17 February 2022

Old Yahoos Don't Always Die

Three months ago, in World Championship Yahoos 2021 (November 2021; see the footnote below for an explanation of 'Yahoos'), I spotted a couple of changes in the monthly Google News stories:-

This month there was a change in the Google News algorithm. It still returned 100 stories, but I noticed that many were published well before the month of November. [...] Another unusual feature of the month was the precipitous drop in stories from Chess.com, which has been averaging around 40 stories a month for the last six months.

That trend was confirmed in the following month's post, Year-end Yahoos (December 2021). With three months of Yahoos to work with, I can now take a closer look at the older stories, of which there were 54 over the three months.

The chart on the left shows the count of older (historical?) Yahoos across the three months, aggregated by their source. First observation: There were only five sources producing all 54 stories. Chess.com accounted for the great majority of those stories.

Second observation: Many of the stories appeared in more than one month. Specifically, four stories appeared in all three months, 12 stories appeared in two months, and the other stories appeared once. Some of those stories might return for my next monthly Yahoos post, but that doesn't change the current situation.

What were the four stories that appeared in all three months? I'm glad you asked, because I checked myself:-

Third observation: CNN is second on the list of sources thanks to a single story, the last on the list. Ditto for the New York Times third place, where the story was:-

We saw that story in an earlier Yahoos post, Three Times Yahoos (July 2021), where I called it 'tattletale gossip'. After rereading the Times story, I haven't changed my opinion. For a reaction from one of the accused, see '"All My Work ... Had Finally Paid Off"; An Interview with Abhimanyu and Hemant Mishra' in the September 2021 issue of Chess Life. Hemant Mishra, Abhimanyu's father, said,

In that article, they misquoted me. And I’ll tell you how it started. It was a preplanned article, and they wanted to create breaking news. There was a Russian reporter [Ivan Nechepurenko ~ed.]. After we reached Hungary and [Abhi] got his first norm, for a span of two and half months, that guy kept sending me messages on WhatsApp.

He told me that there would be an article about my son in the New York Times, and I kept providing all the information, whatever was needed. And he kept telling me that this article is going to be out in another three days, another five days. That happened for two and a half months.

Back to the four old stories that appeared in all three months of my monthly posts, I understand the apparent popularity of three of them. The fourth, 'Speed Chess Grand Prix', is a mystery. Something told Google News that it was an important story. Was it related to the declaration that the event was 'the next leg of one of the most anticipated online tournaments of the year'? I'm baffled.

[Yahoos (mainstream news stories about chess) are derived from Google News top-100 (or so) stories from the past month.]

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