How do algorithms affect the ways that people find news and what does it mean for the big picture?

POSTED BY SARA QUINN

“I

f you look at the research on how people get their news now: you often hear this phrase: ‘If news is important, news will find me’ – particularly for millennials,” said Kelly McBride to a large crowd at the SXSW Interactive Festival in Austin on Sunday. “But behind that statement is something really important: if news is going to find you, it’s going to find you because of an algorithm.”

McBride and Gilad Lotan, chief data scientist at Betaworks are keenly focused on the influence of technology in the way people make choices for news and information and what that means for journalism.

“Algorithms control who sees what on social-media sites such as Facebook and YouTube, through search engines such as Google and Bing, and even in defined news spaces such as The New York Times, with its lists of most-shared and most-commented features, and Yahoo News,” Kelly McBride, in a column about ethical issues surrounding the prominence of news and information.

Read more about the topic, discussion at SXSW and how the session was received in this story by The Guardian.

"The more we understand these unintended biases in these algorithms, the better we can write about them, and hold them accountable,” said Gilad Lotan, at the panel discussion with Kelly McBride at SXSW Interactive.

“The more we understand these unintended biases in these algorithms, the better we can write about them, and hold them accountable,” said Gilad Lotan, at the panel discussion with Kelly McBride at SXSW Interactive.