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_09: Journalism and Political Representation
Friday, 23/Aug/2019:
11:00am - 12:30pm

Session Chair: Paško Bilić, Institute for Development and International Relations
Location: UP.4.209
University of Manchester Building: University Place, Fourth Floor Oxford Road


Cultures And Information Networks In The Twitter Era

Vanessa Russo1, Alfredo Agustoni2, Mara Maretti1

1Department of Legal and Social Science, University G. d'Annunzio Chieti - Pescara, Italy; 2Department of Legal and Social Science, University G. d'Annunzio Chieti - Pescara, Italy

Web 2.0 is an umbrella term that include numerous typologies of technologies, devices, applications and social spaces. The structures of digital social spaces are defined by micro- and macro social phenomena and communication issues. In this framework, digital public opinion relies heavily on social media as a source of information for news.

The digital public is fed by specific activities: comment, share and like. The extent of these actions determine specific subcultures (commenter, hater, conspiracy theorist) that use the computational tools to spread, polarise, amplify and distort information as professionist opinion leaders.

In relation to the different polarisation of opinions within the Twitter social media frame, our aim was to investigate the information flow related to specific ‘hot’ issues in italian news. We generated a data warehouse using Twitter’s streaming API from a selection of conversational frameworks on specific events reported. The combined steps were: 1) Data collection; 2) Visualization and labelling of conversational structures of the clusters; 3) Semantic analysis and classification of the hashtag; 4) analysis of the accounts that were most relevant for the creation of consensus or conflict; 5) Evaluation of the quality and sources of shared links. We mapped the influence of specific subcultures of information towards the orientation and reorientation of public opinion.

Choosing Sources Out Of Digital Landscape: The Criteria Of Legitimacy And Of Authority Used By Journalists In The “Black-out” Media Event Construction In Belgium

Nadège Broustau, Grégoire Lits

Université libre de Bruxelles, Belgium

This paper analyzes the selection and hierarchy process used by journalists in their interactions with communication officers of Belgian nuclear electricity producers and of Belgian anti-nuclear organizations in order to cover the threat of an electricity “black-out” in the Winters 2016, 2017 and 2018 in Belgium. This “black-out” threat was linked to a possible lack of electricity due to incidents in several of the 7 Belgian nuclear reactors.

Using interviews with journalists and communication professionals of pro- and anti-nuclear organizations about the black-out, our study aimed at 1/ describing the digital tools that journalists use to interact and retrieve information from their pro- and anti-nuclear sources (Twitter, blog post, youtube video…), 2/ identifying the criteria used by journalists to choose and classify their sources among the digital landscape of the nuclear debate and 3/ analyzing the processes of discourse transformation throughout the different interactions between communication professionals and journalists (Guilhaumou 2006; Calabrese 2013; Turbide 2015) in the digital context. We especially focus on the interaction with actors from the civil society (anti-nuclear actors particularly active on websites and social media) in order to understand how they gain – or not - media worthiness from journalists.

Our results show that different kind of arguments (emotional vs rational) corresponding to different figure (concerned citizen vs expert) are used by the different actors on different digital media (texts, video, tweet) to interact with the journalists and that the legitimacy and the authority granted to the actors by the journalists vary according these different strategies.

The Ordinary “Superleader": the Self-Representation of Salvini on Facebook

Marco Mazzoni, Roberto Mincigrucci

University of Perugia, Italy

Today’s politicians face the so called “paradox of democratic leaders” (Kane and Patapan 2012): they have to act as strong statesmen, in possession of specific skills that gave them the authority to rule, and at the same time they have to appear as common people in order to gain voter’s trust.

Through this study, we analyse how the Italian Deputy Prime Minister, Matteo Salvini deals with such paradox. Salvini is the spokesman of the right-populist “League party”, and he is the politician most appreciated by Italian voters, as shown by all the polls. The main goal of our study is to answer the following question: “what kind of leadership does Salvini improve in order to maintain his high consensus?”. We investigate the pictures that Salvini publishes on his Facebook profile between July and September 2018. Despite the persuasive potential of images, they are often overlooked by scholars. Our main hypothesis is that Salvini faces the “paradox of democratic leader” thorough a strategic use of his “political body”, mixing the features of a “super leader” with the ones of ordinary people. We demonstrate that he can identify himself with the community he wants to represent thorough a strategic use of images.

For a better understanding of Salvini’s leadership, we compare his Facebook pictures with the ones of other politicians (Trump, Le Pen, Orban), to assess if Salvini’s communication has features in common with foreign right-wing populist leaders.

Understanding Communication From Networks To The Digital Era: The 1972 Delos Ten Symposium

Maria Perganti, Kostas Theologou

National Technical University of Athens, Greece

This paper deals with the works of the 1972 Athens Ekistics Month Delos Symposion (Delos Ten), in Greece, organized by Constantinos Doxiadis and the Athens Ekistics Center, and the wide range of theoretical issues about the multiple forms of communication as basic axis of all kind of networks. Communication as a part of technological systems of-course also concerned the discussions held during these Doxiadis’s Symposia. At the beginnings of the 21st century, global communication networks are being powered by microelectronics, operated by fine software, and are giving birth to communication technologies not as virtual but as real extensions of the human body and mind.

Nowadays, communication in our digital era expands crucially the novel societal structures. Communication as a concept concerning not merely technology but social phenomena as well was being introduced in the Delos symposiums since 1966 (Delos Four, topic: "Transport and Communication Networks in Relation to Human Settlements"). In 1972, communication was already included between the essential and required parameters for understanding networks. Greek visionary architect and urban designer Constantinos Doxiadis, Canadian communication specialist Marshall McLuhan, British philosopher of history Arnold Toynbee and several other participants, rallied their thought round the multiple meanings of communication during their longstanding and fruitful debates about physical and metaphysical networks. In the core of that multidisciplinary dialogue issues about media, arts, music, communication, experience, theories, epistemology, technology, universality, man and networks were drawing sketches of the globalization of communication and the dawn of digital era.