Comet guest lectures

A number of distinguished international scholars in media and communication studies are annually invited to give guest lectures that are open for everyone. Welcome!

Lectures in 2023

Wiebke Loosen: Four Forms of Datafied Journalism – and how ”Communicative AI” is Making its Way into the News Production Circle

Time: Friday 3 February, 2023 at 13:15–14:00Venue: City centre campus, Pinni B building, lecture hall B4113 (no registration required)
Live stream available:   (Note that the live stream will only appear in the folder when the event starts)

Prof. Dr. Wiebke Loosen is Senior Journalism Researcher at the Hans-Bredow Institute for Media Research in Hamburg (Germany) as well as Professor at the University of Hamburg. Her current research focuses on the changing journalism-audience relationship, the datafication of journalism, forms of pioneer journalism and the emerging start-up culture in journalism, as well as algorithms’ ‘journalism-like’ constructions of public spheres and reality.

In her talk to us, Loosen notes how journalism is becoming increasingly datafied and a field where (more or less) AI-driven technologies are rapidly being appropriated. Her talk introduces the concept of ”Communicative AI” (ComAI) and explores its role in the news production cycle. In doing so, it will show how the ”four Pros” – projects, products, prototyping, and projections – are changing journalistic practices and thinking.

Contact: Jari Väliverronen, jari.valiverronen at

Lectures in 2022

Silvio Waisbord: The “future of journalism” is uncertain and plural (but beware of predictions)

Time: Thursday 22 September, 2022 at 10:15–11:45Venue: City centre campus, main building, lecture room D14

Silvio Waisbord is Director and Professor in the School of Media and Public Affairs at the George Washington University, USA. He is a versatile and well-known figure in communication, media, and journalism studies. He has published on investigative journalism, media scandals, communication studies, media policy, and global social change.

In this Comet Guest Lecture, Silvio Waisbord will focus on the “future of journalism”. We know that for the past decades, scholars, journalists and the news industry have pondered ”the future of journalism”. Everyone seems to have a ”hot take” on what’s coming up. The argument in this talk is that debate about the future needs to recognize that journalism is always plural. That nothing about journalism can be boxed in singular categories. That there is no single future because there is no single journalism. Speaking in plural might nudge the debate in a productive direction – thinking about differences, drivers of change, options, and comparisons, instead of tacitly assuming that “journalism” is somewhat cohesive or that it is on its way towards a common future.

Silvio Waisbord has published close to 200 articles on in academic journals in several languages. He is past editor-in-chief of the Journal of Communication and the International Journal of Press/Politics. He has lectured in universities in more than forty countries in Africa, the Americas, Asia, and Europe. He holds a Licenciatura in sociology from the Universidad de Buenos Aires and Ph.D. in sociology from the University of California, San Diego.

Lectures in 2019

  • Richard Rogers (University of Amsterdam), November 21
  • Patrick Burkart (Texas A&M University, USA), October 28
  • Matthew Powers (University of Washington), September 6
  • Lina Dencik (University of Cardiff), April 17
  • Zeynep Devrim Gürsel, February 25

Richard Rogers:
Situating Digital Methods

The lecture historicises and theorises digital methods, situating them as a part of the computational turn in internet-related research, however distinct from big data, and contrasts them ontologically and epistemologically from virtual methods, or the importation of methods from the humanities and the social sciences onto the web. It subsequently introduces the study of the ‘natively digital’ (and the notion itself) and discusses the prospects of making findings or having research outcomes that may be grounded in the online, putting forward the notion of ‘online groundedness’. It does so through discussions of how to study Wikipedia, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Reddit, 4chan as well as Telegram.

