Conference Agenda

Overview and details of the sessions of this conference. Please select a date or location to show only sessions at that day or location. Please select a single session for detailed view (with abstracts and downloads if available).

Session Overview
RN18_10: Experts and Audiences in the Digital Age
Friday, 23/Aug/2019:
2:00pm - 3:30pm

Session Chair: Yuqi Na, University of Westminster
Location: UP.4.209
University of Manchester Building: University Place, Fourth Floor Oxford Road

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No Standards for Balance or Fairness: the Partisan Audience

Elvira Garcia de Torres1, Silvia Martínez Martínez2, Cristina Rodríguez Luque3, Bernardino Cebrián Enrique1

1CEU Cardenal Herrera University; 2Universitat Oberta de Catalunya; 3CEU San Pablo University

The interest for journalistic principles and standards has increased in recent years due to the extensive use of new technologies in news production, a change of patterns in news consumption and the rise of partisan media (Merril, 2004; Lasorsa et al, 2013; Nelson, 2019). Moreover, studies that tackle with the social perception of both news and news media show a uncertain prospect for the future of Journalism (Gil de Zuñiga and Hinsley, 2014; Van der Wurff and Schoenbach, 2014; Lin, 2014; Mitchell et al, 2014). Within this challenging context, this is study was motivated by the concern over the “Fake News media” campaign lead by Donald Trump, and its possible effect in reinforcing post-truth and negative attitudes towards mainstream news media (RQ1). To give an answer to the RQ, 892 tweets published in March-May 2018 -out of 166.700 filtered by keyword “journalism” (Slavtcheve-Petkova, 2016; Craft, Vos and Wolfgang, 2016) containing key words “Fake news” plus either @nytimes and @foxnews- were analyzed to check for the presence of a given set of “fake news” frames and Trump´s narrative keywords (Nielsen and Graves, 2017; Perreault and Newly, 2018). Results supported our hypothesis, as they showed a strong association of @nytimes and Trump´s narrative (MAGA, Failing, FakeNewsMedia, MS13, Fakenews CNN, Mueller) within a “poor journalism” frame, as well as worrisome post-truth constructs. We found also persistent framing of @fox news as “fake-news”/propaganda with an opposing narrative and alternative discourse (Impeach Trump, “Notmypresident, Resistence or Blue Tsunami).

Reconsider Visuality and Personality Cult

Eureka Shiqi Wang

Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong S.A.R. (China)

Since Chinese President Xi Jinping formally took office as the top leader of the country in early 2013, there has been an excessive concentration on his personal leadership compared with his low-key predecessors. It is observed that the state propaganda strategies have witnessed a visual turn with softened tactics in fortifying Xi’s personal image online. Three biggest state media as the official mouthpieces for Chinese government play their aiding role in this process as all of them opened specialised web pages under their official websites compiling multimedia package as databases.

Since in historical cases such as Lenin, Stalin and Mao, personality cult has been associated with mass media through which visual images of the leader are disseminated as cult products, this study sets out to re-examine the relationship between visuality and personality cult through the lens of visual representations on the web pages owned by the state media. Theoretically, the leadership of President Xi constitutes one form of charismatic authority so that the formation of Xi’s cult is analyzed with the theoretical concerns that the concept of charisma encompasses. Focusing on the site of the visual image itself, the methodological framework compiles two qualitative methods, i.e. Bakhtinian dialogism and link analysis. Specifically, dialogism enables the researcher to identify a polyphony of voices in the visual products of President Xi. Further, link analysis, shedding light on the peculiarities of media infrastructure of the websites as technology, can help to map out the politics on the webpages by tracing the articulation of the voices. In the end, it is expected to find out how visuality functions in the projection of personality cult in contemporary social and media context.

Warm Experts Revisited – Why Are They Still Needed?

Riitta Hänninen1, Sakari Taipale1,2

1University of Jyväskylä, Finland; 2University of Ljubljana, Slovenia

Although digitalization is renowned of its capacity to create new connections and opportunities for the majority of people, not all benefit from digitalization in the same way. It is not uncommon that especially senior people experience difficulties in keeping up with the changing landscape of ICTs. In this research, we focus especially on the ways senior members (75+) of the family have adjusted to the ongoing digitalization of family life. In this context we examine warm experts as proxies or teachers who share their technological expertise with seniors and ask why are warm experts still needed today. How do warm experts contribute to the digitalization of the senior members of family and what has changed since 2005 when Maria Bakardjieva first introduced the concept? The research data consists of twenty-two (22) reports based on extended group interviews (EGI) and observation carried out in Finland between 2014 and 2015. The total number of informants in this study is therefore 133 including the 22 key informants. All families participating in the research were studied in the context of three generations including children, siblings, spouses, parents and grandparents that typically formed the immediate family of the key informants. According to our results, warm experts do not only pass on new skills and serve as important motivators to older family members. In addition, they provide the necessary continuity to keep up with the development of technological landscape as people get older, and experience age related changes in their social circles, body, and mind.

Instrumentalization of Emotion During the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election – A Neopragmatist Analysis of the Presidential Nominees’ Media Communication

Sheena Fee Bartscherer

Humboldt University of Berlin, Germany

To the surprise of many and despite Hillary R. Clinton being the clear favorite to win the 2016 U.S. election, Donald J. Trump won the race for the Republican party. Trump’s campaign was defined by “nationalistic” and “populist” narratives, following a strategy of political marketing which was designed to emotionalize the political discourse, in a quality usually reserved for autocratic regimes (cf. Gillies 2018: 2).

In this part-sociological, part-media communication and part-neuroscientific study I will be focusing on each candidate’s argumentative structure as well as their employment of three key emotional stimuli (sex, fear and violence) throughout their public speeches, interviews and debates.

The method applied will be a qualitative discourse analysis based on the Pragmatic Sociology of Critique (PSC) according to Boltanski and Thévenot and will be further developed into a critical media analysis method, serving as a flexible framework for analyzing emotionalized political media content.

By sociologically examining the occurrence of these key emotional stimuli in combination with (political) arguments, the study is introducing established neuroscientific theories (regarding the role of emotions within human attention- and memory-processes) into the realm of media and communication research.

I strive to identify each campaign’s distinctive argumentative pattern as well as to highlight the importance of emotional stimuli within (political) communication and especially populism. The general goal of the paper will be to develop and introduce a neopragmatist method for media research using the example of the 2016 U.S. electoral communication. Additionally, the differences between ‘populist’ and ‘regular’ communication shall be discussed.

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