Category Archives: Conferences

2016 Int’ Journal of Press/Politics Conference

IJPP

I’m proud to present the 2016 International Journal of Press/Politics Conference, hosted September 29-30 by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at the University of Oxford.

The full program including abstracts is here [PDF], and an overview with titles and presenters is below–we will be covering many issues relevant for the International Journal of Press/Politic‘s mission: to advance our understanding of the relations between news media and politics in a global perspective.

With more than 60 researchers from almost 20 countries and a keynote by Katrin Voltmer, it will be a truly international event and it is one I really look forward to–the second installment of what I hope will be an annual event, with the best and most relevant papers submitted to the journal for later publication.

2016 INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF PRESS/POLITICS CONFERENCE

CONFERENCE OVERVIEW

THURSDAY 29TH

 9.00-10.30                   Panels 1a and 1b 

PANEL 1A: POPULISM, POLITICAL CONFLICT, AND THE MEDIA

 

Brexit 2016? Media reporting of the Referendum Campaign on UK Membership of the EU

Dominic Wring, David Deacon, John Downey and James Stanyer

 

Europe facing the immigration flow. Parochialism vs cosmopolitanism in the press

Paolo Mancini, Marco Mazzoni, Giovanni Barbieri, and Marco Damiani

 

The Coming Anocracy? Mediatized Politics in Thailand and Beyond

Duncan McCargo and Thaweeporn Kummetha

 

Mass righteous indignation as a form of contentious politics

Cherian George

 

PANEL 1B: JOURNALISTS AND NEWS PRODUCTION

 

Between the “citizen” and “consumer”: A comparative account of journalists’ roles in political and everyday life

Folker Hanusch and Thomas Hanitzsch

 

Opportunity makes the journalist?: An analysis of the blurring of boundaries between science and journalism during the COP21 summit

Stefanie Walter and Michael Brüggemann

 

The Impact of Media Policy on Journalistic Norms

Ruth Moon

 

From supplement to trigger? Changing role of social media in the mainstream Czech news production

Václav Štětka

 

10.45-12.15                 Panels 2a and 2b

 

PANEL 2A: COMPARING MEDIA SYSTEMS

Influences on Journalistic Practices Across European Digital Mediascapes

Zrinjka Peruško, Antonija Čuvalo and Dina Vozab

 

Reporters and Reformers: The European Fact-Checking Field in Comparative Context

Lucas Graves

Automatic Text Analysis of News Coverage As A Test Of Media System Theory

Iain McMenamin, Michael Breen, Michael Courtney, and Gemma McNulty

 

News in Catalonia: the formation of a differentiated Catalan media system

Manel Palos Pons

 

PANEL 2B: JOURNALISM IN TRANSITIONAL AND AUTHORITARIAN SOCIETIES

 

A free press in no match for corruption: how corruption poisoned the post-communist media

Lada Trifonova Price

 

Comparing the Role of Traditional and Digital Media in Political Communication in India and China: Populism versus Authoritarian Responsiveness

Ralph Schroeder

 

Changing Times, Changing Journalism: Shifting Journalistic Approaches in Transitional Democracy Explained

Claudia Mellado and Arjen Van Dalen

 

Who Speaks for the Past? Social Media, Social Memory, and the Production of Historical Knowledge in Contemporary China

Jun Liu

 

 

13.15-14.45     Panels 3a and 3b

 

PANEL 3A: MEDIA, CULTURAL DIPLOMACY, AND GLOBALISATION

 

Confucius Institutes and China’s Public Diplomacy: between benign cultural exchange and sinister propaganda

Falk Hartig

 

Journalism and Political Islam: the Case of Malaysia’s Harakah newspaper

Janet Steele

 

Theorizing Political Communication in the 21st century: People, Processes and Practices in an Age of Interconnection

Cristina Archetti

 

Shallow Globalization: Media discourse entanglements, the United Nations, and the performative neglect of global democratic necessities

Dirk-Claas Ulrich

 

 

 

 

PANEL 3B: JOURNALISTS, GOVERNMENTS, AND POLITICAL PARTIES (I)

 

The virtual Lobby: How politicians and journalists interact on Twitter during election campaigns

Marcel Broersma, Dan Jackson, Einar Thorsen, and Todd Graham

 

Involved or apathetic? Journalists’ relationship with the political sphere

Jessica Kunert and Neil Thurman

 

Professionalized political communication vs. speedy-journalism

Milda Celiešiūtė

 

Party organizations in the light of professionnalization of political communication

Lamprini Rori

 

15.00-16.00     Birds of a feather sessions

 

16.30-18.00     Panels 4a and 4b

 

PANEL 4A: MEDIA, AGENDA-SETTING, AND THE LEGISLATIVE PROCESS

 

Why political elites respond to news coverage: Information acquisition vs. strategic timing

Julie Sevenans

 

The emphasizing effect of the media: a comparative analysis of legislative processes

Lotte Melenhorst

 

Political agenda-setting put into context: How the electoral system shapes politicians’ reactions to media coverage

Luzia Helfer and Rudy Andeweg

 

Authority performances in mediatized policy networks

Esa Reunanen and Risto Kunelius

 

PANEL 4B: LOCAL AND REGIONAL NEWS CULTURES

 

Networked Intermedia Agenda Setting

Helle Sjøvaag, Eirik Stavelin, Michael Karlsson and Aske Kammer

 

Put it in the context: Regional and national references in the press

Ramona Vonbun

 

[New] Media Systems, Public Spheres, and Local Political Discourses

Dirk von Schneidemesser

 

Political sources in the news

Helle Sjøvaag

 

FRIDAY 30TH

 

9.00-10.30       Keynote lecture by Katrin Voltmer

 

11.00-12.30                 Panels 5a and 5b

PANEL 5A: DIGITAL MEDIA, DATA, AND ELECTION CAMPAIGNING

 

