Abstract

Information about world events is disseminated through a wide variety of news channels, each with specific considerations in the choice of their reporting. Although the multiplicity of these outlets should ensure a variety of viewpoints, recent reports suggest that the rising concentration of media ownership may void this assumption. This observation motivates the study of the impact of ownership on the global media landscape and its influence on the coverage the actual viewer receives. To this end, the selection of reported events has been shown to be informative about the high-level structure of the news ecosystem. However, existing methods only provide a static view into an inherently dynamic system, providing underperforming statistical models and hindering our understanding of the media landscape as a whole.
In this work, we present a dynamic embedding method that learns to capture the decision process of individual news sources in their selection of reported events while also enabling the systematic detection of large-scale transformations in the media landscape over prolonged periods of time. In an experiment covering over 580M real-world event mentions, we show our approach to outperform static embedding methods in predictive terms. We demonstrate the potential of the method for news monitoring applications and investigative journalism by shedding light on important changes in programming induced by mergers and acquisitions, policy changes, or network-wide content diffusion. These findings offer evidence of strong content convergence trends inside large broadcasting groups, influencing the news ecosystem in a time of increasing media ownership concentration.

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