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The POLUSA Dataset: 0.9M Political News Articles Balanced by Time and Outlet Popularity

by   Lukas Gebhard, et al.

News articles covering policy issues are an essential source of information in the social sciences and are also frequently used for other use cases, e.g., to train NLP language models. To derive meaningful insights from the analysis of news, large datasets are required that represent real-world distributions, e.g., with respect to the contained outlets' popularity, topically, or across time. Information on the political leanings of media publishers is often needed, e.g., to study differences in news reporting across the political spectrum, which is one of the prime use cases in the social sciences when studying media bias and related societal issues. Concerning these requirements, existing datasets have major flaws, resulting in redundant and cumbersome effort in the research community for dataset creation. To fill this gap, we present POLUSA, a dataset that represents the online media landscape as perceived by an average US news consumer. The dataset contains 0.9M articles covering policy topics published between Jan. 2017 and Aug. 2019 by 18 news outlets representing the political spectrum. Each outlet is labeled by its political leaning, which we derive using a systematic aggregation of eight data sources. The news dataset is balanced with respect to publication date and outlet popularity. POLUSA enables studying a variety of subjects, e.g., media effects and political partisanship. Due to its size, the dataset allows to utilize data-intense deep learning methods.


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