Complexity Explorer Santa Few Institute

Foundations & Applications of Humanities Analytics (Spring 2023)

Lead instructor:

This course is no longer in session.

9.1 Guest Lecture: Julia Lefkowitz » Test Your Knowledge: Explanations

Q1. Which of the following is NOT used as a marker of tabloid journalism in Julia Lefkowitz's study?
A. Sensationalism.
B. Personalization.

C. Information-orientation.
D. All of the above, ie. none of the above are used.

Correct answer: (C)  Information-orientation is the term that Lefkowitz uses to operationalize the extent to which newspaper articles exhibit the properties associated with quality journalism, which stands at the opposite end of a spectrum of journalistic values from tabloid journalist. By contrast, sensationalism and personalization are the properties that Lefkowitz takes to be indicative of tabloid journalism.

Q2. Which of the following best describes the sampling technique of a "reconstructed week"?
A. For a given year, two weeks are randomly selected, and newspaper articles from those weeks are sampled. 
B. For a given year, dates corresponding to each day of the week, twice each, are randomly selected (e.g., two Mondays, two Tuesdays, etc.), and newspaper articles from those dates are sampled.
C. For a given year, one month is randomly selected, and then two weeks falling within that month are randomly selected, and newspaper articles from those weeks are sampled.
D. None of the above.

Correct answer: (B)   By randomly selecting two dates for each day of the week, researchers are able to generate two weeks' worth of data while accounting for variation both in what is typically covered at certain times of year and what is typically covered on certain days of the week (e.g., sports results on Sundays, quarterly earnings reports on Fridays, etc.). If we went with option A, and instead sampled two whole weeks at random, we would run the risk of randomly sampling weeks such as a low news week, such as around holidays, or the week of an especially dominant news story. In such a week, news coverage would be strongly skewed in a particular direction and would not be representative. One might have similar worries about option C; news in a particular month might also be heavily biased towards specific types of coverage. 

3. Which "digital native" publication did Julia Lefkowitz analyze as part of her study?

A. The Huffington Post
B. The Onion
C. The Daily Mail Online
D. None of the above.

Correct answer: (A)   The Onion is a satirical US newspaper and has its origins as a print newspapers. The Daily Mail Online would could be an interesting target for a study of UK journalistic values, but it is the online version of a print newspaper. This leaves option A, The Huffington Post, which was conceived of as a purely digital news outlet and thus the only "digital native" in the list.