Data, democracy and political communication: the case of the 2015 UK general election

Nick Anstead

 

Inter-media agenda-setting in the social media age. How Twitter influences the media agenda in election times

Raymond Harder, Peter Van Aelst, Julie Sevenans, and Steve Paulussen

 

Focus points of political attention: Collective curating on Twitter during the federal election 2013 in Germany

Andreas Jungherr and Oliver Posegga

 

Tweeting the electoral cycle: political debate and sentiment analysis of the Greek elections in 2015

Moses Boudourides, Dimitra Dimitrakopoulou, Sergios Lenis, and

Pantelis Vikatos,

 

 

PANEL 5B: MEDIA, ENGAGEMENT, AND POLITICAL PARTICIPATION

 

How Political Disagreements Lead to Participation: Comparing less and more experienced voters in the case of the U.S. 2014 midterm elections

Hailey Hyun-kyung Oh

 

The Engaging Effect of Exemplars

Kim Andersen, Morten Skovsgaard, Erik Albaek, and Claes H. de Vreese

 

Practicing “Engagement”: A Cross-National Comparison

Regina G. Lawrence, Damian Radcliffe, Thomas Schmidt

 

Participation features in news websites: A comparative study

Yacov Netzer

 

 

 

 

 

13.30-14.30                 Panels 6a and 6b (3-paper sessions)

 

PANEL 6A: MEDIA AUDIENCES, INSTITUTIONS, AND PERCEPTIONS OF THE PRESS

 

Media Scandal and Support for Regulation: How Audience Outrage Affects Public Opinion About the Press

Erik Bucy and Nichole Bauer

 

Explaining the formation of online news startups in France and the US: A field analysis

Matthew Powers and Sandra Vera Zambrano

 

Political journalists’ branding practices on social media: A comparative analysis

Folker Hanusch

 

 

PANEL 6B: JOURNALISTS, GOVERNMENTS, AND POLITICAL PARTIES (II)

 

Taking the lead? Understanding dynamics of individual politicians’ visibility in traditional and online media”

Sanne Kruikemeier, Katjana Gattermann, and Rens Vliegenthart

 

How coalition governments affect the personalisation of politics in the media

Ana Ines Langer and Iñaki Sagarzazu

 

Connecting politicians to issues: the impact of specialization and issue ownership on news coverage

Kirsten Van Camp

 

 

15.00-16.00     Roundtable with IJPP Ed. Board members and closing remarks

APSA 2016 Political Communication Preconference Agenda

Very happy to have been involved in organizing the American Political Science Association 2016 Political Communication Preconference this year. Programme below.

***

APSA POLITICAL COMMUNICATION PRECONFERENCE

AGENDA

 

DATE:                       Wednesday August 31st

LOCATION:             Temple University’s Center City campus at 1515 Market Street, Philadelphia PA, 19102.

SCHEDULE:

  • 8:AM to 8:45AM:             BREAKFAST & REGISTRATION (Rm. 222)

 

  • 8:45AM to 9:00AM:             WELCOMES (Rm. 222)

 

  • 9:00AM to 10:15AM: PANELS

 

  • Gender, Class & Age (Chair: Diana Owen, Georgetown University) (Rm. 420)
    • Computer Silence: Gender Differences in Online Comment Sections. Natalie Jomini Stroud (The University of Texas at Austin), Emily Van Duyn (The University of Texas at Austin) and Cynthia Peacock (The University of Texas at Austin).
    • Visual Communication and Candidate Evaluation: Testing the Influence of Images on Support for Male and Female Candidates. Nichole Bauer (University of Alabama) and Colleen Carpinella (Disney Research).
    • Class Opinion Alignment: The Influence of Poverty Discourse on the Political Attitudes of Low-income Citizens. Lori Young (Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania).
    • The Gender Gap and Online Political Activity in Canadian Politics. Tamara A. Small (University of Guelph), Harold Jansen (University of Lethbridge), Frédérick Bastien (Université de Montréal), Thierry Giasson (Université Laval) and Royce Koop (University of Manitoba).
    • Political Information Usage and Sources for Young Citizens: Comparison of Electoral and Non-Electoral Periods. Andrius Suminas (Vilnius University).

 

  • Media and Political Engagement I (Chair: Rasmus Kleis Nielsen, Oxford University) (Rm. 421)
    • WhatApp..ening to Political Discussion in Europe? Instant Messaging Services and Political Engagement in Italy, United Kingdom and Germany. Augusto Valeriani (University of Bologna) and Cristian Vaccari (Royal Holloway, University of London and University of Bologna).
    • Fly My Pretties: John Oliver, Net Neutrality, and Comedy as an Agent of Political Activation. Leticia Bode (Georgetown University) and Amy Becker (Loyola University Maryland).
    • Digital Politics and the Political Community. Michael J. Jensen (Institute for Governance and Policy Analysis, University of Canberra).
    • The Instagram Election: The Role of Visual Social Media in the 2016 Presidential Campaign. Terri Towner (Oakland University).

 

  • Partisan Media (Chair: Bruce Hardy, Temple University) (Rm. 422)
    • Media Issue Ownership: Reconciling Partisan News and Issue Ownership. McGregor, Shannon C. (University of Texas – Austin).
    • Media Choice and Moderation: Evidence from an Experiment With Digital Trace Data. Andrew Guess (New York University).
    • The Impact of Partisan News Exposure on Perceptions of the Opposing Party and Public Confidence in the Electoral System. Hye-Yon Lee (Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania).
    • Self and Contextually Activated Networks: An Expanded Approach to Selective Exposure. Benjamin Lyons (University of Pennsylvania)

 

  • 10:15AM to 10:30AM:    BREAK
  • 10:30AM to 11:45AM:    PANELS

 

