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.

Call for Nominations for The International Journal of Press/Politics Best Book Award 2020. Deadline: 1 March 2020


Nominations are invited for the annual International Journal of Press/Politics Best Book Award, to be sent to IJPP Editor-in-Chief Cristian Vaccari by email no later than March 1.


The International Journal of Press/Politics Best Book Award honors internationally-oriented books that advance our theoretical and empirical understanding of the linkages between news media and politics in a globalized world in a significant way. It is given annually by the International Journal of Press/Politics and sponsored by Sage Publications.

The award committee will judge each nominated book on several criteria, including the extent to which the book goes beyond analyzing a single case country to present a broader and internationally-oriented argument, the significance of the problems addressed, the strength of the evidence the book relies on, conceptual innovation, the clarity of writing, and the book’s ability to link journalism studies, political communication research, and other relevant intellectual fields.


Books published within the last ten years will be considered. Monographs as well as edited volumes of exceptional quality and coherence will be considered for the award. Books by current members of the award committee are ineligible and committee members will recuse themselves from discussion of books by members of their own department, works published in series that they edit, and similar circumstances.

Award committee

The award committee consists of Cristian Vaccari (the editor of the International Journal of Press/Politics), Kimberly Gross (chair of the Political Communication Division of ICA), and Keren Tenenboim-Weinblatt (chair of the Journalism Studies Division of ICA).


Nominations including a rationale of no more than 350 words should be emailed by March 1 to Cristian Vaccari at Self-nominations are accepted.

The nomination must specify why the book should receive the award by outlining the importance of the book to the study of media and politics and by identifying its international contribution and relevance. Please include links to or copies of relevant reviews in scholarly journals.

Arrangements should be made with the publishers of nominated books for one hard copy to be sent by March 1 to each of the three committee members at the following addresses:

  • Cristian Vaccari, School of Social Sciences and Humanities, Brockington Building U.3.19, Loughborough University, Epinal Way, Loughborough, Leicestershire, LE11 3TU, United Kingdom.
  • Keren Tenenboim-Weinblatt, Department of Communication and Journalism, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Mount Scopus, Jerusalem 91905, Israel
  • Kimberly Gross, School of Media and Public Affairs, George Washington University, 805 21st Street NW, Suite 400, Washington DC 20052, USA


The award will be presented at the 2020 Annual Meeting of the International Communication Association and will be announced on the IJPP website. The awarded book will also receive recognition in issue 4/2020 of the journal.

Past winners of the award

2019: Maria Repnikova, Media Politics in China: Improvising Power Under Authoritarianism (Cambridge University Press, 2017).

2018: Erik Albæk, Arjen van Dalen, Nael Jebril, and Claes H. de Vreese, Political Journalism in Comparative Perspective (Cambridge University Press, 2014).

2017: Katrin Voltmer, The Media in Transitional Democracies (Polity Press, 2013).

2016: Andrew Chadwick, The Hybrid Media System: Politics and Power (Oxford University Press, 1st edition 2013).

2015: Rodney Benson, Shaping Immigration News (Cambridge University Press, 2014).

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.

Promoted to Professor of Political Communication

I am delighted to announce that I have been promoted to Professor of Political Communication at Loughborough University.

The forward-looking and time-pressured nature of academic life often means that we do not reflect much on our achievements—be they publications, grants, students making us proud, media coverage, contributions to societal change, or any other component of our mission as scholars. We just move on to the next goal and the next deadline, or at least that is how it has always worked for me. This time, however, feels different, and I want to share some reflections on how and why I think I got here.

When I was a kid, I wore thick glasses and I loved to read. I was lucky I could read pretty much all I wanted because my parents owned a newspaper shop. It was a small, dusty kiosk, too hot in the summer, too cold in the winter. I spent a lot of time there because both my parents worked round the clock to keep the shop open and fully stocked fourteen hours a day, six days a week, two Sundays a month. For most of my long summer holidays I played in the muddy patch behind the store, going back inside the kiosk to get a drink of water, ask my parents money for an ice cream, and snatch a comic book. As I grew older, I started helping my parents in the shop, and as kids do, I began dreaming of becoming a journalist to write in those newspapers people cared enough about to buy them every day. Inevitably, I shared my aspiration with anyone who would listen, and a regular customer started mocking me: “You are going to fill the papers with lies, and your parents are going to sell them!” (The post-truth crisis has deep historical roots in Italy.)