Richard Rogers is the author of Digital Methods (MIT Press, 2013), which won ICA’s Outstanding Book Award in 2014, The End of the Virtual (Amsterdam University Press, 2009), Information Politics on the Web (MIT Press, 2004/2005), and most recently Doing Digital Methods (Sage, 2019). He is also director of the Digital Methods Initiative (DMI). DMI is one of the leading research groups within Internet Studies, and specialises in designing methods and tools for repurposing online devices and platforms (Twitter, Facebook, Google etc.) for research into social and political issues. Instead of migrating existing methods onto the web, DMI writes and repurposes tools specifically designed to run online. The DMI toolbox includes, among other things, tools that can extract URLs from different sources, scrape images, extract datasets from Facebook, scrape Pinterest for pins, capture tweets, extract data from YouTube, compare images across language versions of Wikipedia etc. One of the most well-known tools developed by DMI is the Issue Crawler, a server-side Web crawler, co-link machine and graph visualizer, which maps online networks working in the same issue area (cf.

The lecture is organized by HYTE research consortium and Institute for Advanced Social Research (IASR).
Contact: Niina Uusitalo, niina.uusitalo at

Patrick Burkart:
Why hackers win: Power and disruption in the network society

When people think of hackers, they usually think of a lone wolf acting with the intent to garner personal data for identity theft and fraud. But what about the corporations and government entities that use hacking as a strategy for managing risk? Why Hackers Win asks how and why the instrumental uses of invasive software by corporations and government agencies contribute to social change. Through a critical lens, the book focuses on the struggles of breaking and defending the “trusted systems” underlying our everyday use of technology. Presenting prominent case studies of communication law and policy, corporate hacks, and key players in the global cybersecurity market, the book proposes a political economic model of new markets for software vulnerabilities and exploits, and clearly illustrates the social functions of hacking.

Professor Patrick Burkart (Texas A&M University, USA) is the author of Why Hackers Win: Power and Disruption in the Network Society (University of California Press, Forthcoming in Oct, 2019, with Tom McCourt), Pirate Politics: The New Information Policy Contests (MIT Press, 2014), Music and Cyberliberties (Wesleyan University Press, 2010), and Digital Music Wars: Ownership and Control of the Celestial Jukebox (Rowman & Littlefield, 2006, with Tom McCourt). He is Editor-in-Chief of Popular Communication: The International Journal of Media and Culture (Taylor & Francis, with Christian Christensen). He is also affiliated with Luleå Technological University (Sweden) on an international research grant focused on Spotify.

This open lecture is organized by the Hybrid Terrorizing (HYTE) research project, Research Centre COMET, the Institute for Advanced Social Research (IASR) and the Unit of Communication Sciences at Tampere University.
Contact: Katja Valaskivi, katja.valaskivi at

Matthew Powers:
NGO’s as Newsmakers

Professor Matthew Powers’ research explores transformations in contemporary journalism through a cross-national comparative lens. He will talking about this recent book NGOs as Newsmakers: The Changing Landscape of International News (Columbia University Press, 2018/Reuters Institute Global Journalism). Based on rich evidence of interviews, observations, and content analysis, the book examines the growing role of non-governmental organizations in shaping — and in some cases directly producing — international news coverage of humanitarian and human rights issues. Powers has also has worked several years in comparative analysis of local journalism in France and the United States. This project asks how journalists in these distinct contexts react to the similar economic and technological transformations that confront them.

Contact: Project Leader (Mediatization of Governance) Risto Kunelius, risto.kunelius at

Lina Dencik:
Digital Citizenship in a Datafied Society

Lecture based on the book by Arne Hintz, Lina Dencik & Karin Wahl-Jorgensen

In contemporary societies, our everyday actions and interactions produce data. From using social media to shopping online, from supporting political campaigns to checking our health, and from operating a smart TV to walking through a smart city, data traces are produced, collected, and analysed. Through this data we are increasingly categorized, rated, ranked and scored – as consumers but also as citizens. This leads to a transformation in the relations between the state and the citizen.

