Come work with us! New three-year Postdoc Opportunity at O3C Loughborough (deadline 21 December 2020)


Andy Chadwick and I are recruiting a full-time postdoctoral researcher, funded for three years as part of an exciting new Leverhulme Trust Research Project Grant at the Online Civic Culture Centre at Loughborough University. The project is titled “Understanding the Everyday Sharing of Misinformation on Private Social Media”.

The researcher’s main responsibilities will be to contribute to project management; gather, organize, and analyze qualitative and quantitative data; arrange events and meetings relating to research online and/or in person; and contribute to the dissemination of the research in academic publications and public reports. Qualitative skills, including experience of in-depth interviews (online and/or in person), focus groups (online and/or in person), and open thematic coding of these sources of data are essential. Some experience of using Nvivo or similar will be an advantage. Quantitative skills, including knowledge of multivariate statistical analysis and random assignment survey experiment design, are essential. Some experience of using R will be an advantage. Familiarity with basic concepts and methods of social network analysis will also be desirable but not essential.

Here is a link to the jpb ad with all the details.

The position commences March 1, 2021.

The closing date for applications is December 21, 2020.

If you have any informal questions, please feel free to email me.

Call for Papers for a Special Issue of The International Journal of Press/Politics: “Protest and the Press”

Call for Papers for a Special Issue of The International Journal of Press/Politics

“Protest and the Press”

Guest editors:
Summer Harlow, University of Houston (
Danielle Kilgo, University of Minnesota (

The changing racial and ethnic composition in many countries around the world has contributed to the rise of racist and xenophobic politics, as well as more active political participation by ethnic and racial minorities. Social protests against state-sanctioned police brutality, racial injustice, xenophobia, and Islamophobia—as well as pro-status quo protests such as those against increased migration, in favor of white supremacy, and even against the wearing of masks during a pandemic—have intensified in every region of the globe since the beginning of the new millennium. Previous research, particularly from Western societies, has shown that social movements need the media to help validate their agendas and mobilize supporters (Gamson & Wolsfeld, 1993). At the same time, mainstream news media routinely stigmatize collective action efforts, highlighting protesters’ deviance and marginalizing their goals, grievances, and demands (McLeod & Hertog, 1999). This delegitimizing pattern of news coverage, referred to in the literature as the “protest paradigm”, has prompted renewed interest from researchers seeking to understand how the paradigm operates around the world, in a digital era, when it comes to modern protests and hashtag activism (Jackson et al., 2020).

Over the past decade in particular, protest activity around racial injustice and conservative backlash has skyrocketed. This includes, among other examples: the massive 2020 protests over the killing of George Floyd in the United States that triggered (the revival and attention to) additional movements in countries around the world including Australia, the United Kingdom, and Kenya; right-wing anti-mask/anti-lockdown protests (e.g., in the United States and Brazil); repression and coverage of protests against citizenship laws targeting Muslims in India; protests against China’s national security laws in Hong Kong; the 2019 anti-government demonstrations in Sudan where hundreds of protesters were killed, and recent anti-immigration protests in Italy sparked by fears of COVID-19.

This special issue of The International Journal of Press/Politics aims to provide new research perspectives on how news media’s coverage of police and protests contributes to the legitimization of some movements and the delegitimization of others, with the goal of fleshing out the hierarchies of social struggle created by the press (Kilgo & Harlow, 2019) and the effects of that hierarchy on the public.

Recent research explores mediating factors that might diminish adherence to the protest paradigm, including the level of formality of a country’s political system (Streeck & Kenworthy, 2005; Shahin et al., 2016); the ideology of the media outlet and of the protesters (Claussen, 2000; Luther & Miller, 2005); and whether the coverage appears in traditional media, online-only publications, or social media (e.g., Harlow & Johnson, 2011; Harlow et al., 2020; see also this edited collection of articles on news coverage of protests published in IJPP). These, too, are likely contributors to the hierarchy of social struggle, helping us better predict when coverage of social movements will be more or less delegitimizing. This special issue seeks articles situating different movements, protests, demonstrations, rallies, and unrest within the hierarchy in order to identify other mediating factors that influence protest coverage and its ability to affect public opinion.

