Reporting Elections: Rethinking the Logic of Campaign Coverage – Dr Stephen Cushion, Cardiff University

Friday 3 August 2018, 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm

MECO Seminar Room S226, John Woolley Building A20, University of Sydney

RSVP via Eventbrite

How elections are reported has important implications for the health of democracy and informed citizenship. But how informative are the news media during campaigns? What kind of logic do they follow? How well do they serve citizens? Based on original research as well as the most comprehensive assessment of election studies to date, Stephen Cushion’s talk will examine how campaigns are reported in many advanced Western democracies. Focusing on the most recent US and UK election campaigns, he consider how the logic of election coverage could be rethought in ways that better serve the democratic needs of citizens.

During the 2017 UK election campaign, his study found broadcasters drew heavily on journalistic judgements about public opinion in vox pops and live two-ways. In doing so, the portrayal of citizens in television news was largely shaped by a relatively narrow set of assumptions made by political journalists about the public’s ideological views rather than conveying a more representative picture of public opinion. As a consequence, at times voters were portrayed as favouring more right- then left-wing policies despite evidence to the contrary.

Cushion thus argues that election reporting should be driven by a public logic, where the agenda of voters takes centre stage in the campaign and the policies of respective political parties receive more airtime and independent scrutiny.

Dr Stephen Cushion is a Reader at Cardiff University School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies. He has also published over 50 journal articles and book chapters on issues related to news, politics and journalism. He is on the editorial board of several leading academic journals, including Journalism StudiesJournalism PracticeJournalism: Theory, Practice and CriticismJournalism Education and Journal of Applied Journalism and Media. He has written three sole authored books, News and Poitics: The Rise of Live and interpretive JournalismThe Democratic Value of News: Why Public Service Media Matter(2012, Palgrave) and Television Journalism (2012, Sage) and one co-authored book, Reporting Elections: Rethinking the Logic of Campaign Coverage (2018, Polity Press, with Richard Thomas).

The Moral Economy of Mobile Phones Symposium and Book Launch

Friday 17 August, 3pm – 5.30pm

MECO Seminar Room S226, John Woolley Building A20, University of Sydney

RSVP via Eventbrite

The rapid uptake of mobile phones in the Pacific Islands over the last ten years has created a complicated moral economy. We understand the moral economy of mobile phones to imply a field of shifting relations among consumers, companies and state actors, all of whom have their own ideas about what is good, fair and just. These ideas inform the ways in which, for example, consumers acquire and use mobile phones; companies promote and sell voice, SMS and data subscriptions; and state actors regulate both everyday use of mobile phones and market activity around mobile phones. Ambivalence and disagreement about who owes what to whom is thus an integral feature of the moral economy of mobile phones.

This symposium reports on research in Fiji and Papua New Guinea funded by the Australian Research Council, including two documentary films. It concludes with a book launch for The Moral Economy of  Mobile Phones: Pacific Perspectives, an edited volume published in May 2018 by the Australian National University Press and is available for free download here.

Confirmed presenters include: Heather A. Horst (University of Sydney), Robert J. Foster (University of Rochester), Lucas Watt (RMIT University), Wendy Bai Magea (University of Goroka), Romitesh Kant (University of South Pacific/LaTrobe University), and luke gaspard (University of Sydney). The Moral Economy of  Mobile Phones: Pacific Perspectives will be launched by Professor Gerard Goggin (University of Sydney).

Gatewatching and News Curation: Journalism and Social Media – Professor Axel Bruns, University of Queensland

Friday 24 August 2018, 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm

MECO Seminar Room S226, John Woolley Building A20, University of Sydney

RSVP via Eventbrite

Social media users now engage almost instinctively in collective and collaborative gatewatching processes as they respond to major breaking news stories, as well as in their day-to- day sharing of interesting articles with their social media contacts. Meanwhile, existing media outlets are increasingly seeking to maximise the shareability of their sto ries via social media, and a number of new players are fundamentally built around providing ‘viral’ content. This talk shows how this impacts on news industry practices and approaches. It reviews the practices of everyday users as they engage with the news, and highlights how enterprising journalists have come to connect and engage with such users. It traces the conflicted responses of journalists and news outlets from their early dismissals to gradual engagement with social media, and asks whether, as journalism is subsumed into social media, news outlets can remain distinctive enough to survive.

Prof. Axel Bruns is an Australian Research Council Future Fellow and Professor in the Digital Media Research Centre at Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia. He is the author of Gatewatching and News Curation: Journalism, Social Media, and the Public Sphere (2018), Blogs, Wikipedia, Second Life and Beyond: From Production to Produsage (2008), and Gatewatching: Collaborative Online News Production (2005), and a co -editor of the Routledge Companion to Social Media and Politics (2016), Twitter and Society (2014), A Companion to New Media Dynamics (2012), and Uses of Blogs (2006). His current work focusses on the study of user participation in social media spaces such as Twitter, and its implications for our understanding of the contemporary public sphere, drawing especially on innovative new methods for analysing ‘big social data’.

