Media coverage is not an exemption from technological improvements. The advent of the internet and drastic advancements in technology drastically affected it as well. Today, it is not anymore limited to the big three: newspaper, radio, and television. Rather, it is also dominating the World Wide Web.
Look around. You will rarely see a person not holding a laptop, tablet, or PDA device. Everyone is posting activities of Facebook. They post images on Instagram. They message on Viber. The ink on everyone’s fingers was replaced by a terrible case of Blackberry thumb disease. Media coverage, including. Newspapers are publishing online. TV news segments allow playback on their websites and on YouTube. Radio have online streaming.
This coverage transforms to electronic forms rapidly and consistently. This inspires developers to create newer, better tools and software. They make media coverage management and analysis easier than ever. From database to real-time news delivery, the media always come with different measurements and automation tools. The question is, are computers trying to replace people when it comes to media coverage?
Media analysts may take hours to days in order to quantify and sort through a stack of coverage. However, with a media analysis program, everything is instantaneous. There is one troubling aspect though. Should the tone of media coverage be a subject of software as well?
The tone or sentiment refers to how a person, stakeholder, organization, or issue is portrayed in the published stories. It oftentimes comes in three categories: positive, neutral, or negative. Media analysts can see through a story. They can determine different human quirks in media coverage. For instance, sarcasm and irony to filter stories out. Surprisingly, software developers are quantifying these emotions in order to quantify the tone of coverage.
Software cannot ‘feel’ the emotion behind media coverage
Yes, there may studies which show that different emotions can be quantified using varying meridians. However, this process takes a long time. Software is not capable of analyzing every reader to quantify the tone of media coverage. This is in relation to what the reader felt during and after reading a news article. There are developers who claim that their software can analyze the tone. But, how accurate can they be? Different people will experience varying emotions. A news story will have a diverse impact for different people. It is too impossible for a computer program to accurately quantify the tone of media coverage. This is simply because it cannot feel the emotion of both the writer and the reader.
True, news is about delivering facts. It is not a question that software can help in detecting the hard, real facts. However, news is also about provoking a reaction from its recipients. Media analysts are far more capable in analyzing the tone of media coverage. They are humans. They, too, can feel the complex emotions of a human being.
Tone of media coverage is too subjective
Some people would argue that a tone is very subjective. That is why certain quantification is necessary to determine tone without any bias. This argument does not answer the question. Is the tone of media coverage determine by a computer program? Should be left with media analysts.
Long before the automation of analyzing it became popular, media analysts already created measures to skewing the tones of news. They created standardized scorecards to analyze each news story. These scorecards do not quantify emotions. However, it surely takes them into consideration. They also consider the subjectivity of media coverage. This is what makes them effective.
One of the most common scorecards is the C.B.S. scorecard. Instead of measuring positive, negative and neutral, it measures critical, balanced, and supportive. It uses comprehensive rating criteria of -5 to +5 to determine the tone of media coverage.