Our focus is the theme of media, defined as the main means of mass communication. The importance of addressing this topic is highlighted by the prominent role of the media in political, economic, scientific, and social discourse. With a drastic shift towards digital communication, individuals and organizations are able to almost instantly disseminate information to a large audience with little-to-no regulation, creating both new challenges and opportunities.
The purpose of the interest group is to bring together academics studying different aspects of the media and practitioners representing different sides of the media (e.g., journalists, fact-checkers and platforms), in order to explore several important themes and the wide range of efforts in today’s mediasphere. We will aim to create a community of individuals working in/on media and become a platform for interdisciplinary communication that facilitates concrete collaborations within and outside of academia.
Explaining the science
Digital media is vast, and the nature and sources of data within it are extremely varied (e.g., text, audio, images and videos on news websites and social media platforms). Media-related data is inherently time-dependent and there is often a lack of sufficiently large labeled ground truth data for many questions of interest (e.g., news credibility at the level of articles or claims). The variety of media data raises important questions around the generalisability of scientific tools across platforms, languages and data formats, and the interactive aspect of media brings up profound questions on detecting causality.
Research challenges within digital media have been approached from many different angles, including natural language processing, network science, machine learning, statistics, computer science, social science, and political science. In this interest group, we hope to bring together researchers across these different communities and, in collaboration with practitioners, to define and address concrete real-world challenges.
Key aims of this interest group are
- interdisciplinary research
- close collaboration with practitioners
- real-world impact.
Our objectives will be to form close ties with key players in the media landscape, to develop a holistic understanding of the state-of-play, and to contribute to improving the reliability and robustness of the information sphere we live in today.
We will organise a series of workshops (two per year) around narrowly defined media-related themes. Workshops will involve both UK-based and international speakers and participants. The interest group co-organisers will aim to publish a yearly report highlighting key workshop takeaways.
Our workshops will favour depth over breadth by involving field experts on targeted domains, enable knowledge transfer between academics and practitioners (e.g., through mediated group discussions and panels), and explore different communication mediums (e.g., surveys and blog posts). Between workshops, we will aim to organise related and informal meet-ups, training sessions, and “hackathons” (e.g., through the Data Study Group).
- The shift from traditional journalism to computational journalism
- Misinformation, disinformation, malinformation
- Expert opinions and fact-checks
- Adoption of technology in the media industry: successes and challenges
- Content moderation and personalisation (with an emphasis on the importance of UX)
- Interplay between key players of the mediasphere (e.g., the public, platforms, news organizations, policy makers)
- The future of digital media
How to get involved
Karl Aberer, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne
Rabab Ahmad Alkhalifa, Queen Mary University of London
Madhav Chinnappa, Google and the Reuters Institute
John Dougrez-Lewis, University of Warwick
Gabriele Pergola, University of Warwick
Marzieh Saeidi, Facebook Research
Qiang Zhang, UCL
Arkaitz Zubiaga, Queen Mary University of London