What can software tell us about media coverage and public opinion? An analysis of political news posts and audience comments on facebook by computerised method

Celine SONG, Yin ZHANG*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in book/report/conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

Abstract

In this exploratory study, we applied an automated linguistic analysis method (TextMind) to a social movement context by comparing a sample set of online news posts (N1 = 13,434) with audience comments to the posts (N2 = 1,998,095) on Facebook. The findings of this study revealed that there were, in fact, linguistic differences between the news posts by news media outlets and their corresponding audience comments. TextMind is able to detect such linguistic differences and their changes over time. Comparative findings suggest: (1) The linguistic choices of news reporting are affected by news media’s (or journalists’) political, ideological, and market orientations. (2) The language used by traditional newspapers is not necessarily more conservative or moderate in emotion than their online competitors. (3) Linguistic choices in news posts would change over periods of time. However, (4) the language patterns of news posts did not directly affect linguistic choices of audiences in opinion expression, which remained relatively consistent.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSocial Informatics - 9th International Conference, SocInfo 2017, Proceedings
EditorsGiovanni Luca Ciampaglia, Taha Yasseri, Afra Mashhadi
PublisherSpringer Verlag
Pages230-241
Number of pages12
ISBN (Print)9783319672557
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Event9th International Conference on Social Informatics, SocInfo 2017 - Oxford, United Kingdom
Duration: 13 Sep 201715 Sep 2017

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
Volume10540 LNCS
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349

Conference

Conference9th International Conference on Social Informatics, SocInfo 2017
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
CityOxford
Period13/09/1715/09/17

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • Computer Science(all)

User-Defined Keywords

  • Automated linguistic analysis
  • Facebook
  • Media coverage
  • Public opinion
  • TextMind

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