Journalism Is Software

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Cokley, John
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Barkho, Leon
Lugo-Ocando, Jairo Alfonso
Jamil, Sadia
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2024
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Abstract

At all stages of the editorial supply chain, journalists (reporters, editors, photographers and designers) use filters, ranking and decision trees to decide how to gather, construct and present data from the real world in ways that appeal to specific audiences. This chapter uses the method of reverse engineering to compare a range of the most common human-based, international journalistic routines and practices with common operations, filters and decisions (functions and programmes, policies and values) found in fundamental computer programming (algorithms and code) and the internationally recognised Software Engineering Body of Knowledge (SWEBOK). Foundational and contemporary literature is reviewed to establish and discuss these paradigms. This chapter first establishes that journalism is software and then discusses theoretical and practical implications, including in the domain of artificial intelligence. It concludes with a range of suggested next steps for users interested in developing this model of a sector of society which has variously been described as an art, a craft, a trade and a practice, but only rarely as something engineered.

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Handbook of Applied Journalism: Theory and Practice
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Cokley, J, Journalism Is Software, Springer Handbooks of Political Science and International Relations, 2024, 1st, pp. 21-42
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