That small newspaper kiosk is where my fascination for media began. As time went by, our family business moved to a spacious store in a futuristic shopping mall and I moved from comics and sports magazines to newspapers and books. I also became more interested in television news than cartoons. There was a lot going on at the time, with the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Christian Democratic party-State in Italy, and I began to talk about it all with my parents. This is when my passion for politics was born, compounding my interest in media and communication.

If I have decided to dedicate my professional life to understanding political communication, it is because of those years I spent surrounded by all sorts of (print) media, and because of those long discussions about politics on my family home sofa. I owe all of this to my parents, and I am grateful to them for that. I am also grateful to them for showing, not just telling me, that working hard, persevering in the face of difficulties, and treating others with care and respect are keys to a happy, fulfilling life. Cara mamma, caro papà, grazie di cuore. Vi voglio bene.

A lot happened in the following two decades. I dropped my thick glasses for contact lenses that were as expensive as they were uncomfortable. I kept loving books, and I was fortunate enough to have as many as I wanted. I even published some of my own. I switched back to glasses. I spent time as a visiting student in the United States. I became a tenured academic in Italy. As the first person in my extended family to even go to University, I felt proud of the hard work I had done to get there and fortunate for the support of my parents, but I knew there was something else to it. One day, one of my favorite writers helped me realize what it was.

In the spring of 2013, I was sitting in the stands of the Academic Senate of the University of Bologna, of which I was then a member, attending the ceremony for the award of an honorary degree to the French novelist Daniel Pennac. In his lectio magistralis, Pennac argued that professors can act either as gardiens du temple, policing particular disciplinary, methodological, and stylistic boundaries, or as passeurs, striving to awaken consciousness and instill a sense of wonder for what is beautiful, novel, and important—regardless of where it comes from and irrespective of what canons it espouses or violates. Here is a video excerpt of Pennac’s speech, titled “A Lesson of Ignorance”, which he delivered in Italian. Here is the text of his speech in French. And here is a short essay Pennac wrote on the subject in French.

Pennac’s words resonated with me in a very special way, and they have stayed with me ever since. I realized that I was sitting on those stands because someone, one day, had listened to my ideas rather than telling me what to do, and then had helped me achieve what I envisioned rather than shrugging me off. And then someone else had done the same. And then another. And then many more. Finally, I knew, and I still know.

If I have been able to do the job of my dreams, and to do it well enough to be called a Professor, I owe it to the many generous passeur colleagues whom I had the good fortune to meet in my life—as an undergraduate and doctoral student in Italy, as an exchange student and a visiting scholar in the United States, as an early-career researcher in Italy, as a migrant academic in the United Kingdom, and as a member of various scholarly communities around the world. Thank you for your inspiration, your support and, in many cases, your friendship. You know who you are.

Program of the Fifth Conference of The International Journal of Press/Politics #ijpp19

Next week, Loughborough University will host the fifth conference of The International Journal of Press/Politics. I look forward to welcoming 65 delegates from five continents and eighteen different countries, who will present research covering 50 countries across all continents but Antarctica.

Below is the conference program. The event will be held at Holywell Park Conference Centre. Please stop by if you can, and engage with the event on Twitter with the hashtag #ijpp19.

Monday, September 16

Keynote Speech (Stephenson Lecture Theatre)

  • Welcome: Cristian Vaccari (Loughborough University)
  • On the Increasing Viability of ‘Good News’
    Stuart Soroka (University of Michigan)

Panel 1A (Brunel-Murdoch Room): The Changing Infrastructure of Journalism
Chair: C.W. Anderson (University of Leeds)

  • Facebook and the platformization of local information infrastructure
    Kjerstin Thorson and Mel Medeiros (Michigan State University)
  • Philanthropy in US Journalism and the Power Geometry of Place
    Nikki Usher and Sanghoon Kim (University of Illinois)
  • Churnalism, press releases, and wire copy: a comparative analysis of textual reuse in UK and US online news
    Tom Nicholls and Lucas Graves (Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, University of Oxford)

