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Does Using Social Media for News Change Attitudes to the EU?

The final speaker in this Future of Journalism 2017 session is An Nguyen, who begins by focussing on the role of major tech companies in influencing information exposure for their users, which has given rise to concepts like 'echo chambers' and 'filter bubbles'. Various studies have now started to explore the presence of such patterns, building on a variety of data and focussing on a range of contexts, communities, and cases – with highly variable outcomes.

UNESCO and the Future of Journalism

The final keynote at Future of Journalism 2017 today is by Guy Berger, Director of Freedom of Expression and Media Development at UNESCO, who asks the perfectly innocent question "Does Journalism Have a Future?" The challenges it now faces include questions about the authority and objectivity of legacy news organisations, social media, 'fake news', political satire, automation, sourcing and expertise, scrutiny and accountability, and journalism education, to name just a few; each one of these is considerable.

Yet another issue for journalists is their personal safety, as journalists are regularly abused and threatened via social media and other channels. There are too many such messages to report and seek retribution for; the social media platforms respond only reluctantly to such reports; and any attempts to stop the trolls only tend to produce more trolling.

How Far-Right Sites in Norway Perceive 'the' Mainstream Media

The next session at Future of Journalism 2017 starts with Tine Ustad Figenschou, whose focus is on media criticism and mistrust in far-right alternative media in Norway. How do such groups express their criticism, and is this a continuation of more traditional forms of press criticism, or is the approach here more cynical, sceptical, and fundamentally distrustful?

Networks of Trust and Distrust between Political Stakeholders

The next speaker at Future of Journalism 2017 is Susanne Almgren, whose focus is on expressions by citizens in news media conversations. Trust (and mistrust) matters especially much here: there is currently increased mistrust between news media and citizens: citizens expect media to provide spaces for national political debate, but such common ground between politics, media, and citizens is now often seen as dissolving.

'Post-Truth' in the 1994 South African Election

The final speaker in this Future of Journalism 2017 session is Bernadine Jones, who takes us back to the 1994 South African 'miracle election', with a particular focus on global north television reporting of the election.

Using Social Media to Represent 'Public Opinion'

The third presenter in this Future of Journalism 2017 session is Shannon McGregor, whose interest is in the role of social media in the construction of public opinion by the political press. There's an increasing tendency for journalistic coverage to claim that 'Twitter' or even 'the Internet' responded in a particular way to specific political issues and controversies, and social media certainly play a role in how public opinion is shaped, but how might we think about the type of public opinion that can be observed on social media?

Letters to the Editor during the U.K. EU Referendum

The next speakers at Future of Journalism 2017 are Iñaki Garcia-Blanco and Lucy Bennett, whose focus is also on the Brexit referendum. There is a long history of anti-European discourse in British politics, and the EU has been framed by the British press in a negative light; eventually this resulted in the 2016 EU referendum, with fault lines running right through the major British parties.

Twitter in Brexit and the 2017 U.K. General Election

The first paper session at Future of Journalism 2017 starts with Max Hänska, whose focus is on the role of social media in political debate during Brexit and the 2017 U.K. general election. Max's study tracked tweets including a set of keywords for both events, as well as following the Twitter accounts of some 2,100 candidates in the election.

The Trouble with 'F*** News'

The second morning keynote at Future of Journalism 2017 is by Claire Wardle, in a pre-taped keynote (thanks to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security). She begins by introducing the First Draft project, which takes a similar approach to news fact-checking organisations, but instead focusses on claims and visual content circulated by unofficial sources prior to publication in the news. (The overlap between these approaches is also of great interest.)

How can computational techniques help with this; how can unofficial material be effectively verified; how can this be treated by law and regulation; and how does this address the current state of information disorder in a massively multi-channel media environment? The project takes an explorative approach, and importantly also translates its findings into educational resources for journalists and journalism students. It has focussed especially on recent elections in the U.S., France, Britain, and the upcoming German federal election, as well as on humanitarian crises.

A Call to Study "News in Use"

It's Thursday, so this must be Cardiff and the Future of Journalism 2017 conference. We start with a double-barrelled keynote involving Silvio Waisbord and Claire Wardle, and Silvio starts us off by considering the role of journalism in a 'post-truth' environment. There's been a great deal of discussion about 'fake news' and 'post-truth' in the aftermath of Brexit and Donald Trump's election, much of it from outside of this discipline – so what can journalism studies add to it?

These are odd times. The criticism of corporate news is now louder on the right than on the left; social constructionists are now louder in their defence of journalistic and scientific facts; journalism is now perhaps better than ever in its fact-checking even as trust is at a low ebb; we are supposedly in an age of post-truth, yet truth-seeking movements are growing in many authoritarian regimes. Some of these debates are already very familiar from the global south, in fact: it's only now that the rest of the world has caught up with it.


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