Category Archives: Conferences

Take-aways from Google’s DNI Berlin

November 17, I attended a Google Digital News Initiative event in Berlin, where a new round of €24 million in grants was announced and developments in media discussed with various publishers from across Europe. (More on the winners here – lot’s of interesting initiatives.)

30 minutes took me from Tegel airport and its abundant offer of local printed newspapers to a conversation focused on the future of media and news.


It was an interesting event with very good group of attendees, lively discussions during the sessions and even more so during the breaks.

My take-aways (check #dniberlin for more discussion)—

Journalism remains challenging and news a tough business, but both are important and I take 3 positive things from what I heard and conversation with various publishers.

  • First, it is great to see a gradual move beyond vague talk of “innovation” to how leaders can encourage it, how everyone in an organization needs to engage for it to succeed, and to how new and more diverse skills are needed. This is in line with what Lucy Kung’s research has found and others working on change and innovation too and it is good to see more publishers embrace these ideas—even as innovation and change in practice remains difficult and the environment continues to change faster than many publishers have been able to change themselves.
  • Second, more and more news media are embracing the idea that you need to try things, test them, evaluate, and repeat to constantly adapt and learn. This is a move away from the tendency to talk about and perhaps in practice focus on big-bang type initiatives that takes months to develop and require lots of resources and often in-fighting and resistance, to a greater focus on all the little things one can do to constantly try to improve and adapt, and how one can both empower decentral teams to try things while also having ways of deciding what to go ahead with and what not.
  • Third, there is obviously competition and even conflict between different actors in the wider ecosystem, but also a real interest in collaboration, in identifying synergies and win-win scenarios. No one can “go it alone”, so news media, technology companies, and other actors including foundations, non-profits, and universities need to find each other and find ways of working together.

News media are frequently criticized for being conservative and slow to change. Many of them are, and the pace of change and the pain of collapsing revenues in itself neither explains nor excuses this.

But it is also important to recognize that, as Alessio Cornia, Annika Sehl and I have found in our research on how private sector media and public service media across Europe are adapting to change that some of them have both (a) invested a lot in digital media and (b) build very significant audiences, produced great journalism, and in some cases found promising business opportunities.

Not everyone is equally conservative. And some of those who have tried more aggressively to change have done demonstrably better. A few media companies seem content to die with their current aging (print/broadcast) audience without fighting to build a digital future, but that is, thankfully, not the general outlook.

On the technology side, Google gave short presentations of various products, including the Accelerated Mobile Pages project, YouTube player for publishers, and various products around monetization.

The two most interesting things gauging from what people were buzzing about during the breaks were—

  • Rudy Galfi (Product Manager for the AMP Project)’s presentation on the development of “Progressive Web Apps” that aim to combine the discoverability (through links, search, social etc.) of the open web with the engagement and good user experience of native apps. As publishers think about scale versus niche, and about building reach and converting people to loyal (and potentially profitable) users, this is an important area.


  • The demo by Behshad Behzadi (Director of Conversational Search) of Google Assistant, an attempt to “build the ultimate assistant” by developing a personal virtual AI assistant that can be controlled by voice and provide highly contextual, personalized, interactive information and services. It is being rolled out initially via the Google Pixel smartphone and the Google Home smart speaker, but will be available across smartphones, wearables and more in the future. As Laurence Kozera (Google Global Product Partnerships) put it, “as news publishers, you should be thinking ‘voice’ right now, and how you can integrate it into assistants”. And from December, developers can build “actions” for Google Assistant. As the content  will be delivered via the assistant, publishers will wonder about the usual issues around distributed content–recognizing the opportunity, but also wonder about editorial control over brand identity, access to data, and opportunities for monetization.



Platforms and publishers – my 2016 ECREA keynote

I was honored to be one of the keynote speakers at the 2016 ECREA conference in Prague. I spoke on the basis of research I am doing with Sarah Ganter on the relationship between news media organizations and digital intermediaries like search engines and social media.

Extended abstract and my slides below.

Publishers and platforms

Rasmus Kleis Nielsen, keynote lecture at ECREA 2016 in Prague

What does the continued, global rise of platforms like Google and Facebook mean for public communication in a new digital media environment, and for how we research and understand public communication? That is one of the central questions facing the field of communication research today. In this lecture, I examine the relationship between publishers and platforms as one key part of how the rise of digital intermediaries is playing out, and show how news media—like many others—are becoming simultaneously increasingly empowered by and dependent upon a small number of centrally placed and powerful platforms beyond their control (and with whom they compete for attention and advertising). I develop the notion of “platform power” to begin to capture key aspects of the enabling, generative, and productive power of platforms that set them apart from other actors. As a range of different intermediaries including search engines, social media, and messaging apps become more and more important in terms of how people access and find information online, and in turn restructure the digital media environment itself, communication research is faced with a set of interlocking questions concerning both our intellectual work and our public role. The intellectual questions include the need to understand how people use these platforms to engage with public communication, but also institutional questions including how different platforms engage with other players (like publishers) and how these other players in turn adapt to the rise of platforms, as well as political questions concerning the implications of their rise. The question concerning our public role concerns how existing ways of doing and communicating communication research fits with our ability to understand—and help others understand—an opaque and rapidly-evolving set of processes profoundly reshaping our media environments.

