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Do Conspiracy Theorists Leave More Critical Comments on News Websites?

The next ECREA 2016 session starts with Marc Ziegele, whose focus is on the presence of conspiracy theories and truth demands in user comments on the news. Some theorists have had high hopes for the role of user comments as a deliberative medium, increasing the diversity of viewpoints and enabling a broad discussion about the news by ordinary participants.

Platform Power in Turbulent Times

The second keynote speaker at ECREA 2016 today is Rasmus Kleis Nielsen from the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism. He begins by noting the rise of platforms such as Google and Facebook as new digital intermediaries: these major global companies enable interactions between at least two different kinds of actors, host public information, organise access to it, and give rise to new information formats, and influence incentive structures around investment in public communication (including journalism).

Foregrounding the Implications of Technological Obsolescence through Ecomedia

There is another double-barrelled ECREA 2016 keynote session today, and it starts with Joanna Zylinska, whose interest is in technical obsolescence in media history. Media forms and devices emerge and decline again over time; Joanna is interested in a kind of shallow media geology that explores the various media pasts and futures at local, national, and global levels. This enables an exploration of the dynamics of the contemporary media ecology. In part this is also about the planned media obsolescence that is now designed into many devices.

Twitter in Frankfurt's Blockupy Protests

The final speaker in this ECREA 2016 session is the great Luca Rossi, whose focus is on the Blockupy Frankfurt protests, directed against the inauguration of the new European Central Bank building. These protests used social media as a central means of generating engagement and activity.

Social Media in the 2012 Québec Student Strikes

I'm afraid my blogging app decided to delete my notes on the next presentation at ECREA 2016, so we're moving on directly to the paper by Mireille Lalancette, whose interest is in the role of social media in Canadian politics. Québec experienced a major student strike during the first half of 2012, protesting against an increase in tuition fees but also linking with a number of other social issues.

Social Media Networks in the Tunisian Spring

The second morning at ECREA 2016 starts with Laura Pérez-Altable, whose focus is on the Arab Spring in Tunisia. She begins by pointing out the double articulation of social media as a material object as well as as symbolic and discursive; this also goes for the social networks that are encoded in social media environments.

The Ethics of Citizen Journalism

The final presentation at ECREA 2016 today is by Tobias Eberwein and Colin Porlezza, whose focus is on the ethics of citizen journalism. They begin by noting the current crisis in professional journalism, and highlight the emergence of citizen journalism in response to that crisis. This is capitalising on the advantages of access, diversity, and authenticity that such citizen journalism can draw on, but there is also considerably criticism of citizen journalists for their lack of conventional journalistic training and adherence to traditional journalistic ideals.

The Tweeting Practices of German News Accounts

The next speaker at ECREA 2016 is Stefan Stieglitz, whose focus is on the tweeting activities of German journalists. The study understands the public sphere as defined by a triadic influence structure involving official spokespeople, journalists, and ordinary citizens; in a traditional model the information from spokespeople would be filtered and gatekept by journalists before it reaches the general public, but this is no longer necessarily the case in a social media context. Participation, interaction, and – through this – also transparency may be considerably enhanced by these changes. The question then becomes how journalistic norms continue to operate in this environment. Do these norms still exist, and are they perhaps also adopted and adapted by other actors?

Innovative Journalistic Initiatives in a Disrupted Industry

I missed the first paper in the next ECREA 2016 session because it was too crowded already to find a seat, so we're on to the second paper, by Frank Harbers. He begins by noting that traditional news media are struggling both economically and in terms of their societal role; the period of high modernism in journalism is over. There is a second critique that suggests that conventional journalistic practice is no longer suited to current environments – including especially the adherence to traditional ideals such as objectivity.

Social Media Sourcing Practices in the Czech Republic

The next speaker in this ECREA 2016 session is Radim Hladík, who shifts our focus to the Twitterisation of Czech news. He begins by noting the fact that journalism now exists in a hybrid media system where old and new media meet and interact in a variety of ways; just how these interactions take place is not necessarily clear or predictable, however. In particular, there are questions about intermedia agenda-setting dynamics between conventional and social media, exploring how online sources are used to complement or supplant conventional sources.

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