Culturomics 2.0: Forecasting large-scale human behavior using global news media tone in time and space

  • Kalev Leetaru University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Abstract

News is increasingly being produced and consumed online, supplanting print and broadcast to represent nearly half of the news monitored across the world today by Western intelligence agencies. Recent literature has suggested that computational analysis of large text archives can yield novel insights to the functioning of society, including predicting future economic events. Applying tone and geographic analysis to a 30–year worldwide news archive, global news tone is found to have forecasted the revolutions in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya, including the removal of Egyptian President Mubarak, predicted the stability of Saudi Arabia (at least through May 2011), estimated Osama Bin Laden’s likely hiding place as a 200–kilometer radius in Northern Pakistan that includes Abbotabad, and offered a new look at the world’s cultural affiliations. Along the way, common assertions about the news, such as “news is becoming more negative” and “American news portrays a U.S.–centric view of the world” are found to have merit.

Author Biography

Kalev Leetaru, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Kalev Leetaru is Senior Research Scientist for Content Analysis at the Institute for Computing in the Humanities, Arts, and Social Science at the University of Illinois and Center Affiliate of the National Center for Supercomputing Applications. Among his research areas are ?big data? analysis using massive text archives, and he has a book surveying the field of computational content analysis coming from Routledge in Fall 2011.
Published
2011-08-17
How to Cite
Leetaru, K. (2011). Culturomics 2.0: Forecasting large-scale human behavior using global news media tone in time and space. First Monday, 16(9). https://doi.org/10.5210/fm.v16i9.3663