Qiong Gong | Social media usage and its impacts on young adults in China

Qiong Gong | Erasmus University Rotterdam, Department of Media and Communication | Promotor: Prof. dr Susanne Janssen and Dr Marc Verboord | Sep 2014– Sep 2018 | gong[at]eshcc.eur.nl

Social media usage and its impacts on young adults in China

My project ‘Social media usage and its impacts on young adults in China’ focus on the effects of social media use on the attitudes of young adults (18-40-year-old) towards politics, arts and culture and health related issues. The focus is on the case of China: a country with a state-controlled media system, in which during the past decades a highly diversified media ecology of social media platforms has emerged. We also compared young adults’ perceived credibility of information about politics, arts and culture, and health related issues on both traditional media and social media. We use original data from an online survey in mainland China among 1033 Chinese young adults to answer two main research questions. The first research question is: how do young adults combine traditional media and some specific social media and in doing so, how do they create their respective cross-media repertoires and how do distinct media patterns predict variables related to politics, arts and culture and health related, such as political interest, political trust, and political engagement online, interest of arts and culture, interest of health related issues? The second research question is: what are the differences between the impacts of traditional media and social media on young adults’ attitudes towards politics, arts and culture, and health related issues?


Rashid Gabdulhakov | Digital Vigilantism in Russia: Mediated Visibility in the Context of Social Change and Social Harm

Rashid Gabdulhakov | Erasmus University Rotterdam, Erasmus School of History Culture and Communication (ESHCC) Department of Media and Communication Supervisors: Dr Daniel Trottier and Prof. Susanne Janssen | 1 March 2017 – 31 March 2021 | gabdulhakov[at]eshcc.eur.nl

Digital Vigilantism in Russia: Mediated Visibility in the Context of Social Change and Social Harm[1]

[1] This work was supported by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO)
[project number 276-45-004]

Brief research description:

As part of an international project, this research examines digital vigilance in the context of the Russian Federation with the aim of a nuanced representation of the phenomenon, including emergence and decay of cases, motives behind participation and its impact on targets, as well as the role of the state agents in mediated citizen-led justice. Given that the state is a traditional power monopolist and in the case of Russia is a media superpower with tight control over the public sphere, the research enquires how digital vigilantism practices manifest through state-citizen and citizen-to-citizen relations. This multi method project relies on qualitative content analysis of traditional media coverage of cases as well as content analysis of media products generated by vigilantes themselves. The research additionally relies on semi-structured and in-depth interviews with key stakeholders, including digital vigilantes and their targets, as well as policymakers, media professionals, NGO representative, academics, and law enforcement authorities. The core objective of this interdisciplinary research is to contribute to advancing theoretical boundaries of digital vigilantism as a platform for both social change and social harm.

In order to address a diverse set of nuances that inform digital vigilance in the Russian Federation, the following primary and supportive research questions will be addressed:

RQ: How are DV practices in Russia manifested through state-citizen and citizen-to-citizen relations?

  • SQ1: How is DV in Russia informed by historically-situated practices of outsourced, crowdsourced, and volunteered citizen-led justice, as well as denouncing, shaming, and moralizing of citizens by fellow citizens?
  • SQ2: How is DV framed and rendered meaningful by state-owned and independent Russian media?
  • SQ3: What are the drivers of emergence and decay of DV-themed initiatives in the Russian context?
  • SQ4: How are key aspects of DV (including shaming, moralizing, doxing, harassment, and embodied actions) utilized by DV participants?
  • SQ5: How is DV experienced by participants and targets in Russia?


Ornella Porcu Exploring Innovative Learning Culture in the Legacy Media Newsroom (working title)

Ornella Porcu | University of Groningen, Research Centre for Media and Journalism Studies and Hogeschool Windesheim, Kenniscentrum Media | Promotor: Prof. dr Marcel Broersma (RUG) and dr Liesbeth Hermans (Windesheim) | Started February 1st 2016 (until finished) | o.c.porcu[at]rug.nl

Exploring Innovative Learning Culture in the Legacy Media Newsroom (working title)

The aim of this project is to empirically explore the concept of Innovative Learning Culture (ILC) in the Dutch newspaper newsroom.

Amanda Brouwers: Entrepreneurship at work: analysing practice, labour, and creativity in journalism

Amanda Brouwers  | University of Groningen, Journalism and Media Studies | Promotor: prof. dr Tamara C. Witschge, supervisor: dr Dana Mustata | 01-02-2016 — 31-01-2020 | a.d.brouwer[at]rug.nl

Entrepreneurship at work: analysing practice, labour, and creativity in journalism
overarching project: Entrepreneurship at Work

The overall aim of the larger project, initiated by Tamara Witschge, is to theorise emerging shared understandings, everyday work activities, and material contexts of entrepreneurial journalism, in a time when established legacy media face significant challenges and new forms of journalism are emerging. The aim of the sub-project is to provide detailed observations of everyday activities in entrepreneurial journalism.

This PhD tries to accomplish that by letting the researcher practice and participate in the different phases of entrepreneurial journalism, and write an auto-ethnography about the process. Reflection on this process will include different components constituting previous practices, including: everyday work activities; professional self‐understandings; short and longer term aims; emotions (excitement and/or anxiety about the creative and precarious process); personal and professional network relations; material and economic context. Important in the process of reflection will be the concept of practice theory as previously described by Nick Couldry (2004) and Bengt Johannisson (2009), thereby defining journalism as practice.

The project is currently midway, and has so far focused on tacit knowing and a variety of implicit norms in (entrepreneurial) journalism, such as norms surrounding failure, the long working hours culture, and conceptualisations of audiences.



Stefan Baack: Knowing what counts. How journalists and civic technologists use and imagine data

Stefan Baack | University of Groningen, Media Studies and Journalism | Supervisors: Prof. dr Marcel Broersma and Prof. dr Tamara Witschge | September 2013 – August 2017 | sbaack[at]rug.nl

Knowing what counts. How journalists and civic technologists use and imagine data

My dissertation examines how the growing reliance on data and the steady quantification of social life affects democratic publics. It studies the practices and social imaginaries of two actors who facilitate the use quantitative techniques in key areas of public space: data activists and data journalists. As data activists, I describe activists in the open data and civic tech movements who develop projects that aim to make engagement with authorities easier for citizens, e.g. parliamentary monitoring websites that make parliamentary speeches more accessible. Data journalism is used as a label to describe all forms of journalism that work with quantitative data. Data journalists and data activists are relevant because they are so called ‘pioneer communities’ for the use of data within civil society and journalism, which means that they act as exemplars that provide orientation for others.

The thesis is based on three case studies and asks two research questions: (1) What is the role of data in the social imaginaries and practices of data activists and data journalists; and (2) how do the practices and imaginaries of these actors diverge and converge, and how does this shape the entanglements between them? The study shows, first, that the implications of data for democratic publics cannot be determined in an abstract way because they are socially and historically situated and, second, that datafication is creating new entanglements between actors who aspire to work in a public interest, which affects how classic democratic visions are being implemented.