Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Thesis Format

Monograph

Degree

Master of Arts

Program

Hispanic Studies

Supervisor

Suarez, Juan Luis

Abstract

This thesis is a case study based on a network analysis of the magazine Razón Pública. This project took an inductive, data-driven approach to public interest in the context of a specific digital network. The main objectives were to characterize the magazine’s authors and subscribers, identify its prevalent news topics, and validate to what extent subscribers agree that the resulting topics are of public interest or not. In order to achieve these objectives, a mixed methodology was used; it consisted of combining Natural Language Processing (NLP) techniques -keyword network, n-grams analysis, and Latent Dirichlet Allocation (LDA) topic modeling-, qualitative analysis of a sample of articles, and surveys. It was found out in this research that men and people with higher education levels were overrepresented among Razón Publica’s authors and subscribers; it also concluded that subscribers, largely, agreed on considering the topics extracted from the magazine as of public interest.

Summary for Lay Audience

This project is a case study based on Razón Pública -a Colombian nonprofit digital magazine promoting public interest journalism. The magazine focuses on publishing political analyses of Colombian current affairs, and seeks to contribute to public deliberation in the country by promoting a digital forum for critical and reflexive debate. This research intends to analyze the magazine as a cultural network of people -mainly, authors and subscribers-, cultural objects -i.e. articles published-, the institutions to which authors are affiliated and a cultural phenomenon -topics of public interest.

In order to do this analysis, the process also included identifying the main components of the network in a data-driven approach. Additionally, a mixed methodology was employed; combining computational and qualitative methods to explore the magazine’s prevalent topics, language, as well as to identify common characteristics among the magazine’s authors and subscribers.

This thesis also contributes to the expansion of cultural networks in the area of digital journalism and political deliberation. Additionally, it is important to mention that natural language processing techniques were used, and it was possible to identify the most covered topics by Razón Publica’s in a time-lapse of ten years. Based on previously mentioned results, a survey was devised and distributed among the magazine’s subscribers with the purpose of verifying to what extent they agreed or disagreed on whether the magazine’s topics were of public interest or not. After the survey, the results were analyzed and based on their responses it was concluded that, in most cases, subscribers agreed on considering the topics identified as of some public importance. What is more, it was found that both authors and subscribers were predominantly men and people with a higher education level. Lastly, the view of public interest obtained is specific to a, more or less, homogenous community.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 License.

Available for download on Tuesday, September 01, 2020

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