a citizen view on the credibility of machine written news

The automation of journalism has entered a new phase with the rise of computer-written news articles. Although algorithms were already being developed since the late nineties (Theune, Klabbers, Odijk, De Pijper & Krahmer, 1998), news companies just recently started to work with them. They started to publish automatically written news generated on statistical information and a set of stock phrases without human interference.

Companies like Narrative Science and Arria are growing rapidly. Graig Silverman, award-winning journalist and Adjunct Faculty at the Poynter Institute, believes these new techniques will approve accuracy and journalism quality. Van Dalen (2012) states that journalists see the advantages of an algorithm as an unbiased reporter.

But do newsreaders agree on this? Do citizens think automatically generated news stories are as trustworthy as human written articles?

In this research we focus on the perceived credibility of a citizen in relation to the creator of a news item. To be more specific: we want to find out if there is a difference in the perceived credibility of citizens towards a news article written by a computer or journalist.

This research currently takes place under the supervision of Hille van der Kaa. Please contact Hille (h.a.j.vdrkaa@uvt.nl) if you like to collaborate or know more about this research.