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Journalism-as-a-Service: Amplifying
Public Intellectual Contributions through The Conversation
Prof. Axel Bruns, Digital M...
Science Communication Online
• Science journalism:
– Online equivalents of conventional media
– ‘Born digital’ publication...
What Would Be Desirable Here?
• An ideal picture of science communication:
– Coverage initiated by scientists, and
– Direc...
Amplifier Platforms for Science
• ‘Disruptive Innovation’ trends in various industries:
– Spotify, Netflix, cloud computin...
The Conversation
• Key elements:
– Content selection through crowdsourcing:
• Scientists propose new articles themselves, ...
Project History
• How does such a platform emerge?
– Journalism + Research = Conversation:
• Founded by Andrew Jaspan, for...
Tweets linking to The Conversation, compared to other Australian news sites (Jan./Feb. 2016)
Proactive Science Communication
• Why bother?
– Science and its contribution to society:
• Scientists have a duty to engag...
@snurb_dot_info
@fhanusch
@socialmediaQUT – http://socialmedia.qut.edu.au/
@qutdmrc – https://www.qut.edu.au/research/dmrc...
Journalism-as-a-Service: Amplifying Public Intellectual Contributions through The Conversation
Journalism-as-a-Service: Amplifying Public Intellectual Contributions through The Conversation
Journalism-as-a-Service: Amplifying Public Intellectual Contributions through The Conversation
Journalism-as-a-Service: Amplifying Public Intellectual Contributions through The Conversation
Journalism-as-a-Service: Amplifying Public Intellectual Contributions through The Conversation
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Journalism-as-a-Service: Amplifying Public Intellectual Contributions through The Conversation

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Paper by Axel Bruns and Folker Hanusch presented at ECREA 2016, Prague, 9-12 Nov. 2016.

Published in: News & Politics
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Journalism-as-a-Service: Amplifying Public Intellectual Contributions through The Conversation

  1. 1. Journalism-as-a-Service: Amplifying Public Intellectual Contributions through The Conversation Prof. Axel Bruns, Digital Media Research Centre, Queensland University of Technology Prof. Folker Hanusch, Department of Communication, University of Vienna a.bruns @ qut edu.au / folker.hanusch @ univie.ac.at @snurb_dot_info / @fhanusch
  2. 2. Science Communication Online • Science journalism: – Online equivalents of conventional media – ‘Born digital’ publications following conventional frameworks  Journalist-initiated topic selection and framing, large reach, good content quality • DIY science communication: – Institutional and project Websites – Group and individual blogs run by scientists – Open access journals  Original texts, self-initiated exchange between researchers, rarely beyond in-group • Social media: – Researchers, journalists, industry, interested laypeople – Potential to connect with international networks  Self-initiated topic selection, often limited reach, ‘preaching to the converted’
  3. 3. What Would Be Desirable Here? • An ideal picture of science communication: – Coverage initiated by scientists, and – Direct participation by scientists in content development – but also – Largest possible reach across mass and niche media, and – Style of communication accessible to laypeople • Is this possible? – In research: • Science communication as a distraction from research process • Limited communication training for researchers, limited institutional recognition • Fear of populist attacks in controversial fields – In journalism: • International ‘crisis of journalism’ • Job cuts particularly in specialty fields such as journalism • Mass media agendas strongly influenced by the short-term topics
  4. 4. Amplifier Platforms for Science • ‘Disruptive Innovation’ trends in various industries: – Spotify, Netflix, cloud computing, Uber, … – ‘everything-as-a-service’  Journalism-as-a-service – for scientists? • ‘Crisis’ of journalism presents opportunities for new models: – Innovative publishing structures, especially online – Experiments with textual formats and styles – Breakdown of traditional barriers between journalists and non-journalists – Partnerships with conventional mass media – Targetted integration with social media  Amplifier platforms like The Conversation
  5. 5. The Conversation • Key elements: – Content selection through crowdsourcing: • Scientists propose new articles themselves, and submit raw drafts • Text development by journalistic editors, for approval by scientists – Journalism-as-a-service: • Scientific research, professional editing by journalists • Publication on centralised, widely known platform – Designed for shareability: • Consistent use of Creative Commons licences • Links to content shared via social media – Evaluation of reach and impact: • Real-time dashboards for researchers and institutions • Tracking of sharing and republication in social and mass media
  6. 6. Project History • How does such a platform emerge? – Journalism + Research = Conversation: • Founded by Andrew Jaspan, former editor of The Age (Melbourne) • Financially supported by a consortium of Australian universities • Editorial team partly housed at Australian universities • Original URL: theconversation.edu.au, due to university connections – Supportive environment: • Political demands for societal relevance of (funded) research • Internal incentives for researcher participation at universities • Market gap due to very limited media diversity in Australia – Clearly demonstrable successes: • Detailed information on user numbers and content dissemination • Expansion into UK, US, France, southern Africa, Canada, …
  7. 7. Tweets linking to The Conversation, compared to other Australian news sites (Jan./Feb. 2016)
  8. 8. Proactive Science Communication • Why bother? – Science and its contribution to society: • Scientists have a duty to engage in public debates • Research institutions should encourage and reward such contributions • Particularly effective means of engagement should be preferred – International trends towards the evaluation of such effects: • E.g. RAE, REF (UK), RQF, ERA (Australia), … • Controversial metrics for ‘impact’, ‘excellence’, ‘public value’ • Push towards a ‘public value test’ for publicly-funded research activities  Better to actively contribute to the creation and tracking of such metrics than to be passively subjected to them…
  9. 9. @snurb_dot_info @fhanusch @socialmediaQUT – http://socialmedia.qut.edu.au/ @qutdmrc – https://www.qut.edu.au/research/dmrc This research is funded by the Australian Research Council through Future Fellowship grant FT130100703, LIEF LE140100148, Discovery DP160101211 and Linkage LP160100205.

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