Research that offers a nuanced understanding of the effects of news coverage on public opinion is currently limited (but see Arpan et al., 2008; Kilgo & Mourao, 2019), so with this issue we aim to address that gap and shed new light on the ways in which news coverage might help or hinder social movements’ ability to mobilize supporters and acquire or strengthen their legitimacy. Methodologically, inquiries based on the protest paradigm have mostly been limited to content analyses, thereby overlooking the role of journalists or audiences. Scholarship also mostly neglects the perspective of activists and protesters. Further, most protest paradigm research is limited to the Global North. We therefore seek research overcoming these limitations to develop cumulative knowledge that explains the boundaries of the paradigm in an age of digital news and digitally enabled protest.

In addition, we call for research that moves beyond the paradigm, considering shifts in axiological and epistemological philosophies and pushing away from normative presumptions of news media’s allegiance to traditional journalistic routines, norms, and values. We encourage researchers to identify theoretical approaches that might explain and predict journalism’s role in contributing to broader power structures that suppress—or embolden– dissent.

We seek contributions that broaden the scope of research on protest and the press geographically, methodologically, and theoretically, and we particularly encourage comparative studies to better understand how contextual specificities, including media, criminal justice, and political systems, as well as culture, social and economic inequalities, racism, and ethnocentrism, might play a role in media representations of protest and audience and movement responses to those representations. This special issue aims to host contributions that offer a more holistic, global understanding of news coverage of protests and repression of protests, and the news media’s contribution to the public’s willingness to support protesters and their causes. Additionally, this special issue seeks to showcase fresh possibilities for theory development, methodological innovation, and cross-national comparisons to move past asking whether the protest paradigm remains relevant in this digital age, and instead interrogate new approaches to how, when, and why the relationships between media and protest vary around the world, what other factors may affect news coverage and audience responses, and what the consequences are not just for activists and movements in terms of repression or validation and mobilization, but also for social and policy change more broadly.

With this special issue we aim to bring together scholarly expertise from various disciplines and parts of the world. In particular, we encourage inter-disciplinary work that bridges different subdisciplines within communication as well as integrating approaches from sociology, political science, and criminal justice, among others. We also encourage submissions from scholars in under-represented regions to consider how the practice and discourse of news, police, and protests in non-Western countries varies from, and enables to expand, knowledge deriving from existing research.

We welcome contributions with a broad range of questions and methods. Possible topics include but are not limited to:

  • The myth of objectivity and the ethics of journalists covering protests and policing of protests from a particular standpoint
  • News values and the impact on coverage of relying on police as sources
  • The influence of social media platforms on media representations of police and protesters, from the perspective of users and of journalists
  • Analysis of the share-worthiness of news coverage of protests, and how narratives can create and discourage online engagement among news audiences
  • The mainstream media’s role and influence compared to alternative media sources, including social media influencer discourse and viral media
  • Visual analysis of protest images, including violent and peaceful depictions of protesters and police
  • Effects of protest representation on public opinion and interpretations of protest
  • The relationships between social movement actors, activists, citizen protesters, and local and national news media
  • Comparative analysis of protest coverage around the world for transnational protests or protests with similar agendas
  • Analysis of the intersection of freedom of speech and journalism, including how journalists understand freedom of speech personally and professionally
  • Differences in media representations of right-wing and left-wing protests
  • The relationships between misinformation, disinformation, and protest coverage
  • Qualitative or critical analyses of protest coverage and imagery.

Submission information

Manuscript submissions for this special issue are due on 15 September 2021. Please submit your work through the journal’s online submission portal and ensure that the first line of the cover letter states: “Manuscript to be considered for the special issue on Protest and the Press.” Manuscripts should follow the IJPP submission guidelines. Submissions will be subject to a double-blind peer review process and must not have been published, accepted for publication, or under consideration for publication elsewhere.

Please note that, to ensure consistency, submissions will only be considered for peer review after the 15 September 2021 deadline has passed.

Authors interested in submitting their work are encouraged to contact the guest editors, Summer Harlow ( or Danielle Kilgo ( with questions.

Expected timeline

  • Paper submissions: 15 September 2021
  • First decision: 15 January 2022
  • Paper revisions due: 15 March 2022
  • Final decision: 15 May 2022
  • Online publication: July 2022
  • Print publication: October 2022


Arpan, L. M., Baker, K., Lee, Y., Jung, T., Lorusso, L., & Smith, J. (2006). News coverage of social protests and the effects of photographs and prior attitudes. Mass Communication & Society9(1), 1-20.

Claussen DS (2000) “So far, news coverage of Promise Keepers has been more like advertising”: The strange case of Christian men and print mass media. In Claussen D (ed) The Promise Keepers: Essays on Masculinity and Christianity. Jefferson, NC, USA: McFarland.