The concept of digital citizenship has been particularly helpful in understanding how people interact with their social, political and economic environment in a digital world. Focusing on people’s active creation of citizenship in digital environments, it has emphasized citizen agency and empowerment. However, as contemporary governance becomes increasingly centred on the collection and analysis of personal data, the age of ‘datafication’ requires us to rethink the concept and its implications. While digital tools continue to help citizens develop their own position in society, they also enhance the opportunities for governmental and commercial institutions to trace and track, sort and profile, assess and monitor citizens and thus to assign citizenship roles through data analysis.

Bio: Lina Dencik is Reader at Cardiff’s School of Journalism, Media and Culture and Co-Founder/Director of the Data Justice Lab. Her research concerns the interplay between media developments and social and political change, with a particular focus on resistance and globalisation. Recently, she has moved into the areas of digital surveillance and the politics of data and worked on the ESRC-funded project Digital Citizenship and Surveillance Society and the project Managing Threats: Social Media Uses for Policing Domestic Extremism and Disorder funded by the Media Democracy Fund, Ford Foundation and Open Society Foundations.

Lina has recently been awarded a Starting Grant from the European Research Council and is Principal Investigator on the project DATAJUSTICE. With the Data Justice Lab, she has also worked on two further projects, Data Scores as Governancefunded by the Open Society Fondations and Data Policies funded by IDRC India (in collaboration with IT for Change), and is currently working on a new two-year project Towards Democratic Auditing funded by the Open Society Foundations.

She is the author of four books including Media and Global Civil Society (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012), Worker Resistance and Media: Challenging Global Corporate Power in the 21st Century (co-authored with Peter Wilkin, Peter Lang, 2015), and Critical Perspectives on Social Media and Protest: Between Emancipation and Control (co-edited with Oliver Leistert, Rowman & Littlefield International, 2015). Her fourth book (co-authored with Arne Hintz and Karin Wahl-Jorgensen) Digital Citizenship in a Datafied Society was published with Polity Press in 2018. She holds a PhD from Goldsmiths, University of London and has previously worked at the Central European University in Budapest where she is still a Fellow with the Center for Media, Data and Society (CMDS). Prior to that she worked as a television producer/director at Brook Lapping Productions in London.

Contact: Professor Risto Kunelius, risto.kunelius at

Zeynep Devrim Gürsel:
Portraits of Unbelonging: Photography and the making of Armenian emigrants

Portraits of Unbelonging is the first in-depth exploration of the official role of photography in the history of Armenian emigration to the United States, one of the first examples of photography being used to police borders. It investigates Armenian families who emigrated from the Ottoman empire through a collection of one hundred photographs taken between 1905 and 1908. Armenian Ottoman subjects received their passports on the explicit condition that they renounce their nationality and never return to the empire. Assumed to posit a potential future threat to the empire, emigrating families were photographed to create anticipatory arrest warrants intended to facilitate identification in the event of an undesired and dangerous future return. Portraits of Unbelonging is a double-sided history of migration. Like each individual photograph, the project faces two directions: the Ottoman past and an American future. It is a history of mass migration on an intimate scale.

Zeynep Devrim Gürsel is a media anthropologist and Associate Professor in the department of Anthropology at Rutgers University and a 2018 NOMIS Fellow at eikones Center for the Theory and History of the Image in Basel, Switzerland. She is the author of Image Brokers: Visualizing World News in the Age of Digital Circulation(University of California Press, 2016), an ethnography of the international photojournalism industry during its digitalization at the beginning of the 21st century, based on fieldwork conducted in the United States, France and Turkey. Currently she is researching photography as a tool of governmentality in the late Ottoman period. Specifically, she is investigating photography during the reign of Sultan Abdülhamit (1876-1909) from medical imagery to prison portraiture to understand emerging forms of the state and the changing contours of Ottoman subjecthood.

