Notes Towards an Analysis of Computational Journalism
Anderson, C. W.
This article advances a critical research approach to computational journalism. By “computational journalism” the article refers to the increasingly ubiquitous forms of algorithmic, social scientific, and mathematical forms of newswork adopted by many 21st century newsrooms and touted by many educational institutions as “the future of news.” By “critical approach,” the article endorses a research model that brackets, at least temporarily, many of the current industry concerns with the practical usability of newsroom analysis. The bulk of the article outlines a series of six lenses through which such a critical approach to computational journalism might be carried out. Four of these lenses are drawn from Schudson’s classic typology of the sociology of news — economic, political, cultural, and organizational approaches. In addition, the author adds Bordieuean field approaches and technological lenses to the mix. In each instance, the author discusses how particular approaches might need to be modified in order to study computational journalism in the digital age.