Call for papers, APSA Information Technology & Politics Division

logoI am honored to serve as 2019 program chair for the Information Technology & Politics Division of the American Political Science Association.

The conference will be held in Washington, DC from August 29 until September 1, 2019. The deadline for abstract submissions is is Tuesday, January 15, 2019, at 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time.

Here is the division call for papers. Please consider submitting an abstract via the conference website.

The Information Technology & Politics section invites paper, panel and roundtable proposals relating to research on any manifestation of political activity that revolves around, or is shaped by, digital media and information technology, broadly construed. We particularly encourage proposals connecting to the APSA 2019 conference theme of “Populism and Privilege”. Theme-related questions that can be addressed by authors in the ITP section include, but are not limited to, the following: How are populist leaders and parties taking advantage of digital media to set agendas, frame issues, mobilize supporters, and persuade voters? Are supporters of populist political actors using digital media in ways that are distinctive compared with the rest of the electorate, and towards what political ends? Are populist political actors mobilizing new cadres of activists and voters, and is political equality strengthened or weakened as a result? What can we learn about the complex and interdependent contemporary media ecosystem by studying how populist political actors and their supporters engage with information technologies? What role are the affordances of digital media playing in facilitating or hindering the spread of different types of populist messages and worldviews? The section encourages ambitious proposals that tackle underexplored questions based on innovative theoretical backgrounds and appropriate research designs. The section emphasizes methodological pluralism and invites submissions based on a wide variety of social science research methods.

Call for Proposals: Digital Threats to Democracy

I am very excited to be working with the Media and Democracy program of the Social Science Research Council on a workshop that will bring together scholars aiming to understand and offer solutions for various challenges for democracies raised by digital media. We will convene the workshop in New York on June 13-14, 2019. The deadline to apply is February 3, 2019. A selection of the workshop proceedings will be published in a special issue of the International Journal of Press/Politics after peer review.

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Here are the full details (cross-posted from the SSRC website).

OVERVIEW

In recent years, democracies appear to have been caught off guard by pitfalls associated with the rise of digital media. Issues such as mass surveillance, disinformation, declining trust in journalism, challenges to journalistic institutions, electoral interference, partisan polarization, and increasing toxicity online threaten democratic norms, institutions, and governance. While these phenomena have raised widespread concerns in the United States and have been the subject of vast bodies of US-centric research, there is much to be learned from addressing these issues in a comparative perspective—by studying digital media and politics both inside and outside the US and highlighting generalizable implications.

While the media and political system in the United States function in ways that are quite different from most Western democracies, to the point that many have spoken of “American exceptionalism,” the United States is not alone in experiencing political pressures associated with the rise of digital media. Not only have other countries also experienced high levels of polarization, substantial foreign interference, erosion of democratic norms, and weak media institutions; sometimes these developments occurred and required political responses well before the same issues became politically heated topics in the United States.

Comparative research, both across time and across space, can shed light on how countries adapt and respond to digital threats to democracy. How can democratic competition, representation, and inclusiveness be safeguarded amidst challenges to their foundations? What lessons might we learn from countries, including nondemocratic ones, that have been dealing with these issues longer than the US?

WORKSHOP THEME

To encourage comparative research on the impact of digital media on democratic processes and institutions, the Media & Democracy program at the Social Science Research Council invites submission of abstracts for a research workshop organized in collaboration with Cristian Vaccari (Loughborough University), to be held in New York City on June 13–14, 2019.

The workshop aims to explore the impact of the rise of digital media on politics by asking three key sets of questions. First, what insights can we glean from comparing liberal democracies to one another? How have these regimes approached the frequently competing goals of protecting free speech, privacy, and anonymity; regulating political speech on digital media; ensuring fair elections; and promoting competitive digital markets? Second, what lessons can we learn from the experiences of countries where liberal and democratic norms cannot be taken for granted? In all cases, how do existing political and media institutions shape the political impact of, and responses to, digital disruptions and threats?

We invite submissions that make both theoretical and empirical contributions to existing bodies of knowledge in the comparative study of political communication, elections, public opinion, digital media, and democracy. Potential themes may include the following:

Disinformation Campaigns: How is the propagation of (or accusation of propagating) disinformation used to damage opponents and mislead or confuse segments of the public? How are these strategies resisted in practice?

