CogMedia.|

Investigating the mind-media connection

Welcome to the Cognition and Media (CogMedia) project, where you'll find aggregation and analysis of newsfeeds from major media headlines. Our research goal is to link cognition in news consumers to large-scale trends in media. Hosted by the Communicative Mind Laboratory in the Department of Communication at UCLA. CogMedia includes a large open database, and you can get lots of data for free through our API initiative, allowing you to import straight into R.

Data science + NLP.

Use our API free of charge to learn some tricks in R.

Browse headlines.

Click here to peruse our database using our public interface.

Research approach.

Our research approach can be called "cognitive analytics." Think of how consumers read the news. It's literally mental. We are testing the hypothesis that subtle but measurable cognitive factors are useful in understanding what consumers read and share. These cognitive factors include subtle aspects such as accessibility, comprehensibility, and even bias. Subtle aspects of human mental processing could help us to understand media data, from the level of individual consumers, to more collective levels, such as the distribution of news themes, perhaps even the behavior of major newsmedia.

We are developing cognitive metrics based on newsmedia headlines, such as how simplified or complex a news story's language is, or how recognizable a recent story might be to a reader. The CogMedia project aims to bridge these cognitive metrics to broader collective patterns seen in newsmedia stories. What predicts a story's becoming viral? What explains the thematic patterns in news stories? How do cognitive variables relate to partisanship and controversy, in the manner that stories are composed and disseminated?

Working papers.

The Co-Mind Laboratory uses the CogMedia database to conduct specific research projects, linking cognitive processes to newsmedia consumption and social media metrics. We will share active research projects here through working papers.

Dale, R. (2020, August 6). The CogMedia project: Open data and tools for linking cognitive science and mass media. OSF Preprints. doi: 10.31219/osf.io/z69ta.

Luna, J. M., Alegria, O., & Dale, R. (2020, July 31). Cognitive fluency and the spread of news on social media. Poster presented at the 42nd Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society.

Team.

Rick Dale
PI, coder. Faculty @ UCLA, Department of Communication

Sofia Cervantes
UX consultant. BS, Cognitive & Information Sciences, UC Merced

Jason Luna
Researcher, cognition. Current undergraduate @ UCLA

Jess Yerkes
Researcher, networks. BA, Communication, UCLA

API.

CogMedia's core data is available for download in throttled buckets. In order to obtain a free API key, please email rdale@ucla.edu. The documentation for the API is on GitHub here.

https://github.com/racdale/cogmedia-api

With the API, you can summon data right inside R. The result is a data frame over which you can apply your favorite tools (tidyverse, etc.). Illustrations are on the API GitHub repository above. Batch data also available upon request.

Each story is based only on the RSS feed of the news item. We obey all copyright rules of the news source. However we tag news stories with a variety of information from social media metrics. Each story record includes:

  • source News organization (e.g., New York Times).
  • title Title of the story.
  • description Text associated with story description in RSS.
  • alexa_rank An Alexa rank of the source.
  • partisanship A partisanship score, based on AllSides.com.
  • social_score An approximate rate of Twitter sharing shortly after story release.
  • url Full URL to the story's source.

Our database contains...
587,184
news stories, since mid 2019.

Past week of stories, by source...

ABC News
177
BBC
224
Boston Globe
32
Boston Herald
299
Business Insider
644
Chicago Tribune
133
CNN
617
Daily Beast
203
Fortune
175
Fox News
184
LA Times
133
NBC News
234
New York Times
593
NPR
175
NY Post
487
Reason.com
35
Reuters
1,742
ScienceDaily
26
The Atlantic
53
The Economist
8
The Federalist
99
The Independent UK
1,421
The Nation
47
USA Today
485
Wall Street Journal
62
Washington Post
69
Washington Times
542