  • Campaigns & Elections (Chair: Michael X. Delli Carpini, University of Pennsylvania) (Rm. 420)
    • Online Interaction: Do Candidates Still Avoid It? Jennifer Stromer-Galley (Syracuse University), Patricia Rossini (University of Minas Gerais, Brazil), Lauren Bryant (University at Albany, SUNY), Bryan Semaan (Syracuse University), Jeff Hemsley (Syracuse University), Kate Kenski (University of Arizona) and Feifei Zhang (Syracuse University).
    • The Promise of Social Media Intelligence: Leveraging Consumer Analytical Tools to Understand Voters Online in 2016. Sarah Oates (University of Maryland College Park) and Wendy Moe (University of Maryland College Park).
    • Oh Snap: Chat Videostyle in the 2016 U.S. Presidential Campaign. Eisa Al Nashmi (Kuwait University) and David Painter (Rollins College).
    • Tipping the Balance of Power in Elections? Voters’ Engagement in the Digital Campaign. Diana Owen (Georgetown University).
    • Relational Labor in Candidates’ Social Media Presence. Shannon C McGregor (University of Texas – Austin) and Nancy Baym (Microsoft Research).

 

 

  • Disagreement, Negativity & Incivility (Chair: Dannagal Young, University of Delaware) (Rm. 421)
    • Liberal and Conservative Political Incivility. Ashley Muddiman (University of Kansas).
    • How Personality Traits Affect Voters’ Campaign Tone Perceptions and Responses. Annemarie Walter (School of Politics and International Relations, University of Nottingham), Travis Ridout (School of Politics and International Relations, Washington State University) and Cees Van der Eijk (School of Politics and International Relations, University of Nottingham).
    • How Political Disagreements Lead to Participation: Comparing Less and More Experienced Voters in the Case of the U.S. 2014 Midterm Elections. Hailey Hyun-kyung Oh (George Mason University).
    • Deliberative Signals: The Importance of Incivility in Highlighting Anti-Democratic Rhetoric. Emily Sydnor (Southwestern University) and Grace Atkins (Southwestern University).

 

  • Protest, Revolution and Media (Chair: Abby Jones, Visiting Scholar, Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania) (Rm. 422)
    • Revolutionary Narratives and the Future of Revolution. Guobin Yang (Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania).
    • The Contagion Effects of Protest Movements – Pegida and Party Politics in Germany. Sebastian Stier (GESIS – Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences, Cologne), Arnim Bleier (GESIS – Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences, Cologne), Christoph Kling (GESIS – Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences, Cologne) and Lisa Posch (GESIS – Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences, Cologne).
    • Democracy, New Media and Social Actors in Contemporary Spanish Politics. Leocadia Díaz Romero (Murcia State University).
    • From Connective Action to Connective People: An Empirical Evidence from Egypt. Mostafa Shehata (Roskilde University).

 

  • 11:45AM to 12:30PM:     LUNCH (Rm. 222)

 

  • 12:30PM to 1:30PM:       KEYNOTE & DISCUSSION ON THE 2016 U.S.

PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION (Rm. 222)

 

  • Facilitator: Michael Hagen (Temple University)
  • David Nickerson (Temple University)

 

  • 1:30PM to 2:30PM:         THEORY AND THEORY-BUILDING ROUNDTABLE

(Rm. 222)

 

  • CHAIR: Regina Lawrence (School of Journalism and Communication, University of Oregon)
  • PANELISTS
    • Geoffrey Baym (Temple University)
    • Andrew Chadwick (Royal Holloway, University of London)
    • Daniel Kreiss (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill)
    • Dannagal Young (University of Delaware)

 

  • 2:30PM to 2:45PM:         BREAK

 

  • 2:45PM to 4:00PM:       PANELS

 

  • Journalism, News, and Politics (Chair: Geoffrey Baym, Temple University) (Rm. 420)
    • Platformed Publishing? The Rise of Digital Intermediaries, the Transformation of Online Journalism, and Implications for Mediated Politics. Rasmus Kleis Nielson (Oxford University) and Sarah Anne Ganter (Oxford University).
    • Analyzing PolitiFact.com: Assessments of Key Partisan Claims Regarding President Obama. Stephen J. Farnsworth (University of Mary Washington) and Robert S. Lichter (George Mason University).
    • Objective and Subjective Political Knowledge in the New Media Environment. Kylee Britzman (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign).
    • Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Combining Journalistic Ideals and Political Satire. John Remensperger (Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania).

 

  • Issue Coverage in Comparative Perspective (Chair: Jennifer Stromer-Galley, Syracuse University) (Rm. 421)
    • Threatening or Sympathetic? The Cross-National Framing of the Syrian Mass Exodus. Abby Jones (Visiting Scholar, Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania).
    • Communist Party’s Soft Power in Cross-national Persuasion Videos: Shaping China’s Image among Overseas Audiences. Kecheng Fang (Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania) and Diana C. Mutz (Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania).
    • Ownership, Differential Framing and Attitudes to Labor Unions: Evidence from Two Experiments. Liam Kneafsey (Trinity College, Dublin).
    • Social Media Use and Fear Levels after the Paris 2015 Attacks. A Comparative Study. Shana Kushner Gadarian (Syracuse University),
      Kari Steen-Johnsen (Institute for Social Research, Oslo) and Bernard Enjolras (Institute for Social Research, Oslo).

 

 

 

  • Media and Political Engagement II (Chair: Lance Holbert, Temple University) (Rm. 422)
    • Ask Me Anything: How Elites Trigger Political Participation on Reddit. Galen Stocking (Pew Research Center), Michael Barthel (Pew Research Center), Jeff Gottfried (Pew Research Center), and Katerina Matsa (Pew Research Center).
    • Getting to the Grassroots: How Corporate Sponsored Activist Groups Are Covered in the News. Tim Wood (New York University).
    • Explaining Constituent Calls and Online Comments: The Role of Organized Interests in Grassroots Lobbying. Kelsey Shoub (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill) and John Cluverius (University of Massachusetts, Lowell).
    • Skipping Politics: Measuring Avoidance of Political Content in Social Media. Leticia Bode (Georgetown University), Emily Vraga (George Mason University), and Sonya Troller-Renfree (University of Maryland).
    • Internet Campaigning in Japan and Taiwan: A Comparative Institutional Approach. Shoko Kiyohara (Meiji University) and Chen Boyu (University of Niigata Prefecture).