Surveillance: What is the relationship between the need for connectivity and the need for privacy? What are the consequences of failing constitutional, regulatory, or normative protections of privacy?

Violence and Intimidation: What are the implications of the fact that mechanisms that allow citizens to coordinate collective action can also facilitate violence against other citizens? Are journalists, politicians, and activists more vulnerable to threats and coercion when professional norms require they maintain a social media presence that potentially exposes them to abuse and limits their privacy?

Mobile Politics: What are the implications for political equality of the global growth in mobile online connectivity, especially among sectors of the population that do not use computers? What are the implications of easy-to-use, ephemeral, and encrypted mobile communication for political discourse, mobilization, and engagement?

Platform Politics: How well can US-born or US-centric platforms respond to democratic challenges in other countries? Should digital platforms provide bespoke solutions to non-US problems, and how can they accomplish that?

TRAVEL AND ACCOMMODATION EXPENSES

The organizers will coordinate and pay for travel and accommodation for all invited participants.

PUBLICATION OF SELECTED PROCEEDINGS IN THE INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF PRESS/POLITICS

A selection of participants in the workshop will be invited to submit full manuscripts of up to 8,000 words for publication in a special issue of the International Journal of Press/Politics (IJPP), subject to peer review. IJPP is an interdisciplinary journal for the analysis and discussion of the role of the press and politics in a globalized world. The journal publishes theoretical and empirical research that analyzes the linkages between the news media and political processes and actors around the world, emphasizes international and comparative work, and links research in the fields of political communication and journalism studies and the disciplines of political science and media and communication.

Website: http://journals.sagepub.com/home/hijb

Editor-in-Chief: Dr. Cristian Vaccari, Loughborough University, c.vaccari@lboro.ac.uk

TO APPLY

Please send the following materials to mdapplications@ssrc.org by February 3. Please include “Application for Digital Threats to Democracy” in the subject line.

  • Current C.V. of maximum two pages.
  • An abstract of up to 500 words. The abstract should clearly outline the main theoretical and/or empirical contribution of the paper, as well as identifying the (types of) countries the contribution aims to shed light on.

Two PhD Studentships at the Online Civic Culture Centre at Loughborough University

I am very excited to announce two PhD studentships to study the spread of online misinformation and disinformation at Loughborough University’sOnline Civic Cultures Centre, which we launched this year.

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One project, co-supervised by Andrew Chadwick, Martin Sykora, and myself, focuses on “Understanding the Spread of Online Misinformation That Rejects Scientific Consensus: Audiences, Platforms, and Algorithms“. This project will examine the interrelationships between people’s motivations for sharing information, the types of information they share (such as media sources and statements by elites of various kinds), and the affordances of video sharing platforms, particularly YouTube. The project will compile a dataset of misleading information rejecting scientific consensus on selected key issues of our time, such as, for example, climate change or health. It will undertake content analysis as well as examine audience interpretations and responses. The project will also assess the role of algorithmic power in shaping people’s exposure and responses to misinformation rejecting scientific consensus and explore how the spread and societal impact of such misinformation might be reduced. More information is available here.

Another project, co-supervised by Louise Cooke, Suzanne Elayan, and Simone Natale is titled “What Role Do Social Media Influencers Play in Spreading Misinformation and Disinformation?“. This project will develop culturally-sensitive concepts for designing new algorithms to detect social media influencers who spread misinformation and disinformation on social media. Through a perspective attentive to the ethical and cultural implications of human-machine interactions on social media platforms, it will both improve understanding of the values embedded in platform algorithms and the role social media influencers play in spreading false information in online networks. The work will sit at the interdisciplinary intersection of computational text mining, applied data science, sociolinguistics, media theory, theories of artificial intelligence, and normative ethical theory. More information here.

The closing date for applications is January 11, 2019 for a starting date on September 30, 2019.

Please distribute widely and, if you are interested in applying, contact the primary supervisors (Andrew Chadwick and Louise Cooke). Feel free to reach out to me with regard to the project I am going to co-supervise.

 

PhD Studentships Available at Loughborough University

If you are interested in pursuing a PhD in political communication, please consider applying for one of the scholarships offered by the East Midlands Doctoral Training Partnership and funded by the UK Economic and Social Research Council.