Gamson, W. A., & Wolfsfeld, G. (1993). Movements and media as interacting systems. The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science528(1), 114-125.

Harlow, S. & Johnson, T.J. (2011). Overthrowing the protest paradigm? How The New York Times, Global Voices and Twitter covered the Egyptian Revolution. International Journal of Communication, 5, 1359-1374.

Harlow, S., Kilgo, D. K., Salaverría, R., & García-Perdomo, V. (2020). Is the Whole World Watching? Building a Typology of Protest Coverage on Social Media from Around the World. Journalism Studies, 1-19.

Jackson, S. J., Bailey, M., & Welles, B. F. (2020). # HashtagActivism: Networks of Race and Gender Justice. MIT Press.

Kilgo, D. K., & Harlow, S. (2019). Protests, media coverage, and a hierarchy of social struggle. The International Journal of Press/Politics24(4), 508-530.

Kilgo, D., & Mourão, R. R. (2019). Media Effects and Marginalized Ideas: Relationships Among Media Consumption and Support for Black Lives Matter. International Journal of Communication13 (2019), 1487-4305.

Luther, C.A. & Miller, M.M. (2005) Framing of the 2003 US-Iraq war demonstrations: An analysis of news and partisan texts. Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly 82: 78–96.   

 McLeod, D. M., & Hertog, J. K. (1999). Social control, social change and the mass media’s role in the regulation of protest groups. Mass media, social control, and social change: A macrosocial perspective, 305-330.

Shahin, S., Zheng, P., Sturm, H.A. & Fadnis, D. (2016). Protesting the paradigm: A comparative study of news coverage of protests in Brazil, China and India. The International Journal of Press/Politics 21: 143–164. Streeck, W., & Kenworthy, L. (2005). Theories and Practices of Neocorporatism. In T. Janoski, R. Alford, A. Hicks, & M. A. Schwartz (Eds.) The Handbook of Political Sociology: States, Civil Societies, and Globalization (pp. 441–460). New York: Cambridge University Press.

A Note of Gratitude and Hope after #ijpp20

Hosting the first virtual edition of the annual conference of The International Journal of Press/Politics has been a great challenge that yielded even greater rewards. Like many other organizations, we strove to adapt to the very difficult circumstances that COVID-19 imposed on everyone’s personal and professional lives. We first changed the conference dates from June to September 2020, in hopes that the situation would improve by then, but when it became clear that this was not going to be the case, we decided to hold #ijpp20 as an online, synchronous conference.

As a result, the sixth edition of the journal’s conference was way more inclusive than in the past. It brought together nearly 600 people, coming from 75 different countries, many of whom may not have been able to travel to the United Kingdom to participate in a physical event. Thanks to generous voluntary contributions from more than 80 participants, we raised nearly £1,000, which meant we could make the conference free for everyone, as well as creating a small surplus that will enable us to offer fee waivers to scholars from disadvantaged backgrounds next year.

In 2019, when we hosted our last face-to-face conference in Loughborough, we had a total of 64 participants. During this year’s virtual conference, there was hardly any moment when we had fewer than 80 people connected live at the same time. The number of participants who logged on for at least a few minutes was 254 on the first day, 208 on the second, 203 on the third, and 174 on the fourth and final day. Moreover, video recordings of the whole conference will soon be available on YouTube, so that we can engage an even broader community and for a longer period of time.

I am very grateful for, and awed by, the interest our conference has attracted from all corners of the world. For a journal whose title starts with the word “International”, and whose mission is to expand our understanding of the relationships between media and politics in a global perspective, the impressive breadth of this community is definitely a step forward, and one that we will try to build on in future editions of the conference.

To start putting some flesh on the bones of this commitment to global inclusion, the conference featured a roundtable on what we can do to increase the international visibility of research on media and politics from the “Global South” (a term that has its own problems, to be sure, as we discussed during the panel). Organized by Ana Langer (University of Glasgow) and chaired by Janet Steele (University of Washington), the roundtable included Tanja Bosch (University of Cape Town), Eugenia Mitchelstein (Universidad de San Andrés), Taberez Neyazi (National University of Singapore), Gayathry Venkiteswaran (University of Nottingham Malaysia), Silvio Waisbord (George Washington University), and myself.

To get the conversation started, I presented some data on the geographic distribution of the research and scholars IJPP has published over the nearly 25 years of its existence. You can download my presentation here. And here is the full video of the roundtable, where panelists and attendees offered many compelling insights on the causes and possible solutions to the structural inequalities that still make our knowledge of media and politics too partial and limited, especially at a time when the institutions and normative assumptions of liberal democracy are weakening even in the “Global North”.

