Kuhn, Raymond & Rasmus Kleis Nielsen (eds.) 2013 (forthcoming). Political Journalism in Transition: Western Europe in a Comparative Perspective. I.B. Tauris, London. Pre-release profile here.
Levy, David A. L. & Rasmus Kleis Nielsen (eds.) 2010. The Changing Business of Journalism and its Implications for Democracy. Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, Oxford. The book is available from the University of Oxford Online Store here. It’s a steal at £19.95 including postage & packing.
This book includes a range of essays on how the business of journalism is changing around the world today, with contributions by, amongst others, Frank Esser, Michael Schudson, and Daya Thussu. More here, and the executive summary here.
The Changing Business of Journalism and its Implications for Democracy, as the only rigorous global survey of a situation usually discussed on the basis of anecdote and unproved assertion, is an indispensable and necessary work. It ought to open the way for real progress in reinventing journalism.
Nicholas Lemann, Dean and Henry R. Luce Professor at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism
This is a very detailed and rich analysis of the structural changes in today’s business of journalism: the media in many countries face a deep crisis caused both by new technologies and more general economic circumstances while in others they are experiencing rapid growth. In both cases the entire structure of the field is undergoing a dramatic change in terms of professional practice and in how media are organized and run. This book represents an indispensable tool for all those who want to understand where journalism and democracy are going today.
Paolo Mancini, Professor at Università di Perugia and co-author of Comparing Media Systems (Cambridge, 2004)
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A set of essays about the good books that inspired good social scientists. Contributors include B. Guy Peters, Chantal Mouffe, Elinor Ostrom, James M. Buchanan, Joseph H.H. Weiler, Kenneth Waltz, Richard Katz, and Thomas Hylland Eriksen [pre-publication draft of the introduction here].
10×10 is a wise reminder of the power that certain monumental canonical texts of the past, veritable cathedrals of ideas, have had and continue to have in the minds of significant thinkers. Even in an age focused on increasing opportunities for publishing made possible by new technologies, it is often from these same great arteries of thought that fresh and sustained thinking is drawn.
Frank A. Moretti, professor, Teachers College, Columbia University
10×10 gives a unique insight into the relations great academics have with great books. It brings together very important works, very prominent scholars, and the personal and often very different views they have of both classics and less well-known, sometimes surprising, sources of inspiration.
Ove K. Pedersen, professor, Copenhagen Business School
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Vaccari, Cristian and Rasmus Kleis Nielsen 2013, What Drives Politicians’ Online Popularity? An analysis of the 2010 U.S. midterm elections. Journal of Information Technology & Politics.DOI:10.1080/19331681.2012.758072. Link.
Abstract: The number of Web site visits, Facebook friends, or Twitter followers that politicians attract varies greatly, but little is known about what drives politicians’ online popularity. In this article, we use data from a systematic tracking of congressional candidates’ popularity on four Web platforms in the 112 most competitive congressional districts in the 2010 U.S. midterm elections to address that question. Using multivariate regression models, we show that while district-level socioeconomic characteristics have little effect on candidates’ online popularity, challengers and candidates in open-seat races tend to attract larger audiences online, as do candidates who are more visible on political blogs. Surprisingly, how intensely candidates are covered in news media, how popular they are in opinion polls, and how much money they spend during the campaign show no significant effect. These findings help us understand the dynamics of Internet politics, and they have wider implications for candidate competition and party politics.
Nielsen, Rasmus Kleis 2012, How Newspapers Began to Blog: Recognizing the role of technologists in old media organizations’ development of new media technologies. Information, Communication, and Society. DOI: 10.1080/1369118X.2012.694898. Link.
Abstract: In this article, I examine how ‘old’ media organizations develop ‘new’ media technologies by analyzing processes of technological innovation in two Danish newspaper companies that integrated blogs into their websites in very different ways in 2007. Drawing on concepts from science and technology studies and sociology and building on previous research on blogging by news media organizations, I analyze how the three different communities involved in the development process – journalists and managers, but also the often-overlooked community of technologists – articulated different versions of what blogging ought to be in each organization and tried to shape the technology and pull the development work in different directions. On the basis of interviews with key participants, I show how the two newspaper organizations (equally ‘old’ media) came to develop nominally the same ‘new’ medium (blogs) for nominally the same purpose (journalism) in quite different ways through tension-filled and often contentious collaborative processes. I argue that researchers interested in understanding technological innovation in the media industry need to consider the important and active role played by the community of technologists (project managers, computer programers, information architects, etc.) that are increasingly integral to how legacy media organizations operate in a new and ever more convergent media environment under circumstances of great economic uncertainty, and discuss the wider implications for how we understand processes of technological development in the news media and the realization of the democratic potentials of new media technologies.