Loughborough University is a pathway lead for Communication and Media in the consortium and I would be pleased to consider proposals from students interested in studying aspects of the relationships between media, politics, and citizens. The official advertisement is here and information on how to apply is here. The closing date for applications is Tuesday 22nd January 2019.

Please get in touch if you want to discuss an idea for a project. You may also want to take a look at the “PhD” page on this website, which provides some information on the kinds of projects I am involved at the moment and the students I supervised in the past.

Feel free to spread the word far and wide!

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New Masters in Social Media and Political Communication at Loughborough University

We are now recruiting for a new Masters program in Social Media and Political Communication at Loughborough University, which will begin in October 2019.

As the official description says, “On this exciting and unique master’s programme you will gain advanced knowledge of how social media shape how political power is exercised in today’s turbulent world. The curriculum blends world-leading scholarly research with case study analyses of how political communication works in the real world.”

Let me add a personal note. I have started teaching full time in Loughborough a few weeks ago and I have been impressed by the quality of our learning environment. There is something about the sense of peace and community, as well as the quality of the teaching and the research by colleagues, that makes for a rather unique and enjoyable experience as a teacher. Students are engaged, motivated, and supportive of one another. I have taught in many places around the world, but Loughborough is definitely special.

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The full description of the program and information on how to apply are available here. If you have any queries, please email me.

New Editorial Team at the International Journal of Press/Politics

IJPP logo

In January 2019, I will officially start my new job as Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Press/Politics.

When I was appointed Editor-in-Chief of IJPP, I returned to the “big tent” approach that inspired its founding editors, Marvin Kalb and Pippa Norris, and reformed the governance of the journal to ensure it can continue growing and thriving.

I am honored that three outstanding scholars will serve as Associate Editors: C.W. Anderson (University of Leeds), Sandra González-Bailón (University of Pennsylvania), and Sophie Lecheler (University of Vienna).

I also found in Yannis Theocharis (University of Bremen) an excellent successor as Book Reviews Editor and in David Smith (Loughborough University) a dedicated Managing Editor.

I also reappointed two-thirds of the journal’s Editorial Board and invited a new cohort of colleagues to join them. I am grateful for their service and delighted that women and men are now equally represented in the Board.

The new editorial team will serve for the same duration as my first term as Editor-in-Chief (2019-2021). I cannot wait to start working with them.

I was pleased to introduce the new team at the fourth annual IJPP conference in Oxford.

 

Program of the Fourth annual International Journal of Press/Politics conference

ijpp[Cross-posted and adapted from Rasmus Kleis Nielsen’s website.]

I am delighted to announce the program of the fourth annual conference of the International Journal of Press/Politics. This is going to be a particularly special one for me as I am taking over as Editor-in-Chief of the journal in January 2019. The outgoing Editor-in-Chief, Rasmus Kleis Nielsen, and I are organizing the conference, to be held at the University of Oxford on 11-12 October 2018. I am particularly pleased that my friend and colleague at Loughborough University Andrew Chadwick will be the conference keynote speaker. I will also have the pleasure to chair the final roundtable with members of the journal’s Editorial Board.

The conference venue is Green Templeton College, 43 Woodstock Road, Oxford OX2 6HG). Below is the program.

Thursday October 11th

8.45-9.00 Opening remarks

9.00-10.00 Keynote lecture, Andy Chadwick

10.30-12.00 Panels 1a and 1b

PANEL 1a: SOCIAL MEDIA & ELECTIONS (Chair: Gunn Enli)
Facebook Advertising in the United Kingdom General Election of 2017
Nick Anstead, Richard Stupart, Damian Tambini and Joao Vieira-Magalhaes

Diverging patterns of Facebook interactions on online news: media sources and partisan communities in the lead-up of 2018 Italian General Election
Fabio Giglietto, Augusto Valeriani, Nicola Righetti, and Giada Marino

When does Abuse and Harassment Marginalize Female Political Voices on Social Media?
Yannis Theocharis, Maarja Luhiste, Zoltan Fazekas, Sebastian Adrian Popa, and Pablo Barberá

PANEL 1b: NEWS CONSUMPTION (Chair: Homero Gil de Zúñiga)

More News Avoiders? A Longitudinal Study of News Consumption in Low and High Choice Media Environments 1997-2016
Rune Karlsen, Audun Beyer, and Kari Steen-Johnsen