The lecture is organized together with Visual Studies Lab. Contact: asko.lehmuskallio at

Lectures in 2018

  • Fernando Bermejo, February 2
  • Chris W. Anderson, March 9
  • Kristoffer Holt, May 22

Kristoffer Holt:
Immigration Critical Alternative Media in Sweden

Kristoffer Holt is Associate professor at the Department of Media and Journalism (MJ) in Linnæus university, Kalmar, Sweden. His research has mostly focused on the societal role of public discourse through media, a subject he has approached from different angles, from historical as well as contemporary perspectives. His publications range from the fields of media history, media ethics, media criticism, citizen and participatory journalism and media and religion.

Abstract: At present Holt’s research is focused primarily on “Immigration Critical Alternative Media”, a quite new phenomenon that has emerged in many countries in the western world. In Sweden and many other European countries, a plethora of new media have emerged with a clear focus on criticising the mainstream media in combination with a criticism of immigration politics. The message often repeated in these alternative media is that mainstream media (MSM), seen as an integrated part of the political system, conceal or distort information that does not fit the “politically correct” agenda and/or that media discourse is constrained due to taboos upheld by journalists. Media channels (especially online participatory media) used by these movements (in Sweden, often called “alternative media” by its proponents) need to be analysed in the light of their position as a self-perceived corrective of traditional mainstream media. These media present alternative interpretations of political and social events and try to influence public opinion according to an agenda that is mainly critical of immigration politics and the perception of an imminent threat of islamization of European countries – although the main focus and level of anti-systemness ( i.e. the extent to which they actually have an impact that could undermine and/or challenge the existing powerholders in the established media system) varies greatly between different actors. This specific type of alternative media is in many ways related to the growth of populist and other right-wing movements and an expression of distrust towards the elites of society, especially in relation to liberal immigration politics. Holt’s research tries to explain why these media exist and what impact they have on public discourse on a general level in society.

Chris W. Anderson:
Apostles of Certainty – Data Journalism and the Politics of Doubt

Chris Anderson is Professor of Media and Communication at the University of Leeds and member of the board of advisors at the Tow Center, Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. Chris studies journalism, politics, and how the production of public knowledge is being transformed in the digital age. He is the author, co-author, or co-editor of 4 books: Rebuilding the News (Temple University Press), The SAGE Handbook of Digital Journalism (with Tamara Witscghe, David Domingo, and Alfred Hermida); Remaking News (with Pablo Boczkowski, The MIT Press), and News: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Michael Schudson and Len Downie, Oxford University Press). He has written academic articles on digital journalism, sociology, political communication, and science and technology studies and more popular pieces for a variety of online websites and blogs. He is completing work on a manuscript tentatively titled Apostles of Certainty: Data Journalism and the Politics of Doubt (Oxford University Press). From 2001–2008 Chris was an editor and organizer at NYC Indymedia, one of the world’s first ”citizen journalism” websites.

Abstract: This talk will trace the long history of quantified journalism in the United States, beginning in the early 20th century and taking us up to the present day. From this history, an argument is made that the general trend in journalism has been the increased comfort in asserting professional certainty when reporting the news. These trends are especially pronounced in today’s data-driven, digital media environment. The talk argues that journalism has learned the wrong lessons from science and that it needs, in an era of hyper-partisanship, to embrace a provisional uncertainty as both a normative and political strategy.

Fernando Bermejo:
Afflictions of the Digital Media Ecosystem

Fernando Bermejo is the progam director of Media Cloud (, a joint project of MIT’s Center for Civic Media, and Harvard University’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society. He is also a faculty associate at the Berkman Klein Center, and founder of Net Data Directory ( He teaches at IE University in Madrid and, for over a decade, was associate professor in the Department of Communication at Universidad Rey Juan Carlos. He is the author of The Internet Audience: Constitution and Measurement (Peter Lang Pub.) and editor of On Communicating: Otherness, Meaning, and Information (Routledge).

