In August, I took up a new position as Assistant Professor in Cyber-Security and Politics at Maastricht University. As a result, this project has been terminated.
While the project has formally ended, the research continues. If you’d like to know more, please get in touch at m.wijermars[at]maastrichtuniversity.nl
At the BASEES Annual Conference (12-14 April, Robinson College, Cambridge) I will be speaking about interactivity and viewer engagement in current affairs programming and its role in emotional and rational persuasion. For further details, see the paper abstract below.
Interactivity and Emotional Persuasion in Russian State Television Mariëlle Wijermars, University of Helsinki
Despite the expanding influence of online media, Russian state television continues to be a leading source of information for Russians (Mukhametshina 2018). The importance of federal TV channels for shaping public opinion—in other words, their political usefulness— and their general ‘state-loyalty’ that results from, e.g., media ownership structures often leads to the assumption that their coverage of events is univocal. In reality, however, many formats on Russian state TV channels, including those dedicated to current affairs, explicitly incorporate opposing views—albeit in carefully scripted and choreographed ways. This is particularly the case for politically and socially oriented talk shows, some of which exceed news broadcasts in their popularity (Mediascope 2018). Scholarship thus far has focused on the analysis of narrative content and argumentation in Russian TV programming, with an emphasis on news (e.g. Hutchings and Tolz 2015; Tolz and Teper 2018). While the incorporation of (simulated) debate in general lacks comprehensive examination, one form remains particularly underexposed: audience interactivity. This paper examines various forms of interactivity and viewer engagement in current affairs programming with the aim of examining its role in emotional and rational persuasion. Approaching Russian television from the perspective of political communication, it analyses different forms of audience interaction (e.g., e-voting, Twitter live streams, call-ins) and their function in the televised debate of current political questions.
On 10 March, an estimated 15.000 people took part in a Moscow protest against a proposed law on the ‘isolation’ of the Russian internet. I commented on the ‘Internet sovereignty’ law, as well as other recent development in Russian internet regulation, for BBC World Service’s Newshour.
Listen back to the interview here
What are the opportunities for applying digital humanities methods and, in particular, Computer Vision to study policy legitimation in mass media? Can Computer Vision and other multimodal approaches help us understand and analyse the non-narrative elements of political communication, such as intonation and facial expressions, as they occur in, e.g., speeches, news broadcasts and TV talk shows? To explore these questions, I will participate in the two-day workshop ‘Towards New Horizons in Digital Humanities: Multimodal Approaches for Visual Media’ at the University of Passau, organised by the Passau Center for eHumanities (15-16.03). To what extent can multimodal approaches to (audio)visual materials help detect, categorise and measure the prevalence of affective triggers in the framing of internet policy in Russian TV talk shows?
On Friday 8 March I will be speaking about affective framing and the legitimation of internet control at the conference ‘Moral Machines? Ethics and Politics of the Digital World’ in Helsinki. The three day conference (6-8 March) is organised by Susanna Lindberg and Hanna-Riikka Roine at the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies.
11.00–13.00 Session 9: Geopolitics and Technology of Space (HCAS common room)
Mariëlle Wijermars (Aleksanteri Institute): “Affective Framing and the Legitimation of Internet Control in Russia”