Right before the conference, we also launched an edited collection titled “Media and Politics in the Global South and in Global Perspective, which includes 29 excellent articles published in the journal over the past few years, free to download until 31 October 2020. Very many thanks to SAGE Publications for supporting this and other initiatives that help make our research more accessible.

I am very grateful to everyone who has contributed to making this virtual conference a success: presenters, chairs, participants, and supporters. I am also grateful to my predecessor as Editor-in-Chief of IJPP, Rasmus Kleis Nielsen, for creating this conference and making it a unique space for lively discussions on media and politics in a global world. And I am hopeful that the next time we meet again, in September 2021, we will all be healthy, safe, and sane, and we will have gone through and overcome the many challenges that await us in the next months. Take care everyone!

Program of the ICA Virtual Preconference “Visual Politics: Image Production, Perception, and Influence” (20 May 2020)

ica_full_wordmarkI am pleased to share the program of the ICA preconference “Visual Politics: Image Production, Perception, and Influence”, that I am co-organizing with Professor Erik Bucy (Texas Tech University). The event will take place on the 20th of May on Zoom and will be divided into two sessions to ensure that all presenters can attend. It will feature fourteen talks by scholars from four different continents and a keynote speech by Roland Bleiker, director of a cross-disciplinary program on visual politics at the University of Queensland and editor of the book Visual Global Politics (Routledge 2018).

The preconference is open to anyone who is interested. Please register on to receive a secure link.

Visual Politics: Image Production, Perception, and Influence – #icavisualpolitics
ICA Preconference Schedule

20 May 2020

Morning session

Note: All times are GMT time (UK time). Times for the talks are inclusive of Q&A.

8:00am Introduction
Erik Bucy (Texas Tech University) and Cristian Vaccari (Loughborough University)

Chair: Cristian Vaccari

8:10am Lo-fi Politics: Images of the Leader, Tactical Movements and Counter-Participative Cultures (Sardine versus Salvini)
Nello Barile (IULM University, Milan)

8:30am French Contemporary Populism: The Building of a Specific Aesthetic and Mode of Representation? An Analysis of Campaign Posters
Morgane Belhadi (Paris 3 Sorbonne Nouvelle University)

8:50am Trump’s transgressive debate style and the televised performance of populism
Dhavan Shah (University of Wisconsin-Madison)

9:10am Keynote Address — Visual Politics: Potentials and Challenges for Interdisciplinary Collaboration
Roland Bleiker (University of Queensland)

9:50am BREAK

Chair: Erik Bucy

10:00am Visual Misinformation in Comparative Perspective
Cristian Vaccari (Loughborough University)

10:20am ‘I Spy with My Eye’: Influences of Camera Shots and Voters’ Party Affiliation on Candidate Evaluation in Televised Debates
Isabella Glogger (Technical University of Dortmund)

10:40am Factors Influencing the Journalistic Circulation of Traumatic Images: The Case of Alan Kurdi
Maria Kamal (University of Melbourne)


Evening session

Note: All times are GMT time (UK time). Times for the talks are inclusive of Q&A.

Chair: Erik Bucy

10:00pm @Everydayclimatechange and Three US Daily Newspapers: Comparing the Visual Representation of Climate Change
Alison Stieven-Taylor (Monash University, Melbourne)

10:20pm The Strategic Visual Communication of Protests: Citizen Diplomacy? The Romanian Protests from 2017
Alina Dolea (Bournemouth University)

10:40pm Kek’s Memes War on Instagram
Ahmed Al-Rawi (Simon Fraser University)

11:00pm The Dictator’s ‘Screenplay’: Photographs of the Leader and Political Legitimation in East Asia’s Communist Regimes
Olli Hellman (University of Waikato)

11:20 BREAK

Chair: Cristian Vaccari

11:30 Visual framing of coronavirus coverage: The frame construction process
Erik Bucy (Texas Tech University)

11:50pm Memetic Protest: The Visual Political Aesthetics of Death, Injustice and Resistance in Digital Activist Cultures
Kelly Lewis (Queensland University of Technology)

12:10am Comparing Two Unsupervised Approaches of Clustering Political Visuals
Yilang Peng (University of Georgia)

12:30am The Visual Strategy of National Identity Appeal in Election Campaign Videos: Taiwan’s 2020 Experience (via YouTube)
Chung Jung-Chun (School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London)

12:50am Concluding Remarks
Erik Bucy (Texas Tech University) and Cristian Vaccari (Loughborough University)


Nominated to the Committee of Experts on Freedom of Expression and Digital Technologies of the Council of Europe

Council_of_Europe_logo_(2013_revised_version)I am honored to have been nominated to be a member of the Committee of Experts on Freedom of Expression and Digital Technologies of the Council of Europe.