 

  • 4:00PM to 5:00PM: “BIRDS OF A FEATHER” SESSIONS (Facilitated Open

Discussions among Interested Scholars)

 

  • #WomenAlsoKnowStuff (Room 420)
    • Facilitators
      • Amber Boydstun (University of California, Davis)
      • Samara Klar (University of Arizona)
      • Yanna Krupnikov (Stony Brook University)
      • Kathleen Searles (Louisiana State University)

 

  • Comparative Political Communication (Rm 421)
    • Facilitators
      • Kari Steen-Johnsen (Institute for Social Research, Oslo Norway)
      • Cristian Vaccari (University of London)

 

  • Digital Trace Data (Rm. 422)
    • Facilitators
      • Deen Freelon (American University)
      • Andrew Guess (New York University)
      • Andreas Jungherr (University of Konstanz)

 

  • 5:00PM to 5:30PM:        TRAVEL TO TEMPLE’S MAIN CAMPUS

 

  • 5:30PM to 6:45PM:        RECEPTION AT TEMPLE’S MAIN CAMPUS

(Location TBD)

Back from ECREA 2014

Back from a couple of interesting days at the 2014 ECREA conference in Lisbon.

I was on a panel organized by Jakob Linaa Jensen called “News Across Media : The Production and Consumption of News in a Cross-Media Perspective”, along with Bente Kalsnes, Mads Hvas Jensen, Einar Thorsen, and Jacob Ørmen.

Below is the abstract of the presentation (developed with Kim Schrøder) that I gave.

Changing forms of cross-media news consumption in Western Europe

Rasmus Kleis Nielsen (Roskilde University and the University of Oxford) & Kim Schrøder (Roskilde University)

News use across Western Europe is rapidly changing as traditional sources of news are increasingly supplemented and sometimes supplanted by digital media, and as relatively passive forms of media use are sometimes complemented with new forms of sharing, commenting, and creating.

In this paper, we analyze similarities and differences in news media use across Western Europe on the basis of data from a ten-country international survey (the Reuters Institute Digital News Report), examining, amongst other issues, the rise of mobile news as smartphone penetration in the span of a few years has surpassed fifty percent in many countries—including countries like Italy and Spain where internet use has otherwise lagged behind the EU15 average. The region is intellectually interesting because countries in Western Europe, despite their relative economic, media-technological, and political similarity continue to differ when it comes to how news is used, providing amble opportunities for comparative work on “political information environments” (Curran et al, 2009; Aalberg et al, 2010; Esser et al, 2012).

Based on a “most-similar” comparison looking specifically at data from within Western Europe, we identify three particularly important similarities in how news is used across the region, namely (1) the continuing centrality of “old” or “renewed” (Chadwick, 2013) media, (2) the parallel rise in the overall importance of digital media in an increasingly cross-media news environment, and (3) the increasing centrality of US-based global digital intermediaries like Google, Facebook, and Apple. We also, however, document significant country-to-country differences in the degree to which (1) citizens have embraced more active and participatory forms of news use and (2) the degree to which the digital incarnation of legacy news media retain a dominant position in terms of digital news provision.

We suggest that the differences identified can be related in part to interactions between new technological developments and inherited differences in the “media systems” (Hallin and Mancini, 2004) and “media cultures” (Hepp and Couldry, 2009) found in the countries in question, as well as to differences in overall confidence in the political institutions that most news coverage focuses on (Norris, 2011).

 

Digital Keywords Workshop – essay on “democracy”

My friend Ben Peters has organized a terrific workshop on “Digital Keywords” hosted at the University of Tulsa October 10-11 (check out the Twitter account and the hashtag #digitalkeywords for discussion).

I’ve written a draft entry on democracy. It is more an essay on how we might think about the relationship between digital technology and democracy than an overview-type etymology/conceptual history etc (Raymond Williams entry in his original Keywords provides that (PDF here), those looking for a history can look at John Keane’s rich and sprawling book “The Life and Death of Democracy”).

The whole entry is available here, the excerpt below gives an indication of the thrust of it—

“…much of the discussion around the relationship between digital information and communication technologies and democracy has focused too little on the question of what connections exists between digital technologies and actually existing, minimalist-vision democracy and too much on extensive discussion of the possible connections that might potentially be established between digital technologies and alternative, maximalist visions for democracy.”

I couldn’t make it to the workshop in person but Skyped in for two hours of discussion, and got tons of useful feedback and comments, especially from Guobin Yang who served as my discussant.

My idea of a great Saturday night (skyping into conference)

My idea of a great Saturday night–Skyping into Tulsa conference 9pm-11pm my time.

This is all work-in-progress and as Julia Sonnevend rightly noted in the discussion, given the equally minimalist thrust of my presentation on journalism in Groningen in June (which I’m also revising and elaborating on) there is a bit of a theme emerging here.

“The Unlovable Press” – Schudson goes to Groningen

Just back from Groningen and “The Unlovable Press”, a two-day event with more than forty scholars presenting work that builds on and engages with the work of Michael Schudson, my PhD advisor at Columbia.

I was a proud part of a panel with three other Schudson-Columbia alumni, C.W. Anderson, Julia Sonnevend, and Lucas Graves (the center of attention on the picture below), moderated by Silvio Waisbord, who worked with Michael at UC San Diego.Schudson

Each of us talked about a piece of Michael’s work that had been particularly important for us, Chris about the Origins of the Ideal of Objectivity in the Professions (parts ofwhich later became Discovering the News), Julia about Watergate and American Memory, Lucas about The Good Citizen, and myself about Why Democracies Need an Unlovable Press.