Abstract: Over the past few years, what used to be a positive perception of the internet’s role in public communication has turned sour. All of a sudden, the digital media ecosystem is seen as afflicted by (and sometimes as the cause of) fake news, disinformation, manipulation, and propaganda. The promise of technology seems to be spoiled by biased algorithms, malevolent bots, and dangerous artificial intelligence. And the dream of free and enriching communication appears to be mired in a bog of polarization, filter bubbles, and echo chambers. A growing body of literature is addressing all these phenomena, and yet we are still far from understanding their real scale and consequences. This talk will explore what are currently perceived as the main afflictions of the digital media ecosystem, contextualize their origin, map their contours, and assess their impact on public communication.

Lectures in 2017

  • Muniz Sodré, November 20
  • Victor Pickard, October 23
  • Ashwin J. Mathew, October 16
  • Niki Cheong, October 11
  • David M. Berry, May 11
  • Barbie Zelizer, April 21
  • Helen Kennedy, March 7
  • Kaori Hayashi, February 14

Muniz Sodré:
Afro-Brazilian philosophy challenging Western paradigma

Muniz Sodré is professor emeritus at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro and researcher at the Brazilian National Council for Scientific Research (CNPq). He has published 36 books on communication, culture and fiction, mainly in Brazil but also in Spain, Italy, Argentina, Cuba and Belgium. His most recent book is ”Pensar Nagô” (Afro Thinking, 2017). The previous one is “A ciência do comum – notas para o método comunicacional” (The Science of the Common – notes for the communicational method, 2014). He was a member of the Economic and Social Development Council during Lula da Silva’s Government and president of the National Library Foundation in 2005–2010.

Abstract: Philosophy is understood in the West in a deeply restrictive sense; it is considered a purely intellectual exercise and not a way of living. An alternative way to understand philosophy in line with the African and also Brazilian tradition is a ”multiversal” relation to reality and a passion of thinking, whereas the colonial tradition denied an autonomous and endogenous thought. In a culture that does not separate the cosmic real from the human – as it is the case with the Hindus, the Chinese, and the Africans – the verbal process of thought is within the person, understood to be inseparable from the community, which mobilizes the body, both individual and collective as a fundamental anchor.

Victor Pickard:
Journalism Under Trump: A Political Economic Critique

Victor Pickard is a Professor of Communication at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania. His research focuses on the history and political economy of media institutions, media activism, and the politics and normative foundations of media policy.

He is the author of America’s Battle for Media Democracy: The Triumph of Corporate Libertarianism and the Future of Media Reform (Cambridge University Press 2014) and editor of Media Activism in the Digital Age (Routledge 2017, co-edited with Guobin Yang). Other publications include Will the Last Reporter Please Turn out the Lights: The Collapse of Journalism and What Can Be Done To Fix It (co-edited with Robert McChesney).

Abstract: The many challenges facing American journalism have taken on greater urgency during the Trump Era. To understand what ails journalism and what reforms are necessary to address these problems, we must first scrutinize the discourses and policies that mask core pathologies in the American media system. Toward this aim, my talk will bring into focus the ongoing structural collapse of the commercial media model in the United States and will conclude by exploring potential alternatives.

Ashwin J. Mathew:
Geographies of Trust and Practice in Internet Infrastructure

Dr. Ashwin J. Mathew is a visiting scholar and lecturer at the UC Berkeley School of Information, a fellow at the Slow Science Institute, and a researcher at Packet Clearing House. His research is in the area of Internet governance, which he studies by focusing on the relationships, practices, and institutions of the technical personnel who operate Internet infrastructure. He holds Ph.D. and Masters degrees from the UC Berkeley School of Information. His Ph.D. Where in the World is the Internet? Locating Political Power in Internet Infrastructure was awarded the 2016 iConference Doctoral Dissertation Award. Prior to his doctoral work, Dr. Mathew spent a decade working as a software engineer and technical architect in companies such as Adobe Systems and Sun Microsystems.