The Committee includes 13 representatives nominated by the Council and the 47 member states, and will serve for two years. As described in the Committee’s Terms of reference, its tasks are:

  1. To prepare a draft recommendation by the Committee of Ministers to member States on the impacts of digital technologies on freedom of expression;
  2. To prepare a guidance note on best practices by and with intermediaries for effective content moderation and restriction policies.

I am deeply honored to be included in this group of outstanding international experts and to serve an important international institution such as the Council of Europe. Freedom of expression is a cornerstone of liberty and good governance but it is far from secure in the troubled times we live in. Digital media have enhanced some aspects of freedom of expression but they have also contributed to new and unexpected threats to it. To protect and expand freedom of expression in the digital age, we need to rethink existing approaches but our thinking needs to be grounded in the best scientific evidence. Academics have a unique role to play in this process, not only in sharing the knowledge we already have but also in pointing out what we do not know yet and what we need to find it out. I look forward to helping the Committee achieve these ambitious goals.

Loughborough University also published a news story about my appointment on its website. You can read it here.

ICA 2020 Preconference Call for Papers: “Visual Politics: Image Production, Perception, and Influence” (deadline 14 February 2020)


Date: 21 May 2020, 9am-4pm
Location: Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre, Broadbeach, Australia
Sponsoring ICA Divisions: Visual Communication, Political Communication
Organizers: Prof. Erik Bucy (Texas Tech University), Prof. Cristian Vaccari (Loughborough University)

Images are ubiquitous in contemporary politics. From television coverage of campaigns and elections to visual memes and images of leaders circulated on social media, visual portrayals shape perceptions of the political world. As efficient carriers of social and symbolic information, they are quickly assessed, rapidly judged, and readily remembered—even when manipulated or released as deepfakes. When used strategically, visual portrayals hold the capacity to frame issues, candidates, and causes in a particular light and affect the acceptance or rejection of social policies. Images and audiovisual content are also ubiquitous on social media and digital platforms, and they tend to spread more easily and quickly than text-only content. Despite growing potential for and evidence of influence, visuals remain understudied within media politics. This preconference brings together visual scholars from different research traditions and international perspectives to present state of the art studies of image production, perception, and influence in the contemporary political landscape.

Political visuals are potent in part because they do not require conventional literacy to apprehend and operate at both an individual and cultural level. From an information processing perspective, political images are highly efficient carriers of social and symbolic information that is quickly assessed, rapidly judged, and readily remembered. In news coverage, candidate portrayals and event depictions may crystallize sentiment among the viewing public and alternately inspire increased involvement or disenchantment with politics. Culturally, images can act as icons of social solidarity or political isolation, serving to mainstream or marginalize individuals, groups, and causes. On social media, images are one of the key ingredients of political memes that convey complex messages often laden with irony and emotions. The polysemic quality of images opens them to diverse interpretation, depending on the viewer’s orientation.

The aim of this preconference is twofold: to map and coalesce the growing, but as-yet disorganized, area of research on visuals and politics; and, to foster conversations across methodological and disciplinary divides. This represents a big task because the field is so diverse in terms of methods, emphasis, and approach. We therefore welcome the broadest range of submissions, both quantitative and qualitative, to highlight new possibilities for theory development, methodological innovation, and cross-national approaches to advance the study of visual political communication. We also welcome international and comparative contributions that can broaden our understanding of these topics outside of Western liberal democracies.


