Online first: With computational journalism, a bumpy road to better crime reporting

The adoption of computational journalism in Los Angeles Times significantly changed the form and nature of the paper’s homicide reporting, write Mary Lynn Young and Alfred Hermida, both of University of British Columbia. Evolution of the service was riddled with complications due to lack of both expertise and resources, but the end result was a more informative and societally relevant form of homicide reporting.

According to the authors, the birthing of this new form of homicide reporting became possible only through a shift in the mindsets of the journalists involved. This shift was later reverted when the reporting process was further automated: as journalists could outsource the cold calculations and initial reporting to algorithms, they had nowhere else to go back to other than the soft, emotional side of a select few, high-impact stories.

The article is published ahead of print as a part of the journal Digital Journalism. It can be accessed online here (abstract public).

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