News Bridge

News Bridge studied how the language that a media outlet – PBS’ Frontline – uses to promote its content influences the political diversity of its audience. In this project we tracked user engagement with tweets posted by Frontline over three years and built models that, given the tweet text, predict the political diversity of the audience. We then integrated the models into a web app that helped Frontline craft tweets engaging to a politically diverse audience, guided by the model predictions. While studies of political polarization on social media typically investigate the behaviors of individual users, New Bridge focused on the media outlets’ impact on audience fragmentation and developed tools that can help them reduce it. We believe this approach can be further developed and generalized into tools to help communicators (e.g., in public health) engage audiences across political, social, and/or cultural boundaries.

Program: Research Lab
Phase: January 2018 - September 2020
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