HYBRA: Title: Racisms and public communications in the hybrid media environment

The project explores how racism is constituted, defined, circulated and challenged in today’s transnational media circuits and practices. The goal of the project is to understand the new forms of public engagements and affective experiences concerning racism in the hybrid media environment shaped by cooperation and conflict between older and newer media logics. The area of investigation is particularly topical now as the refugee crisis of 2015 continues to amplify the public debates on racism in Finland and Europe. By exploring the formations of racism in hybrid media the project gains information that is crucial for constructing civic society and social cohesion for the future of multicultural societies.

Previous research on racism has focused on the formations of the extreme right and the rise of populism in political communication or experiences of racism unrelated to media. There is a pressing need for an understanding of everyday racism and anti-racism, and the ways in which they are inescapably embedded in media practices in contemporary media-saturated societies.

The cross-disciplinary project applies cutting-edge methodology with an innovative combination of the computational and social sciences. An exceptionally large dataset collected from the Finnish online discussions including all media platforms and the main social media networks provides a unique opportunity for research synergy. The consortium is developing a method path from online dataset to qualitative research with rich combinations of methods from rhetoric analysis to multimodal semiotic analysis. The research path continues from qualitative analysis to live, experiential laboratory experiments created for the purposes of this project. Thus HYBRA is unique in its scope both nationally and internationally. The results will have a high academic impact on social cohesion and policy making, providing new knowledge and concrete steps to tackle problems of racism – with particular attention to addressing the new, more implicit and mediated forms of racism.

Project news and updates can be found in our Rajapinta-blog under the tag hybra.

Consortium PI: Professor Kaarina Nikunen, University of Tampere
Consortium sub-project PI: Professor Mervi Pantti, University of Helsinki
Consortium sub-project PI: Professor Marko Turpeinen, Aalto University
Duration: 1.9.2016-31.12. 2019
Funded by the Academy of Finland.

Cyber-elections 2015 – a big data study on the agenda around the Finnish Parliamentary Elections 2015

The research project analyzes the use of the digital media and agenda setting processes in the Finnish parliamentary elections in 2015. The study builds on political science and communication studies by combining normalization hypothesis with agenda building research.

The theoretical starting point is the normalization hypothesis formulated within political studies. This hypothesis suggests that the practices in online media will be formed and transformed by the practices in offline media. In this project, the question of normalization is combined with the theorizing about agenda setting and agenda building, as we ask who defines the digital agenda around the elections. Is the agenda normalized in traditional media, social media or in voting advice applications?

Our approach is strongly interdisciplinary. Computational social science and big data methods are conjoined with online ethnography to produce scientific knowledge of the online public sphere and human behavior. Our aim is to shed light to the ways different news and conversations topics are formed in and between different types of media.  Simultaneously our aim is to lay foundations for new approaches to conduct cross-disciplinary big data studies in the future.

The project partners are Digital Content Communities group at HIIT, Aalto and the Communication Research Center at University of Helsinki, Faculty of Social Science. The project is funded by Helsingin Sanomat Foundation. The project is led by Senior Research Scientist Marko Turpeinen (HIIT) and Director Mikko VIlli (CRC).

The project runs from 1.1.2015 to 31.3.2016.

Clash of Cultures: The challenge of social media for journalism ethics

The project examines the clash of different ethical cultures in the new media environment. First, the focus is on the challenges that the Internet culture poses for journalistic ethics. Secondly, the project discusses the growing significance of social media as a new platform of media criticism.  The empirical data consists of case studies as well as survey and interview material. The project aims at improving journalistic practices.

The director of the project is Juha Herkman,  juha.herkman@helsinki.fi. Laura Juntunen works as a researcher in the project.

The project is funded by the Helsingin Sanomat Foundation.

Co-Design of Digital Storytelling System with Geographic Information

The Academy of Finland funds the two-year project “Co-Design of Digital Storytelling System with Geographic Information: The Interplay Between Face-to-face and Mediated Communication in Urban Communities in Finland and Japan”. The Japanese partners are funded by the Japan Society for Promotion of Science.

The project brings together the work of research communities in Finland and Japan to form a new interdisciplinary approach combining communication research, urban planning and collaborative action research, in an effort to better understand the relationship and interplay between face-to-face (F2F) and mediated communication in urban communities. In particular, the project will explore the possibilities to tie together methodologies and approaches from the Japanese and Finnish collaborators, namely DST (Digital Storytelling), Collaborative Design and SoftGIS (Geographic Information Systems) into a useful methodological toolset. The main contribution of the project lies in developing the methodological toolset and producing new knowledge on the use of communication technology in urban communities.


The partners are:

University of Helsinki, Department of Social Research, Media and Communication Studies, CRC

Aalto University, School of Engineering, Department of Surveying and Planning, Land Use Planning and Urban Studies Group

Aalto University, School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Department of Media, Arki research group

University of Tokyo

Sapporo Ohtani University

Hitotsubashi University

The principal investigator of the consortium in Finland is adjunct professor Mikko Villi and in Japan professor Shin Mizukoshi.

Facing the Coordination Challenge: Problems, Policies, and Politics in Media and Communication Regulation

The background of the project is on the emerging European policy paradigm of media and communications policy-making on the one hand, and its impacts on the Finnish national media systems and their institutional foundations on the other hand. Previous empirically oriented research has focused mainly on transformations of media policy in a national context, whereas analyses employing broader communication perspectives are relatively scarce. The project is anchored on four case studies concerning the press, broadcasting, telecommunication, and copyright (especially in the Internet). Organizing the research into case studies allows the integration of various methodological approaches into the analysis (quantitative and qualitative content analysis of legislation, policy documents, news media content, and interviews of key actors in policy formation).

More details available on the project website.

Project leader Hannu Nieminen, hannu.nieminen@helsinki.fi
Funded by the Academy of Finland