What were the top 2015 news stories? Guess no more!

by in Archive: Blogs & Blog Posts

Guest blog post by Sean Blanchflower, Head of Research and Development, HPE Big Data Platform.

Most of us had our own thoughts about what the biggest news stories were in 2015. How about a proven scientific technique to quickly find out from global broadcast and social media sources of what the world thought those stories were?

As a bit of fun to celebrate the New Year, we’ve used HPE IDOL, an enterprise search and data analytics platform, to automate analysis of news from thousands of sources for the whole of 2015 to identify the year’s biggest stories, as well as the biggest stories in Sports, Entertainment, and Technology, which will be published shortly after. To do this, HPE IDOL uses information such as the number of news articles about a given story, the importance of the news source, how long the story remained in the news, and its relationship to other big stories, to come up with an overall measure of a story’s impact. It also creates an automatic title for each, which is sometimes difficult for stories as complex as the Republican Leadership Race, for example, but the title still gives a good indication of what each story is about. Remember that the results (except for the images) are given here with no editing whatsoever, so it is often interesting to understand why an algorithm would come up with each! 


We’ve put the top ten stories in the infographics, but here’s the full top 30:

  1. Charleston church, Dylann Roof, Church Massacre (Photo by Nomader / CC BY)
  2. Donald Trump, Trump's Muslim, Muslims entering (Photo by Gage Skidmore/ CC BY)
  3. Nepal earthquake / quake, Everest avalanche, Earthquake Aftershocks (Photo by Akin Amar / CC BY)
  4. Alps / Germanwings crash, pilot Andreas Lubitz (Photo by Sebatien Mortier/ CC BY)
  5. Charlie Hebdo, Charlie Hebdo magazine, Charlie Hebdo cartoonist (Photo by Perline / CC BY)
  6. Hillary Clinton, Lincoln Chafee, Bernie, DemDebate (Photo by U.S. State Dept/ Public Domain)
  7. Super Bowl, Super Bowl XLIX, Seahawks Super Bowl (Photo by Joe Parks/ CC BY)
  8. Donald Trump, McCain, Iowa, Jeb (Photo by Gage Skidmore / CC BY)
  9. Oregon Sheriff / Gunman, Harper Mercer, Roseburg (Photo by Gordon Friedman / CC BY)
  10. Confederate flag, Carolina Capitol, Nikki Haley, Racism (Photo by Jonesclaytont / CC BY)
  11. Selma anniversary, Alabama bridge, Lewis, Commemorated
  12. FIFA's / Sepp Blatter, Blatter blasts, Soccer
  13. World Cup, World Cup final, Women's World Cup
  14. Megyn Kelly, Erick Erickson, Trump, Trump Disinvited
  15. Copenhagen synagogue, Benjamin Netanyahu's Jewish, Danish, Denmark
  16. Cecil, dentist Walter Palmer, Zimbabwe, lion
  17. Supreme, landmark Supreme, Obergefell, Legalizes
  18. religious freedom, Arkansas, LGBT discrimination, Asa Hutchinson
  19. Nevada / Ranch brothel, Lamar Odom, Khloe Kardashian
  20. El Chapo, El Chapo Guzman's escape
  21. Mohammod / Youssuf Abdulazeez, Chattanooga gunman's, Tennessee
  22. Kentucky clerk, Kim Davis, licenses, Couples
  23. Netanyahu, Benjamin Netanyahu, Palestinian, Boehner
  24. Jeremy Corbyn, Tom Watson, Labour leadership
  25. Saudi Arabia, King Abdullah, Crown Prince Salman
  26. Horizons probe / spacecraft, Pluto flyby, Icy Dwarf
  27. Raul Castro, Barack Obama, Castro's handshake, Cuba
  28. Xi Jinping, cyber theft, Cyber Spying
  29. bailout / Greek referendum, Tsipras, Eurozone
  30. Eagles of Death Metal, Bataclan, hostage, Paris Explosions

Note: Infographic images manually added