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Session 3A [clear filter]
Tuesday, July 12
 

14:45

Session 3A: Journalism & Propaganda
Location: PSH (Professor Stuart Hall Building) - LG02, 
Goldsmiths, University of London, Building 2
Campus Map 


Moderators
avatar for Dr. Dhiraj Murthy

Dr. Dhiraj Murthy

Reader of Sociology, Goldsmiths, University of London
Dhiraj Murthy’s current research explores social media, virtual organizations, digital ethnography, and big data quantitative analysis. His work on social networking technologies in virtual breeding grounds was funded by the National Science Foundation, Office of CyberInfrastructure... Read More →

Tuesday July 12, 2016 14:45 - 16:15
PSH (Professor Stuart Hall Building) - LG02 Goldsmiths University, Building 2

14:46

An Information Visualization System to Assist News Topics Exploration with Social Media
Location: PSH (Professor Stuart Hall Building) - LG02, 
Goldsmiths, University of London, Building 2
Campus Map 

Contributors:
  • Ching-Ya Lin, Computer Science Department, National Chengchi University, Taiwan
  • Tsai-Yen Li, Computer Science Department, National Chengchi University, Taiwan
  • Pailin Chen, Department of Journalism, National Chengchi University, Taiwan

With the popularity of social media, journalists often collect news materials from mass user-generated contents. However, with the outbreak of social media data, it is not easy for a journalist to see the whole picture of an event from the huge amount of data. If they only use the social media as a news source, the reported content may often become a copied view of the users, or fall into the stereotype of one-sided discussions. Aiming at improving this problem, our study uses Twitter data as an example to develop an information system to assist journalists to explore events, collect materials, and find news topics with social media. We use network analysis and natural language processing techniques to analyze the collected data and visualize the story elements. We have developed four story elements models to support different ways of exploring the data. We let the users adjust the weights on the importance of these models to retrospect the context of tweets and help users find news topics. We have designed a two-phase experiment with questionnaires to assess the appropriateness of the system. We allow the participants with various degrees of familiarity with the event to explore news topics on our system. The experimental results show that the participants have found the system to be useful and easy to use, and the journalists can explore news topics and track events in a much faster fashion. 

Tuesday July 12, 2016 14:46 - 16:15
PSH (Professor Stuart Hall Building) - LG02 Goldsmiths University, Building 2

14:46

Networked Media and Citizen Journalism in Tunisia. Insight from An European Project
Location: PSH (Professor Stuart Hall Building) - LG02, 
Goldsmiths, University of London, Building 2
Campus Map 

Contributor: Andrea Miconi, IULM University, Italy

The speech will focus on the results of the Tempus European Project eMEDia dedicated to Cross-Media Journalism. The project is founded by the European Commission as it involves four European partners - IULM University, Tampere University, University of Barcelona, and the Mediterranean network Unimed - and three Tunisian Universities – IPSI La Manouba, Sfax and Sousse – along with the Tunisian Ministry for Higher Education and the National Syndicate of Journalists. The focus on Tunisian condition is basically due to the role played by digital activists in its recent history.

The research is dedicated to the relationship between political participation, news-making practices and the spread of social media, as it is affecting Tunisian society. As we know, Tunisia during the Arab Spring had been widely considered as a laboratory for the analysis the use of new technologies for political participation. Nonetheless, the literature about the Arab Spring actually fell short in explaining the genesis of the phenomenon, on the one hand by isolating technologies as a casual factor in the spread of demonstrations, and on the other by analyzing North-African condition through a biased perspective. Nowadays, it is interesting to focus on the consolidation of the information environment three years after the uprisings. And what is relevant, only a close, in- depth analysis of Tunisian society is able to provide an explanation of its history, and namely of the part of digital media in the overall evolution of political system. That is why the research is based on different methodologies: desk stage, interviews, and in-depth analysis of communication practices.

Networked journalism is the condition determined by the technological innovation on news-making activities: a condition upon which professional journalist can no longer be considered the only player in the information arena, and a new skill must be developed. Along with democratization, nonetheless, the so-called citizen journalism is also likely to produce some ambiguous effects, such as the lack of professional standards and the spread of information cascades, which may prove to be particularly dangerous in an evolving media market as the Tunisian one. This is why, according to the project, a new profile must be defined, which is able to manage this new condition, and which can be hardly reduced to the parameters of traditional journalistic work. Rather than simply using new devices for news visualization, communication professionals must also be able to dialogue with all new players and to accept the decentralized nature of digital environments. This networked nature of news- making seemed to emerge during the Tunisian revolution, when bloggers, journalists and activists used to retweet each other. Nonetheless, this intensification of communication exchange was inspired by the political climax of the uprising, while all media, by definition, are also supposed to bring some effects on people’s state of mind, culture and daily life routines. That is why it is worth analyzing the consolidation of these practices in a normal, post- revolutionary situation. 


