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Journalism

What Factors Influence Experiences of News Overload?

The next speaker at ECREA 2016 is Miriam Steiner, whose focus is on news overload amongst the well-educated elite. This is an increasingly important issue as it appears to be in the process of becoming a serious condition in contemporary society. Well-informed citizens are a fundamental precondition for a functioning democracy, but there is now a high-choice news environment that provides an immense volume of news which is at the same time also easier to ignore. This generates a widening news consumption gap, especially between populations of various levels of education, and may result in a growing polarisation between news seekers and news avoiders.

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).

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.

U.S. Journalists Attitudes towards Using Twitter

The next speaker at ECREA 2016 is Svenja Ottovordemgentschenfelde, whose focus is on journalists' activities on Twitter. The platform has now been widely adopted by news organisations, and journalists are under considerable pressure to use it to break news, disseminate content, and engage with peers and audiences. None of these pressures are inherently new, but Twitter enables new approaches to engaging in these practices.

The Emerging Role of Social Media Editor in Germany TV News

Up next at ECREA 2016 are Oliver Hahn and Isabelle Brodeßer, whose interest is in the emergence of social media editors in German TV newsrooms. Such editors do not generate content, but are tasked with identifying user-generated content on social media that can be introduced into the broadcast news coverage. But there are problems here with verification, as well as with the identification of the original authors of such content, both of which are very important in news contexts.

Interdisciplinary Training for Journalism and Computer Science Students

The afternoon session at ECREA 2016 starts with a paper by Gunilla Hultén. She presents Storylab, a collaborative project with Svenska Dagbladet, one of the major daily newspapers in Sweden. This brought together journalism and computer science students and their educators with journalists and editors at the newspaper.

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