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Gender and Technology in the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election

The final speaker in this AoIR 2017 session is Elizabeth Losh, whose interest is in the role of devices in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Barack Obama was seen as associated with a broad range of constructive as well as destructive devices, from personal mobile phones to impersonal drones, while Donald Trump is associated mostly with the tweets sent from his mobile phone. But what about Hillary Clinton?

Different Bots in the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election

The next speaker at AoIR 2017 is Olga Boichàk, who begins by highlighting the role of social media platforms in structuring specific forms of human sociality. But this also means that automated accounts – specifically, bots – can imitate and affect genuine human interactions in these spaces. What does this mean for online discussions in the context of the 2016 U.S. election campaign, then?

Topic Dynamics in the Right Wing during the 2016 U.S. Election

The second presenter in this AoIR 2017 session is Adrian Rauchfleisch, who begins by highlighting the highly combative and complex nature of the 2016 U.S. election campaign. Counterpublics played an important role here, too; new actors – especially on the right – were able to make their voices heard during the campaign, through some more established actors (Fox News, and Trump himself) also claimed not to be part of the mainstream.

Facebook Commenting during the 2016 U.S. Presidential Debates

The second day at AoIR 2017 starts with a panel on the U.S. elections in 2016, and Patrícia Rossini is the first speaker. She notes the limited focus in the past on how voters interact with election campaigns; much of the research has paid attention simply to the campaigning strategies themselves. But there is also evidence that users encounter a good deal of campaigning in their social networks, though they do not necessarily like doing so – in part because the discourse can be heated, emotional, and uncivil. Further, reactions to some discourse differ based on whether users agree or disagree with the uncivil statements being made.

Donald Trump's Campaign and the Hybrid Media System

The first keynote at AoIR 2017 is by Andrew Chadwick, who explores what the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign means for our understanding of the hybrid media system. Political communication is in the middle of a chaotic transitional period, due in good part to the disruptions brought by newer, digital media; some older media have also been renewed by integrating the logics of newer media. This then represents a systemic perspective that examines forces while they are in flow.

The hybrid media system is built on the interactions of older and newer media logics in the reflexively connected field of media and politics. Actors in this field tap and steer information flows in ways that suit their goals, enable or disable the agency of others, across various older and newer media settings. 'Hybrid' here shifts our conceptualisation from 'either/or' to 'not only, but also'; it foregrounds complexity, interdependence and transition. We pay more attention to boundaries, flux, and liminal spaces, where practices intermeshing and co-evolve.

Patterns in Media References in the Dutch Twittersphere

The second paper in this AoIR 2017 session is by Daniela van Geenen and Mirko Schäfer, whose focus is on 'fake news' on Twitter. They began by tracking activities in the Dutch Twittersphere, and identified a number of communities within this userbase; within these communities, news and other information are being shared, and a process of social filtering takes place.

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.


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