Panel 1B (Pascal Room): Shaping Public Discourse in Contemporary Media
Chair: David Deacon (Loughborough University)

  • The Go-Betweens: Political Discourse Management Practices on Social Media among Political Aides – A Comparative Study
    Chen Sabag-Ben Porat and Sharon Haleva-Amir (Bar Ilan University)
  • European elections 2019: the first “Social-order” electoral campaign? A transnational and comparative analysis among 28 nations.
    Edoardo Novelli (Università degli studi di Rona Tre)
  • Keep Calm and Carry On? A Long-Term Comparison of Crisis Communication by Executives in the European Union
    Olga Eisele, Petro Tolochko, and Hajo Boomgaarden (University of Vienna)

Panel 2A (Brunel-Murdoch Room): Understanding Contemporary News Ecosystems
Chair: Andrew Chadwick (Loughborough University)

  • Integrating the social geography of the lifeworld into the study of media use and opinion formation
    Chris Wells (Boston University), Lewis A. Friedland, Ceri Hughes, Jiyoun Suk, Michael Wagner, and Dhavan V. Shah (University of Wisconsin-Madison)
  • Transnational networking and (dis-)integration among right-wing digital news ecologies in Europe and the US
    Annett Heft (Freie Universität Berlin and Weizenbaum Institute for the Networked Society), Curd Knüpfer (Freie Universität Berlin and Weizenbaum Institute for the Networked Society), Eva Mayerhöffer (Roskilde University), and Susanne Reinhardt (Freie Universität Berlin and Weizenbaum Institute for the Networked Society)
  • Analyzing the interrelated public agenda in a time of high-choice media environment
    Giovanni Boccia Artieri (Università di Urbino Carlo Bo) and Sara Bentivegna (Università di Roma “La Sapienza”)

Panel 2B (Pascal Room): Comparative Research in Political Communication
Chair: Jay Blumler (University of Leeds)

  • Red economy, blue economy. How media-party parallelism affects the partisan economic perception and attribution gap
    Arjen van Dalen (University of Southern Denmark)
  • Media heritage and fact-checking: A cross-national study
    Salma El idrissi and Drew Margolin (Cornell University)
  • Conspiracy Believers in Europe: A Comparative Study of their Characteristics
    Annemarie Walter and Hugo Drochon (University of Nottingham)

Panel 3A (Brunel-Murdoch Room): Political Communication and Representation in the UK
Chair: Andrea Carson (La Trobe University, Melbourne)

  • Who Represents the Islamic State? Analysing the Interplay between Media, Political and Public Representations of the Islamic State During the November 13th 2015 Paris Attacks
    Jared Ahmad (University of Sheffield)
  • Partisan Century: Continuities and Changes in Newspaper Editorialising during UK General Elections from 1918 to 2017
    Dominic Wring and David Deacon (Loughborough University)
  • Defining “Fiscal Sustainability” for the UK Press: The Office for Budget Responsibility
    Catherine Walsh (Cardiff University)

Panel 3B (Pascal Room): Political Actors’ Use of Social Media
Chair: Jason Gainous (University of Louisville)

  • Hostile media perceptions and social media in Latin American elections
    Francisco Brandao (University of Brasilia)
  • Have Political Jargons Divided the Nation? Evidence from the 2019 Indonesia’s General Election
    Nia Kurniasih, Dicky R. Munaf, Harry Nuriman, Prima Roza, and Ridwan Fauzi (Institut Teknologi Bandung)
  • Platformization of Political Communication and Public Opinion Formation in India: A Comparative Study of the “Chowkidar” Campaigns of the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Indian National Congress as an Election Plank
    Sangeeta Mahapatra (GIGA Institute of Asian Studies, German Institute of Global and Area Studies, Hamburg)

Panel 4 (Stephenson Lecture Theatre): Political Communication and Identity
Chair: Stephen D. Reese (University of Texas at Austin)

  • Political Identity-Ownership: Symbolic Contests to Represent Members of the Public
    Shannon C. McGregor (University of Utah), Daniel Kreiss (University of North Carolina), and Regina G. Lawrence (University of Oregon)
  • Analyzing gender differences in the (re)presentation of men and women in parliamentary debates
    Lucy Kinski (Heinrich-Heine University, Düsseldorf) and Stefanie Walter (University of Bremen)
  • Movement-Media Relations in the Hybrid Media System: A Case Study from the US Transgender Rights Movement
    Thomas J. Billard (University of Southern California)

