Fast Facts

Gary Pattillo


Automated Content Generation

A recent study finds wide variations in author attribution among several news and information sources using automated content generation software. Some sources provide full transparency on automated content while others provide low or no transparency, attributing automated work to human reporters or their own news organization. “The broadening reliance on algorithms to generate news automatically, referred to as ‘automated journalism’ or ‘robot journalism’, has significant practical, sociopolitical, psychological, legal and occupational implications for news organizations, journalists and their audiences. One of its most controversial yet unexplored aspects is the algorithmic authorship.”

Tal Montal and Zvi Reich, “I, Robot. You, Journalist. Who is the Author?” Digital Journalism, published online August 5, 2016, DOI: 10.1080/21670811.2016.1209083 (retrieved February 3, 2017).

UK vinyl sales

“Vinyl sales have reached a 25 year high, with David Bowie’s final album ‘Black-star’ the highest-seller. UK vinyl sales reached a high of 3.2 million in 2016—a massive increase of 53 percent from the previous year. . . . However, vinyl only accounts for 2.6 percent of overall music sales, with CDs and download sales dropping rapidly. CD sales dropped by 11.7 percent and downloads fell by 29.6 percent.”

Andrew Trendell, “David Bowie Helps Vinyl Sales Reach a 25 Year High,” NME, January 3, 2017, www.nme.com/newsmusic/david-bowie-helps-vinyl-sales-reach-25-year-high-1932443 (retrieved February 6, 2017).

Homeschooling in the United States

The number of homeschooled students in the United States more than doubled between 1999 and 2012, according to estimates released in a new report. There were an estimated 1.8 million homeschooled students in the United States in 2012, up from 850,000 in 1999, when the figures were first reported.

Jeremy Redford, Danielle Battle, Stacy Bielick, and Sarah Grady, “Homeschooling in the United States: 2012,” NCES 2016-096, Institute of Education Sciences, November 1, 2016, http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2016096 (retrieved February 3, 2017).

U.S. trade publishing

About 1,045,570,000 traditionally published books (print, ebook, and audio) were sold in 2016. Print sales grew 3.3 percent due to discount-induced increased sales at Amazon.com. Nontraditionally published book sales (self-published, independent, and Amazon imprints) constituted 297,000,000 units. Approximately “43 percent of all ebook dollars (and 24 percent of all book dollars) are now going to books without ISBNs.”

Data Guy, “Print vs Digital, Traditional vs Non-Traditional, Bookstore vs Online: 2016 Trade Publishing by the Numbers,” Author Earnings, http://authorearnings.com/report/dbw2017 (retrieved February 7, 2017), and Susan Lulgjuraj, “DBW ’17: Why Are Print Sales up? Data Guy Gives His Reason—and It Isn’t Adult Coloring Books,” Teleread, January 18, 2017,. https://teleread.org/2017/01/17/dbw-17-print-books-ebooks (retrieved February 7, 2017).

Public school enrollment

In fall 2015, public schools enrolled 35.3 million elementary students and 15.0 million secondary students, according to projections. Public elementary enrollment is expected to increase 2 percent between 2015 and 2025, and public secondary enrollment is expected to increase 3 percent over the same period.

Thomas D, Snyder, Cristobal de Brey, and Sally A. Dillow, “Digest of Education Statistics, 2015,” December 8, 2016, https://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2016014 (retrieved February 3, 2017).

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