Abstract: Since its origins, the Internet has been imagined as a space which is ”everywhere and nowhere” (Barlow 1996): a virtual ”space of flows” separated from the physical ”space of places” (Castells 1996). These are politically charged imaginaries, as the virtual spaces of the Internet are often thought to intrinsically encode a democratic participatory politics, surpassing the the seemingly more limited democratic possibilities of the territorial space of the nation state. However, as the Internet has evolved, the problems of increased participation have become readily apparent, with attention today turning to questions of legitimacy and trustworthiness, whether in terms of ”fake news”, or privacy and security in online settings.

In this talk, I connect the seemingly disparate problems of trust and space in the Internet through an analysis of the underlying mechanisms involved in the production of virtual space. I locate these mechanisms in the sociotechnical organization of Internet infrastructure: the practices, institutions, and cultures of the technical personnel responsible for the reliable, stable operation of the thousands of interconnected computer networks which comprise the Internet. I draw from two research projects for my analysis, in which I studied network operators and information security personnel, in sites spanning North America and South Asia.

As I found, the infrastructure of the Internet is stabilized and ordered through practices which rely upon social relationships of trust, across organizational and territorial boundaries. This reliance on trust relationships makes the Internet quite unusual in comparison to other global infrastructures (such as shipping, airlines, or telephone systems) which rely primarily upon state and market arrangements for governance. Indeed, I argue that it is critical to understand the geographies of trust and practice which govern Internet infrastructure if we are to develop a trustworthy and secure future Internet.

Niki Cheong:
Weeding the grass: Social media astroturfing in Malaysia

Niki Cheong is a PhD researcher in Critical Theory and Cultural Studies at The University of Nottingham, UK. He is originally from Malaysia where he spent 12 years as a journalist, and recently published a collection of his decade-long column in the country’s largest English daily The Star. Cheong’s research interest lie at the intersection of media, politics and digital culture.

Abstract: This lecture will discuss the political communication practice engaged by State and political actors known as astroturfing – understood to be organised movements on social media disguised as grassroots sentiment. While studies in this area has been ongoing for many years covering various parts of the world, the current global political climate surrounding the EU referendum and the election of President Donald Trump offers a different perspective to discuss this practice within the context of post-truth politics, alternative facts and fake news.

There exist numerous literature with regards to the practice of astroturfing conducted by political parties and Governments– from authoritarian regimes to pseudo-democratic countries to liberal democracies. Across the globe, astroturfing is used for various reasons: suppressing dissent, propaganda purposes, reverse censorship and manipulation and spin.

This lecture will look at the political astroturfing practices in Malaysia as a case study to illustrate the murky line between information and disinformation being disseminated from politicians, political parties and Governments. In Malaysia, this practice is generally known as “cybertrooping”.

At a time when social media is so pervasive, and considering its significant role in political communication, the pressure is on journalists and the public themselves to discern what is true and what is not. This paper will discuss the empirical data from the Malaysian context as evidence of yet another form of “post-truth” manipulation, one that has been practiced long before Brexit and Trump.

David M. Berry:
Towards a critique of machine learning: Critical digital humanities and Artificial Intelligence

David M. Berry is Professor of Digital Humanities at the Sussex Humanities Lab, University of Sussex, UK. He works on critical reason, critical philosophies of computation and digital humanities, and critical theory. His latest book is Digital Humanities: Knowledge and Critique in a Digital Age (2017, with Anders Fagerjord).

Abstract: This paper investigates the claims of computational models and practices drawn from the field of artificial intelligence and more particularly machine learning. I do this to explore the extent to which machine learning raises important questions for our notions of being human, but also, relatedly the concept of civil society and democracy as distilled through notions of hermeneutic practice. That is, that in the 21st century we are seeing the creation of specific formations which threaten historical notions of humanities research and thinking. They represent new modes of knowing and thinking driven by these new forms of computation such as machine learning and Big Data, and which will have implications for the capacity to develop and use social and human faculties. Through the lens of critical theory I explore the way in which these new techniques raise questions for thinking about the human, critical reason and the humanities.