Tuesday, September 17

Panel 5A (Brunel-Murdoch Room): Effects of Political Communication
Chair: Kimberly Gross (George Washington University)

  • The impact of news consumption on anti-immigration attitudes and populist party support in a changing information ecology
    Václav Štětka, Sabina Mihelj, and Fanni Tóth (Loughborough University)
  • Now we’re talking: Examining interpersonal political discussion on WhatsApp
    Susan Vermeer, Sanne Kruikemeier, Damian Trilling, and Claes de Vreese (Amsterdam School of Communication Research, University of Amsterdam)
  • Moving the crowd: Mobilising and persuading at rallies in Africa
    Dan Paget (University College London)

Panel 5B (Pascal Room): Global Perspectives on Political Communication and Representation
Chair: Chris Wells (Boston University)

  • Mediating the opponent’s news: A study of inter-media citations in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
    Yonatan Gonen, Keren Tenenboim-Weinblatt, and Zohar Kampf (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem)
  • The Winner-Loser Spiral in Political News Coverage: Investigating the Impact of Poll Coverage on Subsequent Party Coverage
    Per Oleskog Tryggvason (University of Gothenburg)
  • Is there a discursive consensus? (Re)Conceptualisation of China’s “responsibility” in the China-US trade negotiation by Chinese and American media
    Xin Zhao (Beijing Normal University-Hong Kong Baptist University United International College)

Panel 6A (Brunel-Murdoch Room): Trust and Credibility in Fragmented Polities
Chair: Kjerstin Thorson (Michigan State University)

  • The Antecedents and Consequences of International Trust
    Kimberly Gross (George Washington University) and Paul R Brewer (University of Delaware)
  • A “Walter Cronkite” for the Digital News Generation: The Utility and Dangers of Individual-level Relationships of Trust
    Rachel Elizabeth Moran (Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, University of Southern California)
  • Credibility of digital political news in Spain: Comparison between traditional media and social media
    Reinald Besalu, Carles Pont-Sorribes, and Metzeri Sánchez Meza (Universitat Pompeu Fabra)

Panel 6B (Pascal Room): Journalism and Accountability
Chair: Seth Lewis (University of Oregon)

  • Hybridity and Framing Dynamics in Opensource Investigations
    Steven Livingston (School of Media and Public Affairs, George Washington University and Carr Center, Harvard University) and Gregory Asmolov (King’s College London)
  • Understanding global investigative journalism using a connective action framework of political protest in the digital age
    Andrea Carson (La Trobe University, Melbourne)
  • Free, but tame? How online and multiplatform journalists in nine European countries differ from their offline colleagues
    Imke Henkel (University of Lincoln), Neil Thurman (LMU Munich), Judith Möller (University of Amsterdam), and Damian Trilling (University of Amsterdam)

Panel 7A (Brunel-Murdoch Room): Misinformation and Disinformation
Chair: Steven Livingston (George Washington University)

  • The Era of Mobile (Mis)information? How Citizens Engage With Online Misinformation on WhatsApp and Facebook in Brazil
    Patricia Rossini (University of Liverpool), Jennifer Stromer-Galley (Syracuse University), Vanessa Veiga de Oliveira (Federal University of Minas Gerais), and Erica Anita Baptista (Federal University of Minas Gerais)
  • Multi-Stage Information Flows in Hybrid Media Systems: How A New Indexing Process Converts Disinformation into Mainstream News
    Curd Knüpfer (Weizenbaum Institute for the Networked Society, Freie Universität Berlin), Lance Bennett (University of Washington), Vadim Voskresenskii (Weizenbaum Institute for the Networked Society, Freie Universität Berlin), and Ulrike Klinger (Weizenbaum Institute for the Networked Society, Freie Universität Berlin)
  • Disinformation and hyperpartisanship on Twitter conversations during the 2018 Brazilian Presidential Campaign
    Felipe Bonow Soares (Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul) and Raquel Recuero (Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul and Federal University of Pelotas)

