From Nuisance to News Sense: Conclusion, Limitations and Ethic, and References

20 May 2024

This paper is available on arxiv under CC 4.0 license.


(1) Jeremiah Milbauer, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh PA, USA (email: {jmilbaue | sherryw};

(2) Ziqi Ding, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh PA, USA (e-mail: {ziqiding | zhijinw}

(3) Tongshuang Wu, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh PA, USA.

7 Conclusion

We presented a novel framework for sensemaking within a cluster of documents. We applied this framework to news articles, building NEWSSENSE, an interactive tool that links claims within one document to supporting or contradicting evidence across the entire document cluster. NEWSSENSE assists readers by helping them to understand the connections and perspectives across many documents. Readers can thus attain a more comprehensive understanding of a given subject, while avoiding the dangers of information overload. Crucially, NEWSSENSE provides a framework for reference-free fact verification, which is essential in domains such as the news where events evolve in real time, because a knowledge source for factual grounding may not be available.

Our work expands the growing body of literature on natural language processing applications to document-level sensemaking by demonstrating the utility of automatically generated cross-document links, as well as the application of sensemaking tools to the news reading experience.

Limitations and Ethics

NewsSense falls within the genre of computer science literature that aims to solve problems such as misinformation. A broad critique of this literature is that it falls within the realm of techno-solutionism, in the sense that we seek to develop technological solutions to problems that are potentially social in origin, and perhaps better solved with a socially-oriented approach.

However, we posit that because the problem of misinformation propagation and newsmedia overload are both enabled by technology, we do have a responsibility to explore the ability of technological systems to address these challenges. Unlike approaches that involve traditional fact verification, the reference-free approach of NewsSense does not take on the role of deciding what is true and what is not; it simply helps users understand the context of each claim, and make their own decisions.

Beyond this critique, we have also understand there are potential obstacles to the use of a system like NewsSense. The people who choose to use a system such as NewsSense may already be predisposed to consider and critically evaluate diverse perspectives in the news; NewsSense may not be adopted by who needs it most. We also consider that the highlighted links may clutter the reading experience, but we believe this concern is mitigated by the fact that news websites are already quite cluttered (by ads, sponsored links, and article thumbnails) and that users found the highlights helpful in identifying the key components of the articles.


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