The primary inspiration of our project is the growing filter bubbles in our country and in our world. The ability of people to only see posts on social media and news sites that agree with their point of view is a worrying development of the 21st century that we are trying to combat. Our project being two-fold (Chrome Extension and website) means that we can both provide an in depth overview of an issue for those who are actively curious about learning more about an issue through our website, and also passively prompt users with alternative interpretations of news stories for users who are not consistently conscious of filter bubbles.

What it does

Two Sided News attempts to give two views on any story: liberal and conservative. By searching keywords to a topic the user would like to read about, our website displays articles side by side. The user can then choose to read whichever perspective they please, or both, and come up with their own interpretations of the story. The chrome extension version allows you to directly look at another article from the opposite view. This way, users can continue to browse articles on websites that they are comfortable with, but have the option to read the another side of the story through this extension.

How we built it

We used HTML, CSS, and JavaScript (all the classic web development basics!) for creating our website. We hosted through firebase, and we also used JavaScript for the Chrome extension. The querying was handled with a custom google search engine that searched for articles from selected sources.

Challenges we ran into

We all had to learn how to use Github for group version control, and had to teach each other web development basics. In addition, our collective experience with Chrome extensions was that one of our members had attended the Chrome extension Hack@Brown workshop. Yet we still managed to make our thing!

Accomplishments that we're proud of

We are extremely happy to have been able to complete this project in less than a day. Our website lets users read online news articles, but we are especially proud that our product can allow them to become more informed about other perspectives. The portable version of our product, the Chrome extension, can even be used on the go for readers who don't use our website.

What we learned

Web Development (HTML, CSS, jQuery, JavaScript, Bootstrap), Google Custom Search API, Chrome Extension Development, Hosting, Friendship

What's next for TwoSidedNews

Future features would be to upgrade the news search. One way to do this is implement Machine Learning that will take in a database of articles and learn which articles are liberal or conservative leaning. This way, the article returned from a query would not be restricted to a particular news outlet. For example, if one news outlet has both left and right leanings, the same news outlet can be displayed on both sides. Another feature would be a website format that can be its own sustainable news website. This would include tags like "Popular" or "Health" where the trending stories for each would be displayed instead of having to specifically querying for an article/subject. This would also include updating the design of the website to best accommodate users' experience.

Try it out

Visit the website here

Check out the Chrome Extension in the Google Chrome Store here

See the full project at this GitHub repo

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