  • The influence of political images in digital campaigns, including comparisons between online messaging, social media strategies, and more traditional forms of political advertising
  • The role of visual messaging in disinformation efforts, whether used to confuse, mislead, incite resentment, or demotivate potential voter or citizen involvement
  • Computational analysis of large-scale visual datasets to detect patterns of coverage or behavior not evident in smaller, hand-coded projects
  • Integrated or comparative analysis of multimodal cues in political messages and their synergistic or differential impacts on viewer perceptions
  • Visual analysis of protest and collection action, including visual framing of activism or demonstrations as well as visual memes circulated on social media
  • Cross-national comparisons of visual news framing of politics or protest and its reception by audiences
  • Viewer reception of newer visual technologies such as 360-degree video cameras to depict campaign events, demonstrations, marches, or other forms of collective action
  • Visual depictions of populist and fringe political actors, including signature gestures and nonverbal displays, expressive range, or performative repertoires, and their role in conveying relevant policy and identity signals
  • Effects of nonverbal aggression, norm violations, and other transgressive candidate behavior on viewers of audiovisual political content
  • Visual measures of negative advertising, incivility, “in your face”-style of candidate interaction, or other normatively fraught political communication styles
  • Visual analysis of hate speech and white nationalism, including identifiable signs and symbols as identified by the Anti-Defamation League and other watchdogs
  • The role of viewer orientations (e.g., ideology, partisanship, political interest, age cohort, moral outlook, geographical situatedness, issue attitudes) in shaping political image interpretations and message efficacy
  • The role of visual content in explaining patterns of news sharing and engagement on social media
  • The use of visuals in emerging genres of political campaign communication, whether mini-documentaries, mash-up advertising, candidate-generated videos, memes, or political selfies.


Please submit your abstracts for 15-minute paper presentations through this Google Form ( no later than 14 February 2020. Abstracts are limited to a maximum of 4,000 characters including spaces (approximately 500 words).

Contributors to the preconference will be selected by a panel review process and will be notified of decisions by 21 February 2020. Authors of accepted abstracts are expected to write full papers based on their abstracts (submission deadline 11 May 2020) and attend the preconference and present in person. All participants, whether presenting or not, must register for the preconference and pay the associated fee. Registration costs for the preconference will be approximately $50 USD and will include coffee breaks and lunch. To register, participants should visit and register as part of their main ICA conference registration, or as a stand-alone registration. As space is limited, priority will be given to those accepted for presentation.


  • 14 February 2020: Deadline for abstract submission
  • 21 February 2020: Corresponding authors notified of decisions
  • 1 May 2020: Conference registration closes
  • 11 May 2020: Submission of completed papers
  • 21 May 2020: Visual Politics Preconference held at the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre, Broadbeach, Australia


Erik Bucy:
Cristian Vaccari:

Updated Call for papers for the sixth conference of the International Journal of Press/Politics (Loughborough University, 21-22 September 2020)


On 21-22 September 2020, the Centre for Research in Communication and Culture at Loughborough University (United Kingdom) will host the sixth conference of the International Journal of Press/Politics, focused on academic research on the relation between media and political processes around the world. Professor Young Mie Kim from the University of Wisconsin will deliver a keynote lecture.

A selection of the best full papers presented at the conference will be published in the journal after peer review. The deadline for submission of abstracts is 12 June 2020. Attendees will be notified of acceptance by 19 June 2020. Registrations fees will be due 10 August 2020 and full papers based on accepted abstracts will be due 11 September 2020.

This call for papers replaces the previous one, which closed on 13 March 2020, as the conference has been postponed from the original dates of 29-30 June 2020. Colleagues who have submitted a proposal in the previous call for papers do not need to submit their proposal again if they are interested in attending the conference on 21-22 September 2020. We will contact all these colleagues shortly before the 12 June deadline to ask them to confirm whether they still want their proposals to be considered for the new conference dates.

The conference brings together scholars conducting internationally-oriented or comparative research on the intersection between news media and politics around the world. It aims to provide a forum for academics from a wide range of disciplines, countries, and methodological approaches to advance research in this area.

Examples of relevant topics include the political implications of current changes in media systems, including the increasing role of digital platforms; the importance of digital media for engaging with news and politics; analysis of the factors affecting the quality of political information and public discourse; studies of the role of entertainment and popular culture in how people engage with current affairs; studies of relations between political actors and journalists; analyses of the role of visuals and emotion in the production and processing of public information; and research on political communication during and beyond elections by government, political parties, interest groups, and social movements. The journal and the conference have a particular interest in studies that adopt comparative approaches, represent substantial theoretical or methodological advances, or focus on parts of the world that are under-researched in the international English language academic literature.

Titles and abstracts for papers (maximum 300 words) are invited by 12 June 2020. The abstract should clearly describe the key question, the theoretical and methodological approach, the evidence the argument is based on, as well as its wider implications and the extent to which they are of international relevance.

