€3.9m data journalism project to build the tech to fight fake news

30 Apr 2018

Image: REDPIXEL.PL/Shutterstock

DCU is to lead a €3.9m European research project to see how data science and other digital technologies can bolster journalism’s abilities in the era of fake news.

With social media flooding us with information from multiple sources – many of which are of dubious origin – it is more important than ever that there is technology out there capable of filtering through the information to put together stories based on cold, hard facts.

So, it will be welcome news to newshounds in Europe and elsewhere that a new €3.9m European research project called Journalism and Leadership Transformation (JOLT) is to be launched to investigate technical, business and ethical aspects of contemporary journalism.

Funded for the next four years, the project will be led by Dublin City University’s (DCU) Institute for Future Media and Journalism (FuJo) and will see 15 PhD researchers hired to conduct the research.

All of these researchers will be based in academic and industry environments across Europe, including The Irish Times, BBC and the European Journalism Centre.

The 15 individual projects will focus on a number of disciplines, including journalism itself, data science, computer engineering and social science.

Among the projects are new protocols and storytelling form for video, virtual reality and augmented reality, drawing on support from the Insight Centre for Data Analytics.

Focusing on the news aspect, machine learning and computer science will be used to find better ways of mining online multimedia data, audience analytics and data visualisation.

Other projects will examine the political and ethical implications of contemporary journalism, including the ethics of using user-generated content.

“At a critical time for journalism, DCU FuJo pulled together a multinational team to explore new ways of supporting journalism and its civic functions,” said FuJo director and JOLT project coordinator Dr Jane Suiter.

“We’re delighted to bring this major project to DCU and look forward to working with the best academic and industry partners across Europe. Beyond research, the project includes many outreach events, which will let us share new knowledge with the news industry in Ireland and beyond.”

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic