Automating Quantitative Narrative Analysis of News Data

Saatviga Sudhahar, Roberto Franzosi, Nello Cristianini; JMLR W&CP 17:63-71, 2011.


We present a working system for large scale quantitative narrative analysis (QNA) of news corpora, which includes various recent ideas from text mining and pattern analysis in order to solve a problem arising in computational social sciences. The task is that of identifying the key actors in a body of news, and the actions they perform, so that further analysis can be carried out. This step is normally performed by hand and is very labour intensive. We then characterise the actors by: studying their position in the overall network of actors and actions; studying the time series associated with some of their properties; generating scatter plots describing the subject/object bias of each actor; and investigating the types of actions each actor is most associated with. The system is demonstrated on a set of 100,000 articles about crime appeared on the New York Times between 1987 and 2007. As an example, we find that Men were most commonly responsible for crimes against the person, while Women and Children were most often victims of those crimes.

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