NewsMaker is a web app that prompts users to create their own favorite story out of a set of news snippets and to reflect upon their own judgment on their news sources and their content. In David Anderton-Yang’s Master Thesis “Countering Source Bias in News”, 67 participants across the political spectrum indicated their trust towards a set of media outlets and were instructed to create their most objective story from a set of snippets sourced from real news articles around a given topic. While 90% of the people indicated that they believed in creating an objective article, left leaning participants predominantly chose snippets from sources they indicated they would not trust. This rather surprising result prompted some reactions, such as “I guess Breitbart isn’t as whacko as I thought it was.”, “Given how liberal I am, I am surprised that the sources I used were from relatively conservative sources. My first reaction was – How did I do this and how did this happen?”, “… maybe news sources are not all that different from each other. That’s a bit interesting to think about.” [1]. The results of Anderton-Yang’s experiment suggest that there is a disconnect between the sources we trust and the content we believe to be objective. However, the cause of this phenomenon has not been explored yet. David and I digitized the experiment in November 2019 and the final interface is illustrated in the Figures below.

[1] David Anderton-Yang. Countering source bias in news. Master’s thesis, Massachusetts
Institute of Technology, August 2019.

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