International News Flow Online: Understanding the world through news site mining 

Why are some countries more newsworthy than others? What are the similarities and differences in the scope of international news presented in different languages and cultures? How does international news affect our perception of the world? My studies together with Menahem Blondhein from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem aim at exploring the bias of international news their global and local patterns. 

I compare the international scope of online newspapers, news portals, and news aggregators in different languages and cultures, using innovative web mining techniques and network analysis. The book "International News Flow Online: Global Views with Local Perspectives" explores the theory of news flow around the world, and analyses many of its dimensions such as the global standing of the United States, the Middle Eastern conflicts as seen around the world, and, the effect of financial news. In doing so, it unveils new patterns, meanings and implications of international news on our perception of the world.  

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Provocation in International News

Going deeper into the content of international news and the framing of countries, two studies conducted together with Sandrine Boudana. One is theoretical about the use of provocation narratives in international news, and the other is empirical. We found that North Korea is by far the most frequently mentioned country in the context of provocation, and that the actions of North Korea are never directly explained or justified. Provocations, we claim, is tiny yet powerful word that tells us the meta-narrative of western news, and helps to justify the geopolitical ambitions of the U.S. in east Asia.

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Information search and the digital divide

Rather than a simple division between those who have and those who have-not (access to the Internet), the second level digital divide is seen as the different information uses, search strategies and skills among online users. For example, certain information searches (i.e., for news, tax, law, government, society, or business) can provide economic and socio-political advantages. They can help online users to find jobs, compare prices of products and services, establish online business, acquire an education, increase their social and political involvement, and so on. The book "Google and the Digital Divide: The Bias of Online Knowledge" deals with the relationship between online search, search engines and the digital divide.

In this line of research I am interested in developing new methods and analytical tools to study what information is being sought in different countries and to what extent this information is politically and economically related. My studies are based on longitudinal analyses of the search queries in popular search engines and include a large number of countries. Among others, I examine the content, heterogeneity and accuracy of searches in order to shed new light on the digital divide. My PhD student, Nathan Stolero, is studying how young and adult users differ in their information seeking behavior.

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Seeking science information online
In this line of research collaborated with Ayelet Baram-Tsabari from the Technion Institute to map the scientific interests and needs of online users worldwide. We have been employing data from Google Trends in order to identify public interest in science, and understand the potential and limitations of these publicly available tools for scientific research.

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A systematic procedure for detecting news biases: The case of Israel in European news sites

In this project, funded by the SNF, we develop a systematic and structured procedure for sentiment analysis in the news, as well as a database of keywords that incorporate positive and negative opinions toward Israel in different languages. We mine 14 large newspapers in five countries—the UK, France, Germany, Italy, and Switzerland—over a period of six months and rate their respective orientations. Our findings clearly show that news reports are largely critical and negative toward Israel, with British news being the most critical, Italian news the most sensational, and German, French and Swiss news relatively more neutral. Opinions featured in the news are not in line with public opinion as presented in annual surveys of each country.

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