Barbie Zelizer:
US Journalism’s Cold War Mindset

Barbie Zelizer is the Raymond Williams Professor of Communication at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania and Director of the Scholars Program in Culture and Communication. A former journalist, her work centers on the intersection of culture, journalism, collective memory and images, with a special focus on crisis. She is the author 14 books, many with international awards. Her latest book, What Journalism Could Be, was published by Polity in 2016.

Abstract: The talk will address the ways in which US journalism remains tied to a deep mindset set in place during the Cold War. It delineates the basic dimensions of this mindset and argues that it continues to shape current journalism both explicitly and implicitly.

Helen Kennedy:
Data visualisation: possibility or problem?

Helen Kennedy is Professor of Digital Society at the University of Sheffield. Her research has traversed digital media landscapes, covering topics from web homepages to data visualisation, from race, class, gender inequality to learning disability and web accessibility, and from web design to social media data mining. She has recently been researching what happens when social media data mining becomes widespread – this research was funded by an AHRC Fellowship and published as a monograph entitled Post, Mine, Repeat: social media data mining becomes ordinary (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016). Other recent research includes Seeing Data (, which explored how non-experts relate to data visualisations (funded by an AHRC Digital Transformation large grant). She is interested in critical approaches to big data and data visualisations, how to make data more accessible to ordinary citizens, whether data matter to people, and how people live with data.

Abstract: In our increasingly data-driven societies, data are accorded growing importance, assumed to have the power to explain our social world and relied upon in decision-making that affects all our lives. Increasingly, data matter. An important way that many people get access to data is through visualisations which, like the data on which they are based, are also widely circulated – ‘data are mobilised graphically’, say Gitelman and Jackson (2013:12). Academic research, world news, sports stats and our own digital footsteps are increasingly communicated in visualised-datafied forms.

This paper draws on a range of research projects which investigate data visualisation from a critical humanities and social science perspective, to reflect simultaneously on the possibilities that data visualisation opens up and the problems that it ushers forth. It considers two dominant ideas about datavis: the first is the belief in the power of visualisations to promote greater understanding of data and the second is the argument that visualisations do persuasive, ideological work, privileging certain viewpoints and serving as mechanisms of power and control. To these two perspectives I add two further issues emerging from my research: the politics of the pragmatic challenges involved producing a good data visualisation, and the emotional dimensions of engaging with data through visualisations. The paper concludes by bringing these divergent perspectives together in a framework for thinking about (and thinking with) data visualisation.

Kaori Hayashi:
From dining tables to personal tablets: Japanese mass newspapers and their fate in the age of digital transformation

Kaori Hayashi is Professor of Media and Journalism Studies at the Graduate School of Interdisciplinary Information Studies, the University of Tokyo. Her most recent English publications include Internet Revolution Revisited: A Comparative Study of Online News. In: Media Culture & Society 35 (7), 880-897. Co-authored with Curran, James, et. al. Multi-Layer Research Design for Analyses of Journalism and Media Systems in the Global Age: Test Case Japan forthcoming in: Media Culture & Society. Co-authored with Gerd G. Kopper. For her publication list, please see:

Abstract: Japanese daily mass newspapers seem to be one of the very few examples in the world that have been able to sustain the print circulations as well as the traditional structure of the print media industry developed in the 20th century. They have been stubbornly resisting the trends of digital transformation that has overtaken the world of mass media on a global scale. Against this background, this study investigates the social and cultural role of Japanese newspapers in modern Japanese society, and their effort resisting and surviving in the digital age with a particular focus on their unique distribution networks. This investigation sheds light on the significance of print newspapers not only as a medium of news, information or entertainment, but also as an important social and cultural nexus that connects numerous anonymous readers in an expanding space of a modern nation through their delivery networks. Moreover, the case of Japanese journalism would provide valuable empirical insights to those who are interested in the fate of traditional media and its possible future worldwide.