Eyeing Our Way Across the News Spectrum

News Spectrum ExperimentOne of the news apps on my Android phone that I use every now and then — called SmartNews — presented me the other day with a view of a feature they are developing (maybe? it wasn’t clear) that shows news stories as seen across the politically-slanted media spectrum. There was a toggle at the bottom of the screen, and as you moved it, the news filters changed. The screenshot is a collage of me, moving the toggle from left to right, blue to red.

Now, how they determine which is which (which media leans blue and which leans red) wasn’t clear to me (it’s no doubt some algorithm, which brings up all sorts of thorny issues about bias and data mining), but I did find it interesting to view the headlines from news organizations in this manner. This particular day, we were in the mist of the dumb hurricane in Alabama story.

The New York Times used to do a feature that analyzed news from the Left and the Right, too, bringing in different voices through excerpts, but I don’t see it anymore, and that’s too bad. I enjoyed reading what my own political leanings normally would have had me avoid.

If we are ever to break out of these increasingly smaller bubbles, we’re going to need to see the larger world of political views.

I haven’t seen this feature in this news app return, so I don’t know if it is just a beta that I stumbled on or what.

Peace (in blue and red and in-between),


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