New Publication: Introduction to Special Issue in The Communication Review with Virpi Salojärvi

Virpi Salojärvi and I have a new article out in The Communication Review this week.

(De)constructing societal threats during times of deep mediatization provides an introduction to a Special Issue based on research presented in the Crisis, Security and Conflict Communication working group at the conference of International Association for Media and Communication Research (IAMCR) in 2021.

We provide an overview of the literature on mediatization of conflict and crises, with a specific focus on how online platforms present both challenges and opportunities to the agenda-setting powers of mainstream media and political institutions.

The introduction can be read here

The list of papers published in our Special Issue are as follows:

Minos-Athanasios Karyotakis (2022) Framing the Macedonian name dispute in Greece: nationalistic journalism and the existential threat, The Communication Review, DOI: 10.1080/10714421.2022.2129125

Zhe Xu & Mengrong Zhang (2022) The “ultimate empathy machine” as technocratic solutionism? Audience reception of the distant refugee crisis through virtual reality, The Communication Review, DOI: 10.1080/10714421.2022.2129118

Olivia Inwood & Michele Zappavigna (2022) A Systemic Functional Linguistics Approach to Analyzing White Supremacist and Conspiratorial Discourse on YouTube, The Communication Review, DOI: 10.1080/10714421.2022.2129122

Gregory Asmolov (2022) Internet regulation and crisis-related resilience: from Covid-19 to existential risks, The Communication Review, DOI: 10.1080/10714421.2022.2129124

We would like to thank all the authors, reviewers and the editorial team at TCR for their help bringing this Special Issue together.

DocXplorers series interview about Remembering the Troubles on Instagram

I was delighted to be interviewed by John Coster (Documentary Media Centre) as part of the DocXplorers series last week. We discussed my ongoing research project looking at historical photographs of the Northern Irish Troubles on Instagram.

In conversation with John Coster, Documentary Media Centre, February 2022

We discussed how the type of photographs being shared on Instagram, how people respond to these in the comments section, and the broader implications of social media for remembering conflict (we even touched on how the Holocaust has been commemorated in Germany too). Many thanks to John for the opportunity and I look forward to sharing the final results of the project in the next few months.

Cited in Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe resolution on the role of media in time of crisis

Photo by Jem Stone/ CC BY

In May 2021, I provided expert testimony to a hearing organised by the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly Committee on Culture, Science, Education and Media. The session organised by Rapporteur Annicka Engblom (EPP/CD) focused on the role of the media in times of crises. The agenda can be found here.

In my contribution to the hearing, I drew on my research on social media, parades and protests in Northern Ireland and the #PorteOuverte hashtag during the 2015 November Paris Terror Attacks, as well as the findings from my two EC funded projects CascEff and IMPROVER. My written evidence included a call for greater funding for hyperlocal media and for social media companies to face harsher penalties for failing to remove misinformation and disinformation during crises.

PACE adopted a resolution based on this session this week, which referenced my testimony and several of my publications from CascEff and IMPROVER. It also included my recommendations to protect public service media and compel online platforms to take stronger action on misinformation and disinformation.

Many thanks to Eugen Cibotaru for the invitation to contribute to this resolution. I look forward to giving expert testimony to a PACE hearing on ‘the control of online communication’ next month.

Interview to mark one year since publication of Digital Contention

This week marks one year since the publication of my second book Digital Contention in a Divided Society (Manchester University Press). I sat down (virtually) with John Coster, Director of the Documentary Media Centre, to reflect on this. Our conversation touched on a wide variety of topics including the April 2011 ‘Brexit riots‘, the abuse directed at DUP MLA Diane Dodds on Twitter, and how social media bring us together (and tear us apart).

Big thanks to John for the chat. We hope to do this on a regular basis moving forward.

Interviewed by John Coster to mark one year since Digital Contention published

You can still view the video of the book launch below:

New article on digital activism published in Information, Communication & Society

New article with Suay Özkula and Jenny Hayes published in iCS

Suay Özkula, Jenny Hayes and I have an article out today in Information, Communication & Society. Entitled ‘Easy data, same old platforms? A systematic review of digital activism methodologies’, this paper draws on the results of a review of 315 articles published between 1994 and 2018.