As so often before, I found it extremely useful to go back and read Michael before taking a stab at staking out a clear position on a big topic—here making the case for a “minimalist approach” to the role of journalism in democracy (outline below).

It was a great event, no doubt slightly uncomfortable for Michael, who never seems entirely at ease when the center of attention, but a real testament to his scholarship, which was also honored by the University of Groningen awarding him an honorary doctorate for his work.

There is a nice video of Michael talking about the “Saving Grace of Journalism” here, made for the occasion. The conference line-up is here.

Our (Anderson/Sonnevend/Graves/Nielsen) panel outline is below.

“Four Approaches to Michael Schudson”

CW Anderson, Lucas Graves, Rasmus Kleis Nielsen & Julia Sonnevend

Panel proposal for “The Unlovable Press: Conversations with Michael Schudson”

PANEL DESCRIPTION

In his introduction to The Good Citizen, Michael Schudson analogizes his approach to political history to that of a child learning the game of baseball for the first time. The point, he explains, is to understand past modes of citizenship not through timeless democratic theory, or even long-­‐standing political institutions, but by “directing attention to the instructions of the game itself”: the values and habits and rules, written and unwritten, that have guided everyday citizens today and in the past. This is a characteristic metaphor from a scholar who wears theory lightly but probes deeply into abiding questions of democratic life and culture. And it suggests a fitting approach to understanding the course of Schudson’s own scholarship, and how it fits into in the world of ideas — by setting aside broad labels to try to read the values and concerns reflected in three decades of writing on the media and the public sphere.

What is the “Schudsonian” approach to doing sociology and history? This panel offers four provisional answers to that question, each an attempt to define and then respond to the wider theoretical framework or political commitments one may read in Schudson’s work. The presenters, all former advisees, will organize the discussion as engagements with four key texts from Schudson’s work on the media and politics: his doctoral dissertation, “Origins of the Ideal of Objectivity in the Professions: Studies in the History of American Journalism and American Law, 1830-­‐1940” (originally 1976); Watergate in American Memory: How We Remember, Forget, and Reconstruct the Past (1993); The Good Citizen: A History of American Civic Life (1998); and the essay “Six or Seven Things News Can Do For Democracy,” in Why Democracies Need an Unlovable Press (2008).

These four texts span more than three decades of thinking about the press, politics, and public culture in the United States and more broadly. As entry points along that span they illuminate the range of methodologies and literatures that have informed Schudson’s scholarship — as a sociologist of public institutions, as a social and cultural historian, and as an observer of political life whose views incorporate classically liberal notions as well as the many critiques liberalism has invited. These texts offer a window onto Schudson’s engagement with questions at the center of intellectual inquiry: How should we as citizens and scholars understand the status of objective truth? What is the relationship between individual events and wider social forces, in a day’s news or a nation’s history? And finally, how should we read the long bend of democratic history, and the possibilities it suggests for meaningful action today by citizens, journalists, and scholars?

PAPER ABSTRACTS

Schudson as a Sociologist of Knowledge: Revisiting the Origins of Objectivity in Journalism (and Law)

CW Anderson

Excavating a doctoral thesis — even a published one — is a dangerous business for both thesis author and archaeological digger. Nevertheless, this paper revisits Schudson’s original doctoral work, “Origins of the Ideal of Objectivity in the Professions: Studies in the History of American Journalism and American Law, 1830-­‐1940,” half of which became Discovering the News. In part drawing on interviews with Schudson, this paper argues that “The Origins of the Ideal of Objectivity” places Schudson more firmly in the sociological tradition and serves as a useful, though occasionally problematic, resource for the current wave of studies on digital expertise.

On the Social Significance of the Statistically Insignificant: Michael Schudson’s Social Theory

Julia Sonnevend

In Watergate in American Memory, Michael Schudson argued that the social sciences avoid history, both the exceptional and the small-­‐but-­‐memorable moments of human existence. In contrast, Schudson’s writings carefully observe and somewhat anxiously admire the power of the singular, the earth-­‐shattering as well as minor events in public life. But is it possible to build a social theory dedicated to the “social significance of the statistically insignificant?” This is the central challenge of his scholarship and the topic I will explore in this paper.

The Monitorial Citizen in the Age of Fact-­Checking

Lucas Graves

In The Good Citizen, Michael Schudson argues that the politics of past eras have to be understood in their own terms — while also painting a picture of broad progress towards a democratic citizenship that is both reasoning and humane. This paper uses Schudson’s “monitorial citizen” to consider recent changes in the media-­‐political world, particularly the rise of professional fact-­‐checking groups. These developments are analyzed in light of two large questions: How does the monitorial citizen fair in a moment of abundant information but little consensus? And, what language does Schudson’s work give us for talking about moments or ways in which things seem to get worse?

The One Thing News Might Just Do for Democracy

Rasmus Kleis Nielsen

In an influential essay in Why Democracies Need an Unlovable Press, Michael Schudson outlines “Six or Seven Things News Can Do for Democracy”. In this paper, I will suggest that Schudson — who is more often attacked by radical democrats and critical theorists for being a timid liberal who demands too little — is in fact far too ambitious. I will argue that journalism, especially in its (in the Western world) increasingly diminished institutional state, can probably do only one truly distinct and important thing for democracy, namely make relatively accurate, accessible, relevant, and timely independently produced diverse information available about public affairs.

Crisis of Journalism Reconsidered—Barcelona workshop

Just arrived for “The Crisis of Journalism Reconsidered: Cultural Power” (May 2- 3), organized by Jeffrey Alexander, Elizabeth Butler Breese, and Maria Luengo at the Social Trends Institute.

The workshop aims to bring more culturally-oriented and sociological perspectives into play to understand contemporary journalism, and move beyond the tendency in some circles to focus mostly on economics and technology.

