What’s In The News

NewspaperHow often have we heard or said "what’s in the news?". We all might answer the question differently depending on what our particular source of news is. Some us depend on the radio (AM, FM, or XM), some on TV, and others on the Internet. Whatever our source of news might be, I think the bigger question is whether the interpretations of the news that we get are accurate and unbiased. Some of us believe what we read or hear and others are more skeptical. There is good reason for the latter.
A few months ago I was in my car driving home from a board meeting in Binghamton, NY at Knovel Corporation. There was a live interview being broadcast with a major government leader. I don’t comment on politics on patrickWeb and I am not trying to make a political point. The next morning I picked up the New York Times from my porch and read the front page. There was an account of the interview I had listened to. What it had to say was quite different than what I had heard. Not in nuances but in the specific things said there were dramatic differences. I can’t say if the differences were politically motivated or if it was just the process — from reporter to editor to senior editor to editor-at-large. All I know for certain is that what was reported was not what was said in the interview. That was the turning point for me when I decided that my new primary source of news would be Google News.

A Novel Approach to News

Google News presents information extracted from approximately 4,500 news sources around the world. They use various algorithms to present the most relevant news first, organized by category. Topics are updated continuously throughout the day — you see new stories each time you check the page. Google has developed an automated grouping process for Google News that pulls together related headlines and photos from thousands of sources worldwide — enabling you to see how different news organizations are reporting the same story. You pick the item that interests you, then go directly to the site which published the account you wish to read. You are not tied to a single source of the news.
Google News is highly unusual in that it offers a news service compiled solely by computer algorithms without human intervention. While the sources of the news vary in perspective and editorial approach, their selection for inclusion is done without regard to political viewpoint or ideology. Sometimes this leads to unusual or even contradictory groupings, but it is exactly this variety that makes Google News a valuable source of information on the important issues of the day for me.
One of the nice features is that you can trace the history of a developing issue by clicking the “sort by date” function on the page containing all reports on a given topic. This will arrange the stories in chronological order, with the most recent report placed first.
The main headlines on the Google News homepage are selected entirely by computer algorithms, based on many factors including how often and on what sites a story appears elsewhere on the web. It is very similar to the approach that Google uses for web searches. Much like the Google search relies on the collective judgment of web publishers to determine which sites offer the most valuable and relevant information, Google News relies on the editorial judgment of online news organizations to determine which stories are most deserving of inclusion and prominence on the Google News page.
It isn’t perfect, but I like the Google News model very much.
Note: Some of this content was extracted and then edited directly from the Google News site.