A comparative ethnography across platforms, media and contexts
Signe Sophus Lai, Jesper Pagh and Fiona Huijie Zeng
This article outlines a research design for a qualitative comparative study of communication across platforms, media and contexts – in China, the US and Denmark. After addressing the limitations in previous research on digital media in everyday life, we argue in favour of a comparative ethnography of communication that emphasizes the study of intermediality by taking a people-centred approach. The methodological design combines network sampling and maximum variation sampling with communication diaries and elicitation interviews. This design makes it possible to collect small and deep communicative trace data, to capture individuals’ unique linking of all the communication tools and channels available to them and, in turn, to identify the role of the internet as it interacts and intersects with other forms of communication.
Exploring imagined affordances of automation in news journalism
Stefanie Sirén-Heikel, Leo Leppänen, Carl-Gustav Lindén and Asta Bäck
News automation is an emerging field within journalism, with the potential to transform newswork. Increasing access to data, combined with developing technology, will allow further inquiries into automated journalism. Producing news text using NLG (natural language generation) is currently largely undertaken in specific, predictable news domains, such as sports or finance. This interdisciplinary study investigates how elite media representatives from Finland, Europe and the US imagine the affordances of this emerging technology for their organization. Our analysis shows how the affordances of news automation are imagined as providing efficiency, increasing output and aiding in reallocating resources to pursue quality journalism. The affordances are, however, constrained by such factors as access to structured data, the quality of automation and a lack of relevant skills. In its current form, automated text generation is seen as providing only limited benefits to news organizations that are already imagining further possibilities of automation.
Spatial metaphors have long been part of the way we make sense of media. From early conceptualizations of the internet, we have come to understand digital media as spaces that support, deny or are subject to different mobilities. With the availability of GPS data, somatic bodily movement has enjoyed significant attention in media geography, but recently innovations in digital ethnographic methods have paid attention to other, more ephemeral ways of moving and being with social media. In this article, we consider three case studies in qualitative, “small data” social media research methods: the walkthrough, the go-along and the scroll back methods. Each is centred on observing navigational flows through app infrastructures, fingers hovering across device surfaces and scrolling-and-remembering practices in social media archives. We advocate an ethnography of ephemeral media mobilities and suggest that small data approaches should analytically integrate four dimensions of mediated mobility: bodies and affect, media objects and environments, memory and narrative, and the overall research encounter.
The case of a career media participant turned media professional
This article discusses the relationship between nonprofessional media participation and the professional handling of participants. It expands on the case of “Karen”, who related her life-threatening illness and patient experience in a broad range of media before transitioning into professional communications work for a health organization that required her to recruit other patient-participants. The article contributes to research on media participation by focusing on the blurred boundaries between professionals and nonprofessionals. It describes how relationships between the two can be characterized by tensions and dilemmas that are closely tied to issues of status and control. Karen’s case is instructive in the particular light it sheds on such matters and on how control over the mediated telling of a life story is exercised.
Comparing Swedish news and cultural journalism on the 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris
Kristina Riegert and Andreas Widholm
Although terrorist attacks in Europe have increasingly been carried out on cultural targets such as media institutions, concert halls and leisure venues, most research on media and terrorism draws conclusions based on traditional hard news stories rather than on journalism specialising in cultural issues. This study explores the distinctiveness of Swedish cultural journalism by comparing it to news journalism, using the 2015 terror attacks in Paris as a case study. Our content analysis reveals that whereas news journalism is mainly descriptive, focusing on the short-term consequences of terrorism, security frames and political elites and eyewitnesses as sources, cultural journalism is more interpretive, giving a voice first and foremost to “cultural elites”. The “cultural filter” put on this event means a focus on the longer term implications of terrorism and instead of engaging in the hunt for the perpetrators, there is greater emphasis on the societal dilemmas that terrorism accentuates, especially the democratic values that are at stake. However, our results also show that the ongoing “journalistification” of cultural journalism, as defined by a stronger prevalence of descriptive style, blurs the lines between news and cultural journalism.
Elsebeth Frey, Ragnhild K. Olsen and G. Anthony Giannoumis
The digitalization of journalism has resulted in an increased overlap between technology and journalism in the newsroom. This development has profound implications for journalism education. The present study investigates a team-based experiential learning project between journalism and computer science students in a digital feature journalism course. Using the concept of trading zones as our analytical lens, we explore the students’ thoughts and opinions regarding professional roles and boundaries as well as areas of tension and spaces of mutual understanding in the collaborative context. Using mixed methods and data from questionnaires, observations and semi-structured interviews, the study demonstrates how trading zones between journalism and computer science students varied from homogenous collaboration to heterogeneous coercion, with diverse experiences of collaboration, coordination and collapse.
A comparative analysis of the media coverage of #metoo in Denmark and Sweden
Tina Askanius and Jannie Møller Hartley
This study examines the media coverage of the #metoo movement in neighbouring countries Denmark and Sweden. A comparative content analysis shows differences in genres, sources and themes across the two samples. Further, the analysis shows that the coverage predominantly positioned #metoo within an individual action frame portraying sexual assault as a personal rather than societal problem in both countries. However, the individual action frame and a delegitimising frame focused on critique of #metoo were more prevalent in the Danish coverage. A framing analysis revealed four different news frames in the coverage: #metoo as (1) an online campaign connecting networked individuals, (2) part of a broader and long-standing social movement for gender justice, (3) an unnecessary campaign fuelled by cultures of political correctness and, finally, (4) a witch hunt and “kangaroo court”. Finally, we discuss and relate these findings to the political and cultural contexts of the two countries and their different historical trajectories for the institutionalisation of feminism and implementation of gender equality policies.