Audience and panel at the ADM+S News and Media Research Symposium

Tackling the challenges of automation, algorithms and AI in news and media

Author Kathy Nickels
Date 7 October 2021

Researchers and industry experts gathered at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Automated Decision-Making and Society (ADM+S) News and Media Research Symposium last week to address crucial challenges associated with the use of automation, algorithms and artificial intelligence in news, media and online entertainment.

The ADM+S News and Media Research Symposium, hosted at QUT, was co-sponsored by QUT’s Digital Media Research Centre. The event showcased the breadth and depth of research conducted at ADM+S in the news and media focus area to over 150 attendees in-person and online.

National and international delegates discussed issues related to automated decision-making systems used in search engines, recommendation systems, personalised newsfeeds, content moderation systems, and programmatic advertising.

The launch of the Australian Ad Observatory project, and early findings from the Australian Search Experience project were just some of the event’s highlights.

“It is very exciting to have these two major projects underway”, said ADM+S News and Media Focus Area leader Professor Axel Bruns.

“Both of them help to create more transparency about how the major digital media platforms use algorithms and automation to determine what information, content and advertising different Australian users see – and we actively engage the public in this process.”

The event also marked the transition of leadership of the News and Media Focus Area from Professor Bruns to incoming co-leaders Professor Jean Burgess (QUT) and Dr James Meese (RMIT).

Dr Meese said, “Axel has been a fantastic leader throughout the Focus Area’s critical start-up phase, launching major projects while also growing our Australia-wide research team. We’re excited about continuing his great work and furthering the conversation around these critical issues.”

The event provided an opportunity to engage with partners and organisations in the news and media industry including ABC, ABC RMIT Fact Check, Australian Communications Consumer Action Network Limited (ACCAN), Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS), AlgorithmWatch, Consumer Policy Research Centre (CPRC), Consumers Health Forum of Australia, Data & Society, First Nations Media Australia (FNMA), Gradient Institute, Griffith University, Hans Bredow Institute, Macquarie University, Nanyang Technological University, Oxford Internet Institute, Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, Torres Strait Islander Media Association (TSIMA), and the Victorian Information Commissioner (OVIC).

Watch the session recordings of the ADM+S News and Media Research Symposium on Youtube.

Session 01: Overview of Critical Challenges and Opportunities in News and Media Around Automated Decision-Making
Session 02: Search Engines and Recommendation Systems
Session 03: Search Personalisation and Polarisation
Session 04: News and Automation
Session 05: Automated Content Curation and Moderation: Problematic and ‘Borderline’ Content
Session 06: Platform Governance: Race, Gender and Sexuality
Session 07: Digital Inclusion and Media Use in Remote First Nations Communities
Session 08: Facebook Advertising: The Australian Ad Observatory Project

Read about other projects related to News and Media being undertaken at the ADM+S here.