Please send submissions via the online form available at

The registration fee for the conference will be GBP 250, to be paid by 10 August 2020. A limited amount of registration fee waivers will be available for early-career scholars and scholars from countries that appear in Tiers B and C of the classification adopted by the International Communication Association. Applications must be made by 12 June 2020 via the abstract online submission form available at

The conference is organized by Cristian Vaccari (Loughborough University, Editor-in-Chief of IJPP). Please contact Professor Vaccari with questions at

More about the journal, the keynote speaker, the University, and the Centre:

The International Journal of Press/Politics


The International Journal of Press/Politics is an interdisciplinary journal for the analysis and discussion of the role of the media and politics in a globalized world. The journal publishes theoretical and empirical research which 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. The journal is published by Sage Publications and is ranked 11th by Scopus (SJR) and 12th by Journal Citation Reports in Communication.

Professor Young Mie Wim, University of Wisconsin

Young-Mie-Kim-1024x683Young Mie Kim is a Professor of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication and a Faculty Affiliate of the Department of Political Science. Kim is a 2019 Andrew Carnegie Fellow. Kim’s research concerns data-driven, algorithm-based, digitally mediated political communication. Kim’s recent research project, Project DATA (Digital Ad Tracking & Analysis), empirically investigates the sponsors, content, and targets of digital political campaigns across multiple platforms with a user-based, real-time, ad tracking tool that reverse engineers the algorithms of political campaigns. Kim and her team’s research, “The Stealth Media? Groups and Targets behind Divisive Issue Campaigns on Facebook,” identified “suspicious groups,” including Russian groups on Facebook. The work received the Kaid-Sanders Best Article of the Year in Political Communication (2018), awarded by the International Communication Association. Kim testified at the Federal Election Commission‘s hearings on the rulemaking of internet communication disclaimers and presented her research at the Congressional briefings on foreign interference in elections. Kim also spoke at the European Parliament on her research on data-driven political advertising and inequality in political involvement.

Loughborough University

1oDFxNO8_400x400Based on a 440-acre, single-site campus at the heart of the UK, Loughborough University is ranked top 10 in every British university league table. Voted University of the Year (The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2019) and awarded Gold in the National Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), Loughborough provides a unique student experience that is ranked first in the UK by the Times Higher Education Student Experience Survey 2018. Loughborough University has excellent transport links to the rest of the UK. It is a short distance away from Loughborough Train station, a 15-minute drive from East Midlands Airport (near Nottingham), an hour drive from Birmingham Airport, and an hour and 15 minutes from London via train.

The Centre for Research in Communication and Culture

LU_CentreForResearch_in_Communication&Culture_COLSince our establishment in 1991, we have developed into the largest research centre of our kind in the UK, and the 2019 QS World University Ranking placed us in the top 50 for communications and media research. We are a proudly interdisciplinary centre, creatively combining social science and humanities approaches for the rigorous exploration of the production and consumption of different forms of communication and creative texts. Our research draws on and contributes to theories and methods in cultural and media studies, sociology, politics, psychology, history and memory studies, textual, visual and computational analysis, and geography. We are interested in exploring how media and cultural texts are produced, how they construct meanings, how they shape the societies we live in, and how they fit within an ever-growing creative economy.

My Testimony on Digital Media and Democracy at the House of Lords

IMG_7059Update: the Democracy and Digital Technologies Committee published its report, titled “Digital Technology and the Resurrection of Trust“, on 29 June 2020. The report provides a compelling and wide-ranging analysis of key problems and potential solutions and I encourage you to read it carefully. It was a pleasure to contribute to it with my testimony.

On 29 October, I had the pleasure to testify for the Democracy and Digital Technologies Committee of the UK House of Lords. Together with Helen Margetts and Martin Moore, we discussed the ways in which digital media are changing the way our democracies function and what governments around the world are doing, and should be doing, to reap the greatest benefits and prevent the most troubling harms resulting from the process.

The transcript of the session is now available on the Committee’s website. During the session, I drew on research on misinformation conducted as part of Loughborough University’s Online Civic Culture Centre, on work on the role of UK tabloids in spreading misinformation coauthored with Andrew Chadwick and Ben O’Loughlin, on research on social media and political participation I have been doing with Augusto Valeriani for the past five years, on a wide-ranging literature review on social media, polarization and disinformation commissioned by the Hewlett Foundation to which I contributed, and on work I have done on the prevalence, or lack thereof, of echo chambers online. I also relied on many colleagues’ work and insight, and I hope I have done justice to at least some of them in my answers.


Many thanks to Kate Dommett, who serves as Special Advisor to the Committee, and to the Committee for inviting me. It was a thorough and interesting conversation.