Not done reading all the papers yet, but a couple of highlights from the program (I’m sure there are other gems)—

  • Daniel Kreiss on journalism as “organized skepticism”. Work in progress, but I’m curious to hear more about this, not sure the profession is particularly skeptical, or even that we should wish it to be primarily skeptical.
  • Nikki Usher on how journalists’ professional preoccupation with scoops may be at least as much to blame for “hamsterization” as new technologies that enable more immediate publication, akin to Rod Tiffen’s work on what he calls journalism’s sometimes “institutionally perverse” competitive ethos.
  • Chris Anderson on how professional journalism in the US, in the 20th century almost aggressively ignorant of its audience, is coming to terms with an ever-growing number of forms of audience metrics, forms of audience engagement, etc that complicates it’s relation to the public it claims to and aims to serve.

My own paper is called “The Many Crises of Western Journalism” and presents a big-picture comparison of economic, professional, and symbolic crises in journalism across six affluent democracies.

The figure below summarize the general thrust of the empirical argument—Northern European countries like Finland and Germany do not yet face the economic and professional crises seen elsewhere, but there too, journalism faces a symbolic crisis as many people have low confidence in news. Mediterranean European countries like France and Italy have both an old and a new economic crisis to contend with (already weak industry hit hard by digital), a profession that has never developed the same kind of occupational autonomy from politics and proprietors seen elsewhere, and low confidence in news. In the US, journalism faces a new economic crisis connected to the rise of digital over the last years, challenges to the status of the profession itself, as well as a decades-old symbolic crisis of confidence as many people have little confidence in news.

In short, different kinds of crisis and different degrees of crises, but a common theme running across these otherwise different Western countries being low public confidence in much journalism (I rely on World Values Survey data for this, see also Jonathan Ladd’s detailed analysis of why American’s don’t trust the news).

I’ve left out of this whether some Western governments behavior towards journalism in itself represent a distinct additional crisis, see for example the report by the Committee to Protect Journalism “The Obama Administration and the Press: Leak investigations and surveillance in post-9/11 America” and the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers’ Report “UK Press Freedom Report”, also concerned with monitoring and pressure on journalists. Both makes for very worrying reading.

Preconference on qualitative political communication research

At this year’s International Communication Association conference in Seattle, David Karpf, Daniel KreissMatthew Powers and myself are organizing a preconference on the role of qualitative methods in political communication research.

We believe that qualitative methods like ethnographic field work, interviews, and focus groups that have contributed to many other fields of media and communication research (as well as to other social sciences like sociology) but have played a fairly marginal role in political communication research in recent years have much to contribute to our understanding of political communication processes.

The idea behind the conference originates with a piece Dave, Daniel and I presented at ICA 2013 in London calling for “A New Era of Field Research in Political Communication” (the full conference paper here, a shorter, revised version is coming out in Leah Lievrouw’s edited book Challening Communication Research, which collects the best papers from the 2013 London conference).

For the preconference, the three of us behind the paper teamed up with Matthew Powers, who has done very interesting research on NGOs and their PR strategies (see this piece, for example). All of us have done empirical research based in part or in whole on qualitative methods and all see ourselves as at least in part political communication researchers. Together, we wrote and issued a call for papers for a qualitative political communication preconference at the 2014 ICA, with the support and sponsorship of both the journalism studies section and the political communication section.

We’ve had a great response to the call, and on May 22, we’ll have 32 paper presentations in two parallel tracks as well as roundtable discussions and much more (see the program here), presenting empirical findings, discussing methods, and developing theory for understanding political communication in a changing media and communication environment.

Things are picking up speed as we get closer to our May conference–

On the qualitative political communication blog, we have a series of interviews about methods with some of the presenters.

The political communication report, has just published a feature about the preconference.

We expect to soon to be able to announce a publication venue for a special section consisting of the best papers from the conference.

Stay tuned…

UPDATE: The International Journal of Communication (IJoC) will publish a special section based on the conference. Thrilled, thrilled, thrilled. As the premier open-access communication journal and one with a strong commitment to interdisciplinary work and methodological diversity, it is the ideal forum for this.

Local journalism around the world: professional practices, economic foundations, and political implications

Below the program for a conference I’m organizing with Professor Robert G. Picard at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism on local journalism, to be held at the end of the month. Tons of interesting stuff being presented, much to be discussed as we tend to focus on developments in international and national journalism though of course much of the profession and industry remains local and regional and journalism plays an important role in many local communities.

Local journalism around the world: professional practices, economic foundations, and political implications

February 26-28, 2014RISJ

Conference hashtag #localjourn

 

Conference overview

Most journalism is practiced—and most news media organizations are based—at the local level. Yet journalism studies overwhelmingly focus on national and international journalism and most debates over the future of journalism remains oriented towards a limited number of exceptional and often nationally or internationally-oriented news media organizations. This focus limits our ability to understand journalism and its role in society. This conference focuses on local journalism around the world, exploring professional practices, economic foundations, and the social and political implications of local journalism as it is actually practiced today.

The conference is focused in particular on how local journalism is impacted by current technological changes, changes in the media industries, and changed in local communities and local governments. It includes both case studies and comparative analysis, both within-country comparisons between different regions and cross-country comparisons between local journalism in different national contexts.

The conference is focused on empirically-based work that advances our understanding of local journalism both within and across individual countries, and brings together 32 papers presenting research on 16 countries around the world.

The presenters deal with topics including the work conditions and everyday practices of local journalists, relations between local journalists and local business and political elites, the role of local media as part of communities, the journalistic, economic, and democratic track-record of locally-oriented media of various kinds, the role of social networking sites and new mobile media in local news production and use, how existing local and regional news organizations are dealing with current changes in the media business, and with new alternatives to established forms of local journalism (including hyperlocal websites and local non-profits).