Tuesday July 12, 2016 14:46 - 16:15
PSH (Professor Stuart Hall Building) - LG02 Goldsmiths University, Building 2

14:46

Redefining Propaganda in the Internet Age: Social Media Wars between ISIS and the US
Location: PSH (Professor Stuart Hall Building) - LG02, 
Goldsmiths, University of London, Building 2
Campus Map 

Contributors:
  • Ebru Kayaalp, Istanbul Sehir University, Turkey 
  • Jack Jurich, Independent Researcher, USA
Background: 

Easy and relatively unrestricted access to the Internet has introduced numerous transformations in the way individuals interact with each other and their environment. Prominent among these changes are those related to communication studies and its substrata of propaganda. A large number of studies, which have analyzed the online terrorist propaganda activities, discuss the issue within the framework of how the terrorists ‘use’ or ‘exploit’ new media technologies for their purposes (Cohen-Almagor, 2013; Conway, 2006; Denning, 2010; Weimann, 2004; 2006). What is strongly highlighted in these studies is the instrumental role of the Internet in facilitating the success of terrorist propaganda. In contrast to this standard view of social media and Internet as a medium of communication, we offer an alternative perspective of human and technical actors as being mutually intertwined and equally possessed of agency in the process of propagandistic communications. 
 
Objective: 

This study examines how new media has facilitated sweeping changes across the entire spectrum of propaganda, ranging from production and dissemination to reception. Drawing on Actor Network Theory, an alternative view to traditional conceptualizations of the processes involved in the making of propaganda is presented. The applicability to Internet of the traditional unidirectional model of propaganda as Sender, Message and Receiver is questioned, and juxtaposed to the nondeterministic perspective that an Actor Network model offers. The online propaganda and counterpropaganda campaigns currently being waged by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and the US State Department are presented and contrasted as examples of the old and new models of propaganda. 

Methods: 

Drawing on works from Science and Technology Studies, especially the works of Bruno Latour (1987, 1991, 2005), the study takes into account factors such as, decentralization of sources, democratization of actors, flexibility of the network with its focus on the entire propaganda making process. In contrast to the functionalist understanding, which considers the Internet as a ‘tool’ used by human beings in disseminating the messages, it regards the Internet as an actual ‘actor’ in the design and shaping of propaganda. That is to say, it is Internet that is the main actor in transforming the nature of terrorist propaganda. 

Results: 

This work-in-progress paper suggests that Internet has not only vastly increased the ease of access and extent of dissemination but more importantly, due to the inclusion of myriad actors, it has radically transformed the way propaganda is being made. Through an analysis of the social media campaigns being waged by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and the US State Department, we argue that the Internet has brought about a shift in the field of propaganda.

References:

Cohen, Almagor R. (2012). In Internet’s way: Radical, terrorist Islamists on the free highway. International Journal of Cyber Warfare and Terrorism, 2(3), 39-58.

Conway, M. (2006). Terrorist use of the Internet and fighting back. An International Journal, 19, 9-30.

Denning, D E. (2010). Terror’s web: How the Internet is transforming terrorism. In: Jewkes Y and Yar M (eds). Handbook of Internet Crime. Devon: Willan Publishing, pp: 194-213.

Latour, B. (1987). Science in action: How to follow scientists and engineers through society. Harvard University Press: Harvard.

Latour, B. (1991) Society is technology made durable: In Law J (ed). A sociology of monsters: Essays on power, technology and domination. Routledge: London.

Latour, B. (2005). Reassembling the social: An introduction to Actor-Network Theory. New York: Oxford University Press.

Weimann, G. (2004). www.terror.net. How modern terrorism uses the Internet. United States Institute of Peace Report, March.

Weimann, G. (2006) Virtual disputes: The use of the Internet for terrorist debates. Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, 29 (7): 623-639. 



Tuesday July 12, 2016 14:46 - 16:15
PSH (Professor Stuart Hall Building) - LG02 Goldsmiths University, Building 2

14:46

The affordance effect: Gatekeeping and (non)reciprocal journalism on Twitter
Location: PSH (Professor Stuart Hall Building) - LG02, 
Goldsmiths, University of London, Building 2
Campus Map 

Contributors:
  • Jacob Groshek, Boston University, United States
  • Edson Tandoc, Nanyang Technical University, Singapore

This study examines contemporary gatekeeping as it intersects with the evolving technological affordances of social media platforms and the ongoing negotiation of professionalized journalistic norms and routines in contentious politics. Beginning with a corpus of just over 4.2 million Tweets about the racially charged Ferguson, Missouri protests, a series of network analyses were applied to track shifts over time and to identify influential actors in this communicative space. These models informed further analyses that indicated legacy news organizations and affiliated journalists were least present and only marginally engaged in covering these events, and that other users on Twitter emerged as far more prominent gatekeepers. Methodological considerations and implications about the importance of dialogic and reciprocal activities for journalism are discussed. 

Tuesday July 12, 2016 14:46 - 16:15
PSH (Professor Stuart Hall Building) - LG02 Goldsmiths University, Building 2