Note: This post represents the synthesis of the thoughts, procedures and experiences of others as represented in the 8 articles read in advance (see previous posts) and the discussion among the students and instructor during the Advanced Analytic Techniques class at Mercyhurst University in March 2013 regarding News Analysis specifically. This technique was evaluated based on its overall validity, simplicity, flexibility and its ability to effectively use unstructured data.
A vaguely defined technique that includes the analysis of news in some way but generally relies on an established analytic technique such as sentiment or content analysis.
1. Fast way to find information on a topic of interest.
1. Technique is not well defined.
2. New sources can be skewed by whether one is left or right leaning politically.
3. The analysis of the news sources can be biased by the analysts inherent biases on the proposed topic/personal experiences.
4. Articles affected by high emotion.
5. Extremely affected by circular reporting.
6. Just examining news sources is not an effective approach to creating accurate. intelligence estimates.
7. Difficult to approach or carry out due to the lack of structure.
8. Produces estimates of low analytical confidence.
Step by Step Action:
1. Analyze a specific topic utilizing news articles from various publishers.
2. Determine whether information related to the topic can be corroborated between the sources.
3. Produce an estimate based on information found.
4. Provide the analytic confidence for the findings.
Provided the class with a topic to research using only online news sources. The question was, “ Has the U.S. government been training Syrian rebels?” The class was given ten minutes to research the topic. Then as a class we discussed our findings to the proposed topic. We discussed whether news analysis is an effective tool to provide reliable intelligence estimates and what does the term “news analysis” really mean.