for tools such as dashboards to be used in anything more than a highly constrained fashion. This presents significant challenges for the designers of such tools because, for newsdesks, they have to deliver just the right information at just the right time.

Hoping that you will be able to join us in Denver or subsequently download the paper and provide us with your feedback. Here’s a link to it: pdf

UPDATE: This paper won a best paper award at CHI!

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