Two projects from the Duke Reporters’ Lab were featured at the 2015 Computation + Journalism Symposium, which was held over the weekend at Columbia University in New York.
The two-day conference included presentations about Structured Stories NYC, an experiment that involved three Duke students covering events in New York, and a separate project that is exploring new ways to automate fact-checking.
Structured Stories, which uses a unique structured journalism approach to local news, was the topic of a presentation by David Caswell, a fellow at the Reynolds Journalism Institute.
Caswell explained Structured Stories in a presentation titled the Editorial Aspects of Reporting into Structured Narratives.
Structured Stories NYC is one of the boldest experiments of structured journalism because it dices the news into short events that can be reassembled in different ways by readers. The site is designed to put readers in charge by allowing them to adjust the depth of story coverage.
On the second day of the conference, Reporters’ Lab Director Bill Adair and Naeemul Hassan, a Ph.D. student in computer science at the University of Texas-Arlington, made a presentation that Adair said was “a call to arms” to automate fact-checking. It was based on a paper called The Quest to Automate Fact-Checking that they co-authored with Chengkai Li and Mark Tremayne of the University of Texas-Arlington, Jun Yang of Duke, James Hamilton of Stanford University and Cong Yu of Google.
Adair spoke about the need for more research to achieve the “holy grail” of fully automated, instant fact-checking. Hassan gave a presentation about ClaimBuster, a tool that analyzes text and predicts which sentences are factual claims that fact-checkers might want to examine.
The Reporters’ Lab is working with computer scientists and researchers from UT-Arlington, Stanford and Google on the multi-year project to explore how computational power can assist fact-checkers.