Class Projects - Fall 2014


Contextualizes news articles by providing pundit tweets and reddit links

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What it does

Info+ contextualizes any news article a user reads by providing pundit tweets and a link to a reddit thread related to the topic of interest. This web extension application pulls in diverse range of opinions, analyses and viewpoints, allowing its users to understand better and question the news source at hand and its delivery of information.

Pundits are authorities on a subject matter. For instance, political pundits may include Ezra Klein, Dylan Byers or Jim Antle.

Depending on the subject matter of the article, different pundits will be pulled in. Info+ finds such pundits’ tweets that are related to the topic of the article. Info+ also displays links to related Reddit threads that users can easily click on. Using Info+, users can get a fuller picture of an event or an issue discussed in the article.

How it works

Info+ can be divided into two parts: tweets from pundit panels and reddit comments from the interested public. Both are obtained from search queries generated by the content of the article being read. The Infolab topic categorizer is used to find the topic of the article being read and thus determine which pundit panel to use. This topic is used in conjunction with the keywords of the article to form a tweet search query to get pundit opinions. The top three keywords are used in a reddit search with results sorted by most relevant in the past week. The top thread in the search is linked to in the extension popup.

Key Technologies

  • Infolab topic categorizer
  • Infolab keyword search
  • Kango
  • NLTK libraries: wordnet, words, maxent_treebank_pos_tagger, punkt, maxent_ne_chunker

Next Steps

Info+ can be improved upon by increasing its accuracy. Building a more specific topic categorizer, increasing the score threshold, and implementing date ranges would all contribute towards pulling more relevant tweets and reddit threads. Another primary focus is the expansion of default pundit panels, and providing a user friendly interface for pundit panel configuration.

Using Info+ on an article about lame-duck Congress


Student Team:

Jeremy Chase

Andrew Jiang

Heiwon Shin

Faculty Guidance:

Larry Birnbaum

Rich Gordon