Panel 7B (Pascal Room): The Political Outcomes of Media Use: Knowledge, Disinformation, and Polarization
Chair: Regina G. Lawrence (University of Oregon)

  • Social Media News Consumption, News Finds Me Perceptions, and Political Knowledge
    Rune Karlsen (University of Oslo), Audun Beyer (Institute for Social Research), and Kari Steen-Johnsen (Institute for Social Research)
  • Understanding Susceptibility to Anti-Immigrant Disinformation
    Eileen Culloty and Jane Suiter (Dublin City University)
  • Echo chambers or attentive readers? The effect of media framing and media selection on social polarization
    Mariano Torcal (Universitat Pompeu Fabra), Javier Lorenzo (Universidad Carlos III de Madrid) and Sergio Martini (Università di Siena)

Panel 8A (Brunel-Murdoch Room): Engaging with News Online
Chair: Nikki Usher (University of Illinois)

  • Incidental Exposure to News on Social Media and News Repertoires in Europe and the USA
    Richard Fletcher, Anne Schulz, and Rasmus Kleis Nielsen (Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, University of Oxford)
  • Active vs. Passive Social Media Engagement with Critical Information: Protest Behavior in Two Asian Countries
    Jason Gainous (University of Louisville), Jason P. Abbott (University of Louisville), and Kevin M. Wagner (Florida Atlantic University)
  • Can Incivility be Democratic? Incivility in News Comment Section as a Power Struggle for Political Visibility
    Jane Yeahin Pyo (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)

Panel 8B (Pascal Room): The Co-Production of News
Chair: Sara Bentivegna (Università di Roma “La Sapienza”)

  • Political control in the Modern Arab Newsroom
    Abeer Anajjar (American University of Sharjah)
  • Promoting Chinese Media to Africa: Is there room for China media model in African mediascape?
    Jijun Ran (China Foreign Affairs University)
  • Comparing Bespoke and Banal Data Visualization Histories: The United States and the United Kingdom
    C.W. Anderson (University of Leeds)

Final Roundtable and Closing Remarks (Stephenson Lecture Theatre)

Chair: Cristian Vaccari (Loughborough University)

  • Regina G. Lawrence (University of Oregon)
  • Sabina Mihelj (Loughborough University)
  • Nikki Usher (University of Illinois)


Awarded the Best Paper Award by the Information Technology & Politics section of APSA


I am on my way back from the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association, where I served as program chair for the Information Technology & Politics section and presented research on the effects of deepfakes that I am conducting with my colleague at Loughborough Andy Chadwick.

At the business meeting of the ITP section, I was honored to receive the award for the best paper presented at the previous edition of APSA. The committee (Shelley Boulianne, Jennifer Oser, and Cornelius Puschmann) chose to award the paper “Digital Political Talk and Political Participation: Comparing Established and Third Wave Democracies” that I coauthored with Augusto Valeriani. The abstract of the paper is below and the main findings are summarized in this post. The paper is now an open access article available on SAGE Open.

We investigate whether and how informal political talk on digital media contributes to citizens’ political participation with unique surveys based on samples representative of Internet users in seven Western democracies. We show that political talk on both social networking sites and mobile instant messaging platforms is positively associated with institutional and extra-institutional political participation. However, the relationship between talk on social networking sites and both types of participation is significantly stronger in established democracies (Denmark, France, United Kingdom, and United States) than in “third wave” democracies (Greece, Poland, and Spain). By contrast, the strength of the relationship between political talk on mobile instant messaging platforms and participation is not significantly different when comparing established and more recent democracies. These findings suggest that informal political talk on digital platforms can contribute to citizens’ participatory repertoires and that different institutional settings, in combination with different technological affordances, play an important role in shaping these patterns.

As is often the case, Augusto and I were fortunate to benefit from feedback, support, and inspiration from many colleagues in writing this paper. I first presented it at a meeting of SMaPP Global in New York and received invaluable feedback, among others by Yannis Theocharis who greatly helped us advance and clarify the way in which we theorized the role of political institutions and social trust. The paper is part of a whole special collection from SMaPP Global colleagues, which is all open access and definitely worth checking out.

I look forward to serving in next year’s award committee, as well as Chair of the whole ITP section.


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!