See Axel’s research blog here and he tweets at @snurb_dot_info. More details on his research into social media can be found here.

Custodians of the Internet: Platforms, Content Moderation, and the Hidden Decisions that Shape Social Media – Tarleton Gillespie

Tuesday August 28, 4pm – 6pm

John Woolley Common Room, N480

John Woolley Building, A20

University of Sydney

RSVP via Eventbrite


Most social media users want their chosen platforms free from harassment and porn. But they also want to see the content they choose to see. This means platforms face an irreconcilable contradiction: while platforms promise an open space for participation and community, every one of them imposes rules of some kind.

 

In the early days of social media, content moderation was hidden away, even disavowed. But the illusion of the open platform has, in recent years, begun to crumble. Today, content moderation has never been more important, or more controversial. In Custodians of the Internet, Tarleton Gillespie investigates how social media platforms police what we post online – and the societal impact of these decisions.

 

“I have been writing about the impact of platforms and the digital transformation for fifteen years,” said Gillespie. “This book explains how content moderation works: how the platforms think of their responsibilities, the way they create and articulate the rules, the labor behind the scenes, and recent efforts to automate it all.” Based on interviews with content moderators, creators, and consumers, this book contributes to the current debates about the public responsibilities of platforms, be it about harassment, data privacy, or political propaganda.

 

Gillespie argues that content moderation still receives too little public scrutiny. How and why platforms moderate can shape societal norms and alter the contours of public discourse, cultural production, and the fabric of society.

 

Tarleton Gillespie is a principal researcher at Microsoft Research New England, part of the Social Media Collective research group. He is an affiliated associate professor at Cornell University, in the Department of Communication and the Department of Information Science. He cofounded the blog Culture Digitally.

He is the author of Wired Shut: Copyright and the Shape of Digital Culture (MIT, 2007), the co-editor of Media Technologies: Essays on Communication, Materiality, and Society (MIT, 2014); his newest book is Custodians of the Internet: Platforms, Content Moderation, and the Hidden Decisions that Shape Social Media (Yale, 2018).

Witness This! How to document research with mobile video

When: Friday June 1st
12.30-3.15
Where: MECO Seminar Room S226, John Woolley Building A20MECO Seminar Room S226, John Woolley Building A20

With Jean Christophe Nougaret, head of communications, Médecins Sans Frontières Australia
and Denby Weller, video journalist, Macleay College

In this seminar and workshop we explore the benefits, techniques and challenges of using your mobile phone for video documentation of your research, from fieldwork interviews and focus groups to ethnographic projects.

Jean Christophe Nougaret, head of communications for Médecins Sans Frontières Australia discusses how and why he uses his smartphone to record MSF activities in the field, covering issues of privacy, visibility, immediacy, economy and accessibility.

Then Denby Weller, video journalist with Macleay College and formerly Fairfax Media, will take a short practical workshop covering shot planning, framing, capture, lighting, eyeline and technical execution as well as the basics of video interviewing and how to compile a video story. Participants will conduct a video exercise and so need to bring a fully charged smartphone, with its native video recording application.

When Journalists go “Below the Line”

When Journalists go “Below the Line”

Seminar by: Scott Wright (University of Melbourne)
When: Fri. 1 June 2018,
3:00 pm – 4:30 pm AEST
Where: MECO Seminar Room S226, John Woolley Building A20
University of Sydney

When Journalists go “Below the Line”: Engaging with the audience in comment spaces at The Guardian (2006-2017)

Scott Wright, Associate Professor in Political Communication, The University of Melbourne

This paper longitudinally analyses how journalists at The Guardian engage with their audience in comment spaces, using an overarching quantitative analysis of comments; a content analysis of the comments by journalists; and interviews with journalists. The paper finds that the total number of comments has risen exponentially (n=110m). Journalist participation in comments varies significantly, with a small number of “super-participants”. There is a very strong pattern, with journalist comments rising rapidly until 2012, before declining quickly. Interviews find that this pattern is explained by the huge increase in the volume of comments; changes in editorial priorities; and a shift to engagement to Twitter. When journalists comment, they engage in a wide variety of actions, including arguing and debating, providing further information, correcting errors, and defending their journalism practice.

Scott Wright is Associate Professor in Political Communication at the University of Melbourne. His work focuses on: everyday online political talk, particularly in ‘third spaces’; how moderation and interface design affect online political communication; ‘super-participants’; and government-run e-democracy experiments such as e-petitions and consultations.