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Nielsen, Rasmus Kleis 2011, Mundane Internet Tools, Mobilizing Practices, and the Coproduction of Citizenship in Political Campaigns. New Media & Society. DOI: 10.1177/1461444810380863. Link.
Abstract: The internet’s potential for political mobilization has been highlighted for more than a decade, but we know little about what particular kinds of information and communication technologies are most important when it comes to getting people involved in politics and about what this means for the active exercise of engaged citizenship. On the basis of ethnographic research in two congressional campaigns in the USA, I will argue that specific mundane internet tools (like email) are much more deeply integrated into mobilizing practices today than emerging tools (like social networking sites) and specialized tools (like campaign websites). Campaigns’ reliance on mundane internet tools challenges the prevalent idea that sophisticated ‘hypermedia’ turn people into ‘managed citizens’. Instead, I suggest we theorize internet-assisted activism as a process for the coproduction of citizenship and recognize how dependent even well-funded political organizations are on the wider built communications environment and today’s relatively open internet. [pre-publication version available here]
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Nielsen, Rasmus Kleis 2010, Participation Through Letters to the Editor: Circulation, Considerations, and Genres in the Letters Institutions. Journalism. Volume 11, Issue 1, pp. 21-35. DOI: 101177/1464884909350641. Link.
Abstract: This article analyze who participate in newspaper-mediated debate through letters to the editor, how they come to do it by passing muster under six editorial considerations, and what the three predominant genres (storytelling, criticism, appeal) of letters allow them to participate in. The starting point is a sedimented ideal of media that citizens can use—an ambition for media that are not only watchdogs, sources of information, or entertainers, but also enablers of participation in action and interaction. The contemporary incarnation of this ideal in newspapers is what is here identified as the ‘letters institution’. Its patterns of circulation and contribution, editorial considerations, and narrative genres constitute a fragmented contentious zone between politics, the media, and the private life of the limited number of citizens who get a chance to express themselves through the concrete operations of one of the institutions that gives the abstraction ‘the public debate’ whatever reality it has. [pre-publication version available here]
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Nielsen, Rasmus Kleis 2009, The Labors of Internet-Assisted Activism: Overcommunication, Miscommunication, and Communicative Overload. Journal of Information Technology and Politics. Volume 6, Issue 3 & 4, pp. 267-280. DOI: 10.1080/19331680903048840. Link.
Abstract: This article analyzes the use of Internet elements in political activism through a close ethnographic case study of a volunteer group involved in the 2008 U.S. Democratic presidential primary. Whereas the literature on political activism has generally argued that the Internet provides low-cost communication that facilitates collective action, this case highlights the labors that accompany Internet-assisted activism. The analysis, based upon participant-observation, identifies three interrelated problems with which the activists struggled: overcommunication, miscommunication, and communicative overload. Drawing on concepts taken from science and technology studies, the article argues that these problems have sociotechnical roots and arise from the specific affordances of an increasing number of Internet elements. Such elements reduce the up-front costs associated with communication for the sender, but they generate new transaction costs when integrated into heterogeneous assemblages with no shared communication protocol, no clear infrastructure or exostructure, and no significant means of tempering the tendency towards ever greater amounts of communication. [pre-publication version available here]
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Nielsen, Rasmus Kleis 2007, Hegemony, Radical Democracy, Populism. Distinktion – Scandinavian Journal of Political Theory, No. 13, 2006, pp. 77-97.
Abstract: This article demonstrates what it means to construe Ernesto Laclau’s work as precisely political theory. By analyzing his work in terms of the relation between ‘hegemony’ as a theory of the political, ‘radical democracy’ as a normative theory, and the ever-present but often overlooked element of ‘populism’ as a theory of a form of politics, it captures the full-fledged political character of his work (as opposed to simply moral theory). Though the article offers various criticisms of the ways the three elements are elaborated and interlinked, especially through the imprecise notions of ‘the underdogs’ and ‘the underprivileged’, it also highlights the value of attempting to situate the act of political theorizing in the world at hand by explicitly trying to identify an immanent form of politics thought in terms of a theory of the political and a normative theory, an act that will allow one to go beyond value-neutral political analysis, empty moral theory, or blind political strategizing. Only together do these three elements make up properly political theory [pre-publication version available here].
