GDG: Our Ever-Changing Ever-Edited Digital News Landscape

In August 2018 we introduced the Global Difference Graph (GDG) as a fundamentally new way of thinking about and researching the ephemerality of online news. While countless projects over the years have explored how online news articles are changed after publication (including our own of White House press releases that led to clarification on which digital records constitute "government records"), the GDG was the first ever effort to catalog these changes at a global scale, covering every single online article GDELT monitors globally over 150 languages in realtime on a fixed 24-hour and 7-day recrawl schedule. No other initiative conducts change detection at this scale, making the GDG a truly unique resource for understanding global change.

Within the archives of the GDG are every imaginable kind of change, but something it captures clearly is an underappreciated aspect of online news today: just how much routine small-scale editing occurs after publication.

Take this AP wire story that appeared in the Arizona Daily Star on March 15, 2022 titled "New California law prevents enrollment drop at UC Berkeley" and compare how it appears today with how it appeared when it was first published. There are 19 small edits that range from grammatical ("signed" to "has signed" and "enrollment. It" to "enrollment and it is") to clarifying statements such as replacing "block unwanted development" with "block housing and public transit projects."

Below is a list of all of the 19 changes made to the article between the time it was first published and today, drawn from the GDG. Compare the original and current versions yourself to see the myriad ways, small and large, that our news landscape changes each and every day before our very eyes.

   "from": "signed",
   "to": "has",
   "from_range": "17-17",
   "to_range": "17-17"
}, {
   "from": "on Monday",
   "to": "that",
   "from_range": "21-22",
   "to_range": "22-22"
}, {
   "from": "on",
   "to": "moved quickly and unanimously",
   "from_range": "99-99",
   "to_range": "98-101"
}, {
   "from": "voted unanimously",
   "to": "to",
   "from_range": "101-102",
   "to_range": "104-104"
}, {
   "from": "change",
   "to": "override",
   "from_range": "104-104",
   "to_range": "105-105"
}, {
   "from": "law, sending a",
   "to": "court decision and send the",
   "from_range": "106-108",
   "to_range": "107-111"
}, {
   "from": "quickly",
   "to": "signed",
   "from_range": "113-113",
   "to_range": "116-116"
}, {
   "from": "it.",
   "to": "it within hours.",
   "from_range": "115-115",
   "to_range": "117-119"
}, {
   "from": "enrollment. It\u0027s",
   "to": "enrollment and it is",
   "from_range": "132-133",
   "to_range": "136-139"
}, {
   "from": "law",
   "to": "new legislation",
   "from_range": "189-189",
   "to_range": "195-196"
}, {
   "from": "Act. Passed in 1970, the",
   "to": "Act, a landmark 1970",
   "from_range": "197-201",
   "to_range": "204-207"
}, {
   "from": "requires",
   "to": "that",
   "from_range": "203-203",
   "to_range": "209-209"
}, {
   "from": "law",
"to": "environmental",
"from_range": "235-235",
"to_range": "242-242"
}, {
"from": "frequently",
"to": "been",
"from_range": "237-237",
"to_range": "245-245"
}, {
   "from": "less",
   "to": "by opponents of development",
   "from_range": "240-240",
   "to_range": "247-250"
}, {
   "from": "protect the environment and more to",
   "to": "block",
   "from_range": "242-247",
   "to_range": "252-252"
}, {
   "from": "unwanted development.",
   "to": "housing and public transit projects.",
   "from_range": "249-250",
   "to_range": "253-257"
}, {
   "from": "Bokovoy said.",
   "to": "said Bokovoy, an alumnus of UC Berkeley who lives near the bustling campus.",
   "from_range": "540-541",
   "to_range": "547-559"
}, {
   "from": "The law signed by Newsom, also a Democrat, is narrowly tailored to fix the ...",
   "to": "",
   "from_range": "581-667",
   "to_range": "599-599"