The abstract can be read below:

Burgess and Bruns (2015) have linked the computational turn in social media research to an increase in the number of studies focussing exclusively on ‘easy data’, such as the ‘low hanging fruit’ provided by Twitter hashtags. This paper explores whether there is a preponderance of such easy data in digital activism research through a systematic review of relevant journal articles published between 2011 and 2018 (N = 315). Specifically, it examines whether computational digital methods have become increasingly prominent in digital activism research during this period. A key focus of the paper is the extent to which digital activism research focused on easily accessible Twitter data, and whether these were obtained via standard API services. Results indicate that (1) traditional research methodologies were more commonly deployed in these articles than digital methods, but (2) Twitter was the most researched platform in the corpus, and (3) single-platform hashtag studies were an archetype of digital activism research alongside single-platform Facebook studies and holistic approaches (hybrid, multi-method & multi-sited, e.g., ethnography). The paper concludes by advocating for greater diversity in terms of the methodological approaches adopted in digital activism research.

Many thanks to the editors, reviewers, and the iCS team for their help in getting this out. And of course to Suay and Jenny, for their collaboration on this. Hopefully the first of many!

There are 50 free downloads of the article, which can be accessed here

Video of ARUCAD seminar now available online

Webinar at ARUCAD, 2 November 2021.

Last week I spoke to Dr. Hakan Karahasan, Head of the Department of Advertising Design and Communication as part of the seminar series at the Arkin University of Creative Arts and Design (ARUCAD). Many thanks to Hakan and his colleagues for hosting this talk.

The video can be watched below:

Invited book talk at Arkin University of Creative Arts and Design

Book talk, Arkin University, 2 November 2021

This afternoon I will be delivering a Webinar at Arkın University of Creative Arts and Design. Hosted by Dr. Hakan Karashan, I will be discussing some of the key findings from my recently published book Digital Contention in a Divided Society.

The Webinar will be streamed live on the ARUCAD Facebook and YouTube channels from 12pm UK time (2pm Cyprus time).

Many thanks to Hakan for the invitation and I look forward to our conversation on digital citizenship, activism and politics later.

Part-Time Research Associate (fixed term) sought for project on Twitter and ‘Brexit riots’ in Northern Ireland

I am looking to employ a Sheffield student as a Part-Time Research Associate on a project.

The aim is to investigate the key broadcasters and gatekeepers in this hashtag, which was used during the anti-Protocol riots in Northern Ireland in April 2011.

The Research Associate will conduct a Social Network Analysis to identify and visualise key broadcasters and broadcasters in #brexitriots. They would also produce time-series graph, code the most shared URLs and do some qualitative analysis of original Tweet.

A total of 60 hours are available for this position, with the work due to be completed by 31 March 2022. Ideally I am looking for someone with experience of SNA and visualising Twitter networks.

Please note this opportunity is only available to current Sheffield students and recent graduates i.e. those who’ve graduated within the last 3 years who have a graduate account.

Further details on how to apply for the the role can be found here.

Interview about Facebook and polarisation on YLE News (Finland)

Interviewed by Egan Richardson, YLE News (Finland) about Facebook and polarisation

This week I was interviewed by Egan Richardson for the All Points North podcast on YLE News (Finland). In light of the decision by YLE News to stop comments on its Facebook posts, we discussed the role of social media platforms in amplifying polarisation and the efficacy of their responses to problems such as hate speech and misinformation. I argued that online platforms often engage in PR exercises to deal with issues such as hate speech and misinformation. Self-regulation is an insufficient policy response to online harms.

A blogpost summarising the interview can be read here and the audio can be accessed here (the segment begins around 16:30).

Many thanks to Egan for the invitation and the interesting chat- great to see a former #digiadvocate doing so well in their career!

Elected Vice-Chair of IAMCR Crisis, Security and Conflict Communication Working Group

IAMCR Crisis, Security and Conflict Communication Working Group

I have recently been elected Vice-Chair of the IAMCR Crisis, Security and Conflict Communication Working Group. Many congratulations to Virpi Salojärvi for becoming Chair of the WG, and to all the other candidates who stood during the recent elections. The results can be viewed here

Details on the WG can be found here. If you would like to get involved, please do drop me an email at p.j.reilly@sheffield.ac.uk. I look forward to working with members of the WG for the next four years.