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Nielsen, Rasmus Kleis 2006, Det epistemologiske syndefald: et sekulært skred i betingelserne for det transcendentales politik – reformation, oplysning, revolution (1517-1848). Tidsskriftet Politik, 9 (1), pp. 14-25.
Abstract: This article argues that the one trait common to otherwise different secular orders is to be at the epistemological level. Despite their differences when it comes to the precise regulation of the relation between religion and politics, and degrees of secularization, widely different secular orders in Western Europe all share a common imaginary for the politics of the transcendental. This imaginary allows – in contrast to the religious hegemony that ruled before the Reformation – for other sources than religious ones to provide transcendental organizational principles for the social order. The development of the new imaginary is traced through the Reformation, the Enlightenment, and the Revolutions of 1848 [pre-publication version available here (Danish only)].
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Other publications (not peer-reviewed)
2012 Survival is Success: Journalistic Online Start-Ups in Western Europe. (co-authored with Nicola Bruno.) Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, Oxford. Available for download here.
2011 Public Support for the Media: A Six-Country Review of Direct and Indirect Subsidies. (with Geert Linnebank). Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, Oxford. Available for download here.
2010 Digital Politics as Usual. Book chapter in Mary Joyce (ed.) Digital Activism Decoded: The New Mechanics of Change. International Debate Education Association, New York and Amsterdam, pp. 181-196. Book available for download here and for purchase in print form here.
2008 Review of Philip N. Howard 2006, New Media Campaigns and the Managed Citizen. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge and New York. In Tidsskriftet Politik, 10 (4), 2008.
2007 Review of Jules Boykoff 2006. The Suppression of Dissent. Routledge, New York & London. In Mobilization, December 2007, 12 (4), pp. 433-434.
2007 Review of Jens Hoff & Kresten Storgaard (eds.) 2005, Informationsteknologi og demokratisk innovation – borgerdeltagelse, politisk kommunikation og offentlig styring, Forlaget Samfundslitteratur, Denmark and Lars Torpe, Jeppe Agger Nielsen & Jens Ulrich 2005, Demokrati på nettet – Offentlighed, deltagelse og digital kommunikation, Aalborg Universitetsforlag, Denmark. In Tidsskriftet Politik 9 (3), 2007.
2007 Review of Gitte Meyer 2005, Hvorfor skulle der ikke kunne være en offentlig fornuft?, Syddansk Universitetsforlag, Denmark. Including my ‘Reply to Gitte Meyer’. In Tidsskriftet Politik, 9 (3), 2007.
2006 Review of Peter Sloterdijk 2005, Kritik af den Kyniske Fornuft, Det Lille Forlag, København. In Tidsskriftet Politik, 8 (4), 2006.
2006 Review of Ulrikke Moustgaard 2005, Håndtasken, heksen, og de blåøjede blondiner, Roskilde Universitetsforlag, Denmark. In Tidsskriftet Politik, 8 (3), 2006.
2005 Review of Roland Barthes 2004, Fortællerens død og andre essays, Gyldendal, København. In Slagmark – Tidsskrift for Idehistorie, No. 42, 2005.
2004 Review of Søren Hein Rasmussen & Niels Kayser Nielsen (eds.) 2003, Strid om demokratiet: artikler fra en dansk debat 1945-1946, Aarhus Universitetsforlag, Århus. In Tidskriftet Politik, 7 (1), 2004.
2004 Review of Jenny Edkins 2003, Trauma and the Memory of Politics, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge . In Millenium – Journal of International Studies, 33 (1), 2004.
2004 Review of Anette Warring 2004, Historie, Magt og Identitet – grundlovsfejringer gennem 150 år, Aarhus Universitetsforlag, Århus. In Økonomi og Politik, 77 (3), 2004.
2003 Review of Anette Borchorst & Drude Dahlerup (eds.) 2003, Ligestillingspolitik som diskurs og praksis, Samfundslitteratur, Denmark. In Politologiske Studier, 6 (3), 2003.
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Long newspaper and magazine pieces include:
United We Stand, in Vision, nr. 1., 2009, pp.28-29.
Medlemsaktivering er vejen frem i USA, in Politiken, February 10, 2007, p. 4.
November 2005 – et stumt oprør, in Information, November 17, 2005, p. 24.
I have also written for a variety of other smaller political periodicals in Denmark.