Normative Theory in Communication Research ICA pre-conference

We are at it again — with Chris Anderson, Daniel Kreiss, Dave Karpf, and Matt Powers, I’m organizing an ICA pre-conference on the role of normative theory in communication research. Conference website here. Call for papers below.

Call for Papers

Normative Theory in Communication Research Pre-conference

2017 International Communication Association Annual Conference

May 25, 2017 – 8:00am-4:30pm

Department of Communication, University of California, San Diego

Normative theories of democracy in communication research across its various subfields rarely receive explicit treatment. Often, researchers simply imply their normative standpoints through the research questions they ask about ‘participation,’ ‘civility,’ ‘two-sided information flows,’ ‘knowledgeable citizens,’ ‘rational debate and deliberation,’ ‘polarization and partisanship,’ ‘interactivity,’ and ‘quality information.’

The normative implications of many of these concepts rest on implicit assumptions about democracy, how it works, and more importantly, how it should work. When communication scholars explicitly discuss their normative models of democracy, they tend to be deliberative, following the guiding theorist of the field, Jurgen Habermas, and rich veins of deliberative research work by scholars such as James Fishkin. More common, however, is research that implicitly holds up rational debate among disinterested, non-partisan citizens premised on quality information as the normative ideal. Meanwhile, when scholars do not explicitly embrace deliberation, they tend to hold up an ill-defined, procedural idea of participation as the ultimate democratic value, often without any consideration of the ends towards which it is directed.

While deliberative theory and vague ideas of participation continue to hold significant appeal in communication research, are they the only models?  And, indeed, should they be? In the past two decades there has been a tremendous flowering of normative work in other fields that casts new light on democracy itself.  Social movement scholars have argued forcefully for the importance of contentious politics, emotion, identity, and culture to the practice and promise of democracy. Sociologists have argued that ‘civility’ often serves to cut-off critique and frankness should be valued as an alternative. Political theorists have embraced the normative importance of spectatorship in contrast to deliberation and participation, invoking communication research around media events. Others have worked to reclaim the value of partisanship in an era of extremist, single-issue civil society organizations. Meanwhile, some scholars have sought to re-establish the value of representation, while others have argued strongly for the value of agonism as the proper domain of the political.

With few exceptions, communication research has not explicitly engaged with its underlying normative models of democracy. In this pre-conference, we seek to bring communication scholars together to spark a conversation on the normative foundations of scholarship and move the field towards more sophisticated models of democracy. Through invited speakers, peer-reviewed papers, and critical discussants, we seek to make democracy and normative theories our object of analysis.

Confirmed participants include Cherian George (Hong Kong Baptist University), Claes de Vreese (University of Amsterdam), Michael Schudson (Columbia University), Jennifer Stromer-Galley (Syracuse University), Talia Stroud (UT Austin), Silvio Waisbord (George Washington University), and Barbie Zelizer (University of Pennsylvania).

Call for Extended Abstracts

We are looking for submissions that interrogate the democratic foundations of communication research across its various subfields. These can include articles on the history of normative models of democracy in the field, original theoretical papers that propose democratic frameworks or synthesize work in adjacent fields, or empirical papers that made a significant theoretical contribution to democratic theory in the field of communication.

Extended abstracts (up to 4,000 characters including spaces) should be submitted via the Normative Theory in Communication Research website by January 15, 2017.

The organizers – C.W. Anderson (CUNY), David Karpf (George Washington University), Daniel Kreiss (UNC-Chapel Hill), Rasmus Nielsen (Oxford University), and Matthew Powers (University of Washington) – will make decisions on accepted papers by February 15th. Full papers will be due in advance of the pre-conference on May 25, 2017.

There is no cost to attend this pre-conference and lunch and refreshments will be provided. Registration is required.


Department of Communication, University of Washington

Department of Media Culture, CUNY-CSI

Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, University of Oxford

School of Media and Journalism, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

School of Media and Public Affairs, George Washington University

ICA Communication and Technology Division

ICA Journalism Studies Division

ICA Political Communication Division

Draft Schedule

8:00 – 8:15am

Arrival and coffee

8:15 – 9:30am

PANEL 1: Reviewed Submissions, Paper Presentations

9:45 – 11:00am

PANEL 2: Reviewed submissions, Paper Presentations

11:15 – 12:30pm

PANEL 3: Reviewed Submissions, Paper Presentations


Lunchtime Journal Editors Panel on the Role of Normative Theory in Research

2:00 – 3:15pm

PANEL 4: Reviewed Submissions, Paper Presentations


Plenary Panel on Democratic Theory in Communication Research

2016 Int’ Journal of Press/Politics Conference


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.




 9.00-10.30                   Panels 1a and 1b 



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




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



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




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




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







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




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




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




9.00-10.30       Keynote lecture by Katrin Voltmer


11.00-12.30                 Panels 5a and 5b



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,





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)




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





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.





DATE:                       Wednesday August 31st

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


  • 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.



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



(Rm. 222)


  • CHAIR: Regina Lawrence (School of Journalism and Communication, University of Oregon)
    • 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 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



(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.