News consumption on social media in authoritarian regimes: polarization and political apathy
Aleksandra Urman

Gateways to news and selective exposure: Evidence from survey and navigation data
Ana Cardenal, Carlos Aguilar-Paredes, and Mario Pérez-Montoro

13.00-14.30 Panels 2a and 2b

PANEL 2a: CAMPAIGN COMMUNICATION (Chair: Ralph Schroeder)

The Moderating Effect of Political Responsibility on Populist Communication Online: The case of the German AfD
Tobias Widmann

“His Tweets Speak for Themselves”: An Analysis of Donald Trump’s Twitter Behaviour
Suzanne Elayan, Martin Sykora and Tom Jackson

The rally-intensive campaign: A distinct type of election campaign in sub-Saharan Africa and beyond
Dan Paget

PANEL 2b: JOURNALISM IN DANGEROUS PLACES (Chair: Jane Suiter)

“Beyond the Dark Mountains”: Suspicion and Distrust in the work of journalists covering the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

Tali Aharoni

Strategies for safety autonomy: The role of journalists’ capital enhancing professional autonomy in violent contexts
Julieta Brambila

Local authoritarian enclaves in democracies and democratic hybrids: How much do they explain the harassment and murder of journalists over the last quarter century?
Sallie Hughes and Yulia Vorobyeva

15.00-16.30 Panels 3a and 3b

PANEL 3a: JOURNALISM IN PRACTICE (Chair: Ana Langer)

Democratizing Views in International News: Proportions of Northern and Southern Perspectives in American and Finnish Coverage of the Global South
Kirsi Cheas

The political determinants of journalists’ career
Andrea Ceron, Sergio Splendore,Rosa Berganza, Thomas Hanitzsch, and Neil Thurman

How German and British journalists differ in their political and ethical role conceptions
Imke Henkel, Neil Thurman, Veronika Deffner, and Ivica Obadic

PANEL 3b: CONCEPTS AND THEORIES (Chair: Jay Bumler)

The Authentic Politician: Strategies to Construct Authenticity in Political Campaigns
Gunn Enli

Old and New Echo Chambers
Paolo Mancini and Anna Stanziano

Communicative Power in the Hybrid Media System
Andreas Jungherr, Oliver Posegga, and Jisun An

Friday October 12

9.00-10.30 Panels 4a and 4b

PANEL 4a: NEWS CONTENT (Chair: Neil Thurman)

From Network to Narrative: Understanding the Nature and Trajectory of News Stories
Sarah Oates

Thinking through the political media system: Surprising similarities between polarized media outlets during Election 2016
Chris Wells, Josephine Lukito, and Zhongkai Sun

An anatomy of the complex role of the media on policy ‘U-turns’
Ana Ines Langer

PANEL 4b: MISINFORMATION AND MANIPULATION (Chair: Erik Bucy)

The Populist Campaigns against European Public Service Media: Hot Air or Existential Threat?
Felix Simon, Annika Sehl and Ralph Schroeder

Fake News as a Combative Frame: Results from a qualitative content analysis of the term’s definitions and uses on Twitter
Dominique Doering and Gina Neff

Disinformation and Media Manipulation in the Swedish 2018 Election
Ralph Schroeder, Lisa Kaati, and Johan Fernquist10.45-11.45 Panels 5a and 5b

PANEL 5a: ONLINE NEWS AND MEDIA USE (Chair: Gina Neff)

Are there echo chambers? A 7-nation comparison
Grant Blank & Elizabeth Dubois

The Proliferation of the ‘News Finds Me’ Perception Across Different Societies
Homero Gil de Zúñiga Nadine Strauss Brigitte Huber James Liu

PANEL 5B: COMPARATIVE RESEARCH ON ATTITUDES TO NEWS (Chair: Ana Cardenal)

Perceived Media Bias and Political Action: A 17-Country Comparison
Matthew Barnidge, Hernando Rojas, Rüdiger Schmitt-Beck, Paul A. Beck

Polarization and Inequality: key drivers of distrust in media old and new?
Jane Suiter and Richard Fletcher

12.00-13.00 IJPP Editorial Board Roundtable (with Paolo Mancini, Sallie Hughes, and Sarah Oates) and closing remarks

13.00-14.00 Lunch