Friday, 15 September 2017

Westminster Student Blog Series

We will be posting a series of short vlogs, produced by University of Westminster Postgraduate students. They are all based on their research of social media. We will be posting one a week for the next few weeks, so keep your eyes peeled!

Digital Review: Public Sphere and the Exclusion of Women

Author: Karolina Kramplova


The creation of new forms of digital social media during the first decade of the 21st century has completely changed the way in which many people communicate and share information. When we think about social media as a space where the public can discuss current affairs and politics, it is interesting to consider it with the theory of public sphere. Ever since Habermas established this concept, it was criticised by scholars like Nancy Fraser. She argues that the theory was established based on a number of exclusions and discriminations. I focused on the exclusion of women from the political life. Andy Ruddock, an author of the book, Youth and Media, also talks about the lack of representation of women in subculture studies and how social media is not about democratisation and public debate but rather about people picking what they like. An activist, Hannah Knight, acknowledges the discrimination women face until this day. However, when it comes to public sphere and social media, even though Knight argues there is a space for public debates, she says people are not listening to everyone. Social media empowers movements such as the Women’s March, but does it contribute towards democratisation, or do we just want to believe it does? Therefore, both the scholar, Ruddock and the activist Knight, have persuaded me that the concept of public sphere is no longer relevant when it comes to social media.

Friday, 1 September 2017

Westminster Student Blog Series

We will be posting a series of short vlogs, produced by University of Westminster Postgraduate students. They are all based on their research of social media. We will be posting one a week for the next few weeks, so keep your eyes peeled!

Journalism, the Filter Bubble and the Public Sphere

Author: Mick Kelly



"The influence of social media platforms and technology companies is having a greater effect on American journalism than even the shift from print to digital.”
(Bell and Owen, 2017)

This is the conclusion of a study released in March 2017 by researchers from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism who investigated a journalism industry reacting to controversies about fake news and algorithmic filter bubbles that occurred at the time of the US presidential election. The report noted the following key points:

• Technology companies have become media publishers
• Low-quality content that is sharable and of scale is viewed as more valuable by social media platforms than high-quality, time-intensive journalism
• Platforms choose algorithms over human editors to filter content, but the ‘nuances of journalism require editorial judgment, so platforms will need to reconsider their approach’.

The report states that news might currently reach a bigger audience than ever before via social media platforms such as Facebook, but readers have no way of knowing how data influences the stories they read or how ‘their online behaviour is being manipulated’. (Bell and Owen, 2017)

This video assignment reveals that the debate has existed since 2011 when Eli Pariser wrote The Filter Bubble, which explained how data profiling led to personalisation and the algorithmic filtering of news stories. The theme of this video is the impact of this robotic process on journalism within the public sphere, and includes an interview with Jim Grice, who is Head of News and Current Affairs at London Live.


R
EFERENCE
Bell, E. and Owen, T. (2017) The Platform Press: How Silicon Valley reengineered journalism. The Tow Centre for Digital Journalism at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. Available from:
https://www.cjr.org/tow_center_reports/platform-press-how-silicon-valley-reengineered-journalism.php [Accessed 30 March 2017]