New Research Findings on News Organisations and Social Media released at ‘newsocracy’ Conference hosted by Nessa Childers, MEP

New research findings have been released today at ‘newsocracy – safeguarding journalism and exploring owner influence’. The all-day conference, hosted by Nessa Childers, MEP was held in the Radisson Blu, Dublin 8 and saw attendees arriving from 8.30am this morning.

Two pieces of interesting and important research were presented on the day. The first piece of research presented by Dr. Roderick Flynn examined ‘The relationship between large media shareholders and media content in Ireland’.

Speaking about the research Dr. Flynn said,”The research does identify some correlation between media outlets associated with individual media groups and the frames; they apply to stories relating to media owners or large shareholders. However, these correlations do not appear to result in significant divergences in how competing media groups report such stories. Our case studies suggest that, regardless of ownership/shareholding, Irish media tend to apply the same frames to news stories. Where there are divergences across media outlets, these relate to differences in the extent to which particular frames are emphasized”.

The second piece of research ‘News Media in a Changing Ecosystem: Studying the impact of social media platforms across news media organizations in Ireland’, was carried out by Eugenia Siapera and Jane Suiter, Institute For Future Media and Journalism, Dublin City University (FUJO/DCU). This piece of research examined how social media affects different news organisations differently, through a series of interviews with media professionals within news organisations.

Speaking about the research Jane Suiter said, “We are delighted that the European Parliament and Nessa Childers MEP sponsored this research which speaks to important but understudied areas. The rise of platforms, where media often does not control its own destiny, is one of the biggest challenges facing the journalism profession today. This research, which speaks to how Irish news organisations are reacting, is a first step in a wider discussion about the future of news”.

Siapera and Suiters research also looks at how news has been disrupted, firstly by the rise of the internet and secondly by social media corporations. The research also raised many interesting questions around adaptation of news organisations, tensions in doing journalism and the change in the practices of journalism and structure of organisations.

An interesting finding was around the topic of ‘Control over content and the role of social media platforms’. Professionals felt that they are giving up power over their content by putting it online. The term “Cannibalising Publishers” was used in relation to how instant articles will cut out the middle man, withdrawing control from the publisher.

Speaking about the conference and her involvement, Nessa Childers, MEP had this to say, “I organised this conference because the issue of journalistic freedom and media ownership is being debated constantly in Europe.  These issues are important in Ireland too because the production of news is unlike any other business and the way in which we produce and consume our news has changed dramatically over recent years. News helps us to form opinions, decide who we vote for and strongly influences our day-to-day decision-making. Its relation to democracy is immense and it is in our interest to care about, and to know, who owns and who creates our news.”

The conference is being held in partnership with the Group of Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament (S&D), the Institute for Future Media and Journalism (FUJO), the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom, and the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ).

For more information on the conference or to reserve a place, please visit www.nesschilders.ie/newsocracy. Alternatively you can follow the conference via Twitter using #newsocracy

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