As liberal arts students, we are often considered to "live in bubbles" and have limited access to a diversity of viewpoints. A common source of current events is through social media, which employs carefully chosen algorithms that cater to individuals' preferences. As a result, students can be exposed only to certain political standpoints. We sought a means to combat this issue of media bias and manipulation of news coverage by informing readers of perceived biases of popular news agencies.
What it does
FLIP takes in a keyword or phrase from the user and then displays a visual of news sources on a cartesian plane. The vertical axis of this visual provides a positive/negative spectrum of "trustworthiness", which is based on the results of a survey by the Pew Research Center. This survey asked people to rank news sources on whether or not they were deemed "more trustworthy than untrustworthy," "equally trustworthy as untrustworthy," or "less trustworthy than untrustworthy." The horizontal axis corresponds to the typical perception of an agency's political leaning, with liberal views on the left and conservative views on the right. The user can then choose a news source based on this visual and be directed to that news source's top stories on the keyword.
How we built it
We used the Android Studio framework to build, debug, and emulate the Android app.
Challenges we ran into
In general, this was our first time ever being exposed to Android Studio. Most of our initial concerns dealt with getting a start on the project and familiarizing ourselves with the framework.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We formulated a method that takes in the user's keyword or phrase and passes that parameter through to produce the top news stories of each website.
What we learned
We definitely gained familiarity with Android Studio. In addition, in our experience researching this topic, the scope of the issue of political biases in the media was made more transparent to us.
What's next for FLIP
We would like to continue working on the stylistic aspects of FLIP. Also, we are looking forward to adding more news agencies to diversify different levels of trustworthiness and political views portrayed in the graphic. We would also like to try to translate this Android app to an iOS version.