Conference organizers

Professor Robert G. Picard, Director of Research, Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism

Rasmus Kleis Nielsen, Associate Professor of Political Communication, Roskilde University and Research Fellow, Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism

 

Program Details

Thursday February 27th (8.30-18.00)

Panel I – Local communicative spaces and media systems (9.15 – 11)

Rethinking local communicative spaces (Julie Firmstone and Stephen Coleman)

Normalization of journalism in local and regional American news systems (David Ryfe)

Increased importance of diminished newspapers for local journalism? (Rasmus Kleis Nielsen)

Local pure players in Southern France between journalistic diversity and economic constraints (Nikos Smyrnaios, Emmanuel Marty & Franck Bousquet)

Panel II – Local media ecosystems (11.15-13.00)

Mapping Local Media Ecosystems: A Comparative, Longitudinal, Cross-National Perspective (C. W. Anderson, Nancy Thumim, and Stephen Coleman)

Adaptation and innovation in metropolitan journalism: A comparative analysis of Toulouse, France and Seattle, Washington (USA) (Matt Powers, Sandra Vera Zambrano and Olivier Baisnee)

Narrating multiculturalism in Brussels (Florence Le Cam and David Domingo)

Ecosystem model applied to local media markets (Piet Bakker)

Panel III – Local journalism and local communities (14.00-15.45)

Are local newspaper chains local media? (Lenka Waschkova Cisarova)

Is it really homegrown? Understanding ‘local’ news in the digital age (Kristy Hess and Lisa Waller)

“Local” and “news” redefined (Bengt Engan)

Value of Hyperlocal Community News (Andy Williams, Dave Hart, Jerome Turner, Glyn Mottershead)

Panel IV – Local journalism opportunities (16.00-18.00)

Local identity in Print and Online News (Helle Sjoevag)

Localism as the new -ism? (Birgit Roe Mathiesen)

Local journalism–how online opportunities change professional practices (Sonja Kretzschmar and Verena Wassink)

I would cover this scandal if only I had the time (Roman Hummel, Susanne Kirchoff and Dimitri Prander)

Exploitation of technological developments from the Greek regional newspapers (Ioannis Angelou, Vasileios Katsaras and Andreas Veglis)

Friday February 28th (8.30-16.30)

Panel V – The business of local journalism (9.00-11.00)

Business approach and motivation of hyperlocals in the Netherlands (Marco van Kerkhoven and Piet Bakker)

Re-Inventing the Business of Community Journalism: New Models for the Digital Era (Penny Abernathy)

Evaluating Strategic Approaches to Competitive Displacement (Dobin Yim)

Local journalism as a business: comparative perspectives on commercial television stations in Serbia (Aleksanra Krstic)

Successful business models in local dailies (Antonis Skamnakis and George Tsouvakas)

Panel VI – Local journalism practices (11.15-13.15)

A print crisis or a local crisis (Ingela Wadbring and Annika Bergsstrom)

Local data journalism for newspapers in Germany (Andre Haller)

Participatory journalism in local newspapers in Germany (Annika Sehl)

Regional networking or not–use of Facebook by Dutch regional news media and their audiences (Sanne Hille and Piet Bakker)

Hyper local online media and influence of local politics in Dubrovnik (Mato Brautovic)

Panel VII – Local journalism in transition (14.00-16.00)

Intent and Practice are Seldom the Same Thing–study of third-sector journalism in UK and Germany (Daniel Mutibwa)

Interpreted Meaning of the Global Journalist (David Bockino)

YourAnonNews and Hashtag Leverage (Jonathan Albright and Amelia Acker)

Local media in a post-democratization context: the case study of local commercial radio in Serbia (Ana Milojevic and Aleksandra Ugrinic)

Role of social networking sites in Australian journalism production (Saba Bebawi and Diana Bossio)

Varieties of online gatekeeping

This week, I’ll be at the Rethinking Journalism II workshop organized by Chris Peters and others at Groningen University in the Netherlands.

I’ll speak Friday about varieties of online gatekeeping, and how we might analyze them. I don’t have the answer, but I’m working around ways of asking the question in a way that is intellectually interesting and practically useful, so I’m looking forward to feedback and suggestions, from the workshop participants, and from others interested in the topic.

My starting point is the notion of “gatekeeping”, used by journalism scholars to capture how news organizations filter information before it is passed on to users, and the observation that news organizations no longer occupy as central or singular a role as they have in the past in terms of doing this filtering work, as people increasingly rely on search engines like Google and social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter as ways of accessing news.

Sometimes, people will talk about these digital offerings as ways of getting “direct” access to information, as examples of “disintermediation”, but of course, Google and Facebook too filters information, based on for example the PageRank algorithm and the EdgeRank algorithm. If we want to understand how journalism works today and how people get informed about public affairs, we need to understand both these new digital intermediaries as forms of online gatekeepers, and we need to examine their interplay with more traditional forms of editorial gatekeeping.

Below is an extended version of the abstract I’ve submitted. I’ll be working on this in the spring, both on getting the question right and on actually making progress on fleshing it out empirically, so any and all comments are welcome.

Varieties of online gatekeeping: a cross-national comparative analysis of news media websites, search engines, and social networking sites as gateways to news

By Rasmus Kleis Nielsen (Roskilde University and the University of Oxford)

News media organizations like newspapers and broadcasters have long functioned as gatekeepers between news and audiences, but with the rise of digital media, the search engines and social networking sites that are central to how most people navigate online increasingly complement news media organizations as gatekeepers shaping what is displayed as news.

Journalism scholars have traditionally focused on the role of journalists and news media as gatekeepers (see e.g. Shoemaker et al, 2009), but a growing number of researchers (e.g. Barzilai-Nahon, 2008; Chin-Fook and Simmonds, 2001; Hintz, 2012; Introna and Nissenbaum, 2000) have highlighted the need for a broader approach to gatekeeping in wider networked information environments where technology is increasingly integral to traditional gatekeeping practices (Anderson, 2011; Thurman, 2011; Coddington and Holton, 2013; Meraz and Papacharissi, 2013) and where non-journalistic actors too serve as gates between news and audiences.