New Article Out on Parties’ Strategies in the 2017 UK General Election

Image result for west european politicsIn a new article just published in West European Politics, my former colleagues at Royal Holloway Kaat Smets, Oliver Heath and I combine survey data and content analysis of tweets by the main parties and their leaders to investigate whether the strategies of the main British parties matched their voters’ issue positions during the 2017 UK General Election.

Leveraging the fertile framework of issue yield, proposed by Lorenzo De Sio and Till Weber, we ask whether and how parties tried to square the circle between satisfying the preferences of their loyal supporters, attracting voters from the other parties, and addressing issues that the general population cares about.

To learn what we found, you can read our blog post on the British Politics and Policy Blog of the London School of Economics and Politics Science, where we write:

The results from our analysis indicate that the Conservative campaign did not fully exploit the opportunities for expanding support that were open to them had they presented a broader agenda than the one they ultimately ran on. Our analysis indicates the Tories went overboard in their rhetoric on ‘getting on with the job’ of Brexit (which risked alienating their more moderate supporters who were uneasy about it) and ‘strong and stable leadership’ (which, repeated relentlessly during the campaign, ended up opening the door for mockery of May’s rigid communication style).

By contrast, Labour played a better hand and tapped into most of its electoral strengths. There is a clear left-wing anti-austerity constituency in Britain, and rather than being out of touch with the public mood, as many New Labour grandees feared, our analysis shows that Labour’s message under Corbyn resonated both with party supporters and the wider public. By offering its supporters policies they strongly agreed with, Labour also thwarted the electoral threat potentially inherent in its vague position on Brexit.

The article is part of a special issue on the study of party strategy and voting behavior in Western democracies through the lens of issue yield theory, titled “Conflict Mobilization or Problem-solving? Issue Competition in Western Europe”, guest edited by Lorenzo De Sio and Till Weber. You can find the other contributions in the “Latest Articles” section of West European Politics‘s website.

Attending APSA as program chair of the Information Technology & Politics section

logoI first attended the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association, the largest gathering of political scientists worldwide, in Chicago in 2004. Since then, attending this conference has become an integral part of my academic work and the occasion to strike and renew many amazing friendships and collaborations.

Every APSA meeting has been special and exciting, but this year’s is unique because for this first time I will not only participate by discussing my research and that of my colleagues. I have also played a small part in organizing the conference by serving as program chair of the Information Technology and Politics section. I reviewed proposals, accepted some and rejected many, drafted panels (no manels!), and worked with our older sister, the Political Communication section, to co-sponsor panels.

Here is the agenda for this year’s conference. If you are interested in digital media and politics and if you want to meet friendly, smart, and truly global colleagues, you will find all of that and more in these panels. And if you have never engaged with the section, please come say hi at the business meeting and join us at our joint reception with Political Communication.

Thursday, August 29
8:00 to 9:30am: “Commenting and Discussing Politics Online”
10:00 to 11:30am: “New Directions on Internet Government and Governance”
12:00 to 1:30pm: “New Perspectives on the Study of Information Technology and Politics”
2:00 to 3:30pm: “Political Effects of Digital Media” (co-sponsored with Political Communication)
4:00 to 5:30pm: “Incivility and Being Mad Online” (co-sponsored with Political Communication)

Friday, August 30
8:00 to 9:30am: “Communicating Politics Online” (co-sponsored with Political Communication)
10:00 to 11:30am: “Comparative Perspectives on Information Technology and Politics”
10:30 to 11:00am: “Poster Session: Information Technology and Politics”
12:00 to 1:30pm: “Online Disinformation: Actors, Platforms, and Users” (co-sponsored with Political Communication)
2:00 to 3:30pm: “Digital Authoritarianism and the Public Sphere”
4:00 to 5:30pm: “News in the Digital Age”
7:30 to 9:00pm: Joint reception of the Political Communication and Information Technology & Politics sections

Saturday, August 31
8:00 to 9:30am: “Diverse India 2019: Populism, Campaigning & Influence”
12:00 to 1:30pm: “Social Media and American Politics”
4:00 to 5:30pm: “Social Media and Influence: Comparing Elections, Policy and Trump” (co-sponsored with Political Communication)
4:00 to 5:30pm: “Visual Frontiers in Digital Politics” (co-sponsored with Political Communication, featuring among others a papery by yours truly and Andrew Chadwick on political deepfakes)
6:30 to 7:30pm: Business meeting of the Information Technology & Politics section

Sunday, September 1
8:00 to 9:30am: “Digital Media, Contestation and Repression”

See you all in DC!