Research Tools: ProPublica, Google News Lab, Pitch Interactive, and Others Launch “Documenting Hate News Index”
From a Google News Lab Blog Post:
Hate crimes in America have historically been difficult to track since there is very little official data collected and what does exist, is incomplete and not very useful for reporters desperate to find out the facts. This led ProPublica — with the support of the Google News Lab — to form Documenting Hate earlier this year, a collaborative reporting project that aims to create a national database for hate crimes by collecting and categorizing news stories related to hate crime attacks and abuses from across the country.
Now, with ProPublica, we are launching a new machine learning tool to help journalists covering hate news leverage this data in their reporting.
[Note: Raw data is downloadable.]
The Documenting Hate News Index — built by the Google News Lab, data visualization studio Pitch Interactive and ProPublica — takes a raw feed of Google News articles from the past six months and uses the Google Cloud Natural Language API to create a visual tool to help reporters find the news happening all over the country, from Oklahoma to Florida, California to Kentucky. It’s a constantly-updating snapshot of data from this year, one which is valuable as a starting point to reporting on this area of news.
The new Index will help make this data easier to understand and visualize. It is one of the first visualisations to use machine learning to generate its content using the Google Natural Language API, which analyses text and extracts information about people, places, and events. In this case, it helps reporters by digging out locations, names and other useful data from the 3,000-plus news reports – the feed is updated every day, and goes back to February 2017.
The feed is generated from news articles that cover events suggestive of hate crime, bias or abuse — such as anti-semitic graffiti or local court reports about incidents. And we are monitoring it to look out for errant stories that slip in, ie searches for phrases that just include the word “hate” — it hasn’t happened yet but we will be paying close attention.
About Gary Price
Gary Price (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. He earned his MLIS degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. Price has won several awards including the SLA Innovations in Technology Award and Alumnus of the Year from the Wayne St. University Library and Information Science Program. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com. Gary is also the co-founder of infoDJ an innovation research consultancy supporting corporate product and business model teams with just-in-time fact and insight finding.