In this paper, I adopt such a broader approach and outline three varieties of online gatekeeping that each integrate different technologies in the gatekeeping process, but do so in different ways and for different purposes. The three varieties are (1) editorially-based gatekeeping processes (typically defining what information is displayed as news on news media websites), (2) link-based gatekeeping processes (the core of how search engines like Google select what information is displayed as news), and (3) affinity-based forms of gatekeeping (the operating principle behind how social networking sites like Facebook determine what information to display in users’ news feed).

Journalists, often working in legacy news media organizations, still play a key gatekeeping role in terms of defining what information constitutes “news”, and news media websites remain amongst the most important gateways to news online. But they are increasingly supplemented by other, second-order online gatekeepers like search engines and social networking sites that, while rarely producing original content defined as “news”, increasingly serve as alternative and supplementary gateways shaping, through link-based or affinity-based gatekeeping processes, what information people come across as news online. Even as journalists and news media may feel they are being “dis-intermediated”, new digital intermediaries are arising (Pariser, 2011; Foster, 2012; Nielsen, 2013).

On the basis of the Reuters Institute Digital News study (Newman and Levy, 2013), a representative survey of online news users conducted in 2013, I proceed from these three varieties of online gatekeeping to present a cross-national comparative analysis of their relative importance in seven developed democracies with different media systems (Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the UK and the US).

The comparative analysis demonstrates significant variation in the relative importance of each type of online gatekeeper from country to country as well as in-country variation by age, but also documents that search engines and social networking sites (overwhelmingly Google and Facebook) have in less than a decade come to rival news media websites in importance as gateways to news across all the seven countries covered.

Editorially-based online gatekeepers are the most widely used way of finding news online in countries like Denmark and the UK (with strong newspaper brands and public service broadcasters), link-based online gatekeepers (overwhelmingly Google) represent the most widely used gateway to news in countries like France and Italy (with weaker newspapers and public service broadcasters), and affinity-based online gatekeepers (most importantly Facebook) are the most widely used gateway to news amongst online news users in Spain (currently experiencing a major crisis of institutional legitimacy impacting legacy media as well as political institutions).

Editorially-based gatekeepers will remain important for the foreseeable future (especially as television remains the number one source of news for most people in most countries). But as online news become a more and more important part of people’s cross-media news habits in most countries, link-based and affinity-based online gatekeepers are likely to become more important parts of our networked news environment, raising new questions concerning what media pluralism means in an increasingly convergent world, concerning what information is made available to citizens and how, and concerning the future journalism and its role in democracy.

Future of Journalism, Cardiff Conference round-up

I spent the last two days in Cardiff for Bob Franklin’s biannual journalism studies conference hosted by the School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies (JOMEC). Lots of good stuff and great to see folks and catch up on interesting work being done around the world. (Full program here, abstracts of all papers here.)

Three take-aways from panels and discussions I attended (more at #FoJ2013 on Twitter for those interested)—

First, local and regional journalism and news information environments–

It was very refreshing to see several very good pieces of empirical research on the particular questions concerning local and regional journalism and news information environments in different contexts. I was particularly impressed with the work being done by Andy Williams and colleagues on local and hyperlocal journalism in the UK, Julie Firmstone and Stephen Coleman’s work-in-progress on the local information environment in Leeds (including studies of the city council, legacy news, and new digital sites), as well as research by Piet Bakker and colleagues from the Netherlands on developments there. Very good stuff. It would be great to see more studies from other countries so we can develop a more comparative understanding of what is going on with local news and information environments in different contexts. (Some work has been done in the US too.)

Second,the ubiquity of the New York Times–

It is clear that the New York Times continues to hold enormous sway over the imagination of both journalists and journalism studies scholars thinking about digital and digital strategy. As Piet Bakker rightly remarked after Robert Picard’s keynote lecture, “everyone talks about the same three examples: the New York Times, financial newspapers like the Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times, and the Guardian.” Of course, all of these are highly unusual cases, from which we can probably learn relatively little about how digital is developing and working out for other news organizations, including top titles in small national markets (that is, much of Western Europe), but also, apropos my point above, local and regional newspapers like the Western Mail in Wales (studied by Williams et al), the Yorkshire Post (studied by Firmstone and Coleman), and their equivalents in other countries. As I’ve argued before—as many others have—even if we have to recognize the empirical fact that the New York Times figures prominently in how lots of people talk and think about digital strategy, the actual news organization and company itself probably can’t even tell us much about how other US newspapers are faring, let alone how newspapers elsewhere are faring. There’s an analogy here to the role for example the Barack Obama campaign plays in discussions of digital politics. (As Oscar Westlund pointed out in one discussion, it’s well known from studies of organizational learning that you often make your biggest mistakes when you learn from the wrong examples.)

Third,lots of good, theoretically and methodologically diverse, work on digital–

Journalism studies continues to catch up on digital, lots of good work on innovation, the integration of new technologies in newsrooms and work practices, how ordinary people engage with news etc through digital, and also some work across platforms that takes digital seriously without giving up on legacy or ignoring legacy media’s enduring importance. The field of journalism studies, from my impression, has done a better job of overcoming sharp analogue/digital distinctions and “old media”/”new media” binaries than many other areas of media and communication studies including, I hate to admit as someone who also has an intellectual home there, parts of political communication research. In part, it is good to see how a conference like this draws not only people who consider themselves journalism studies scholars, but also a sizable contingent of audience researchers (very interesting papers by Regina Marchi from the US and by Tim Groot Kormelink and Irene Costera Meier from the Netherlands on tailor-made news), a few media economists, people studying management, etc. This kind of diversity is surely a necessary part of understanding journalism today.