Earlier this month, the journal Information, Communication & Society published the paper “The Google Voter: Search Engines and Elections in the New Media Ecology,” of which I am the lead author. This article, which can be accessed freely on the journal’s website, discusses some of the main research findings from the VoterEcology project, on which I collaborated with Profs. Andrew Hoskins (University of Glasgow) and Sarah Oates (University of Maryland, College Park), as well as Dr. Dounia Mahlouly (King’s College, London). The paper fills an important gap in our understanding of contemporary information-gathering practices and media environments that surround elections, focusing on the use of search engines by voters in the U.S. and the UK. While search engines remain the primary channel for citizens in these and other democratic countries to engage with election-related information online, there is a dearth of research about the implications of this practice. This paper combines Google Trends data with the analysis of news media coverage to shed light on the opportunities and drawbacks generated by search engine use in elections and reflects on the need to develop innovative methodologies capable of exploring the new media ecologies that are emerging from the interaction of novel and more established forms of media.
Colleagues at Bournemouth University’s Centre for the Study of Journalism, Culture and Community put together an amazing report about the 2016 U.S. Presidential election with 83 short contributions from 90 leading scholars in political communication, digital media, journalism, and strategic communication. I contributed one article to this report, which was released last Friday just ten days after the election. My paper (in Section 4: Diversity and division) discusses the implications of the election results for the American disability movement and for grassroots political organizing among minorities and under-represented communities more generally. This is the third report of this type to which I am able to contribute following previous ones about the 2015 UK general election and 2016 EU membership referendum. These innovative publications are available freely both online and in PDF, providing a wonderful teaching resource.
On Monday October 31st, Al-Jazeera English dedicated its current affairs program “The Stream” to discussing the issues of voting rights for Americans with disabilities in the 2016 election. I was asked to comment on the issues that disability advocates face as they try to mobilize the disability vote across the country. The main panel included a number of innovative disabled advocates, including the creators of the #CripTheVote Twitter campaign, which has sought to increase opportunities for persons with disabilities to participate in the election and asked the candidates to engage with disability issues. It is great to see Al-Jazeera’s interest in this issues and I wish that more legacy media would follow in its steps.
Check out the video here.
On June 23rd, 2016, a majority of Britons voted to leave the European Union (EU). In this brief analysis piece, I reflect on how news media in the United States covered this unexpected result. While American journalists sought to apply familiar templates to communicate the upcoming EU referendum to domestic audiences, they may find it difficult to do so going forward as the UK-EU negotiations move into unchartered territory. This article is part of a large report on the EU referendum, media, and voters edited by Dan Jackson, Einar Thorsen, and Dominic Wring and published by the Political Studies Association, Bournemouth University, and the University of Loughborough. You can access the full report for free here.
This spring semester I have integrated a blog into my Grassroots Digital Advocacy graduate course at American University. Students are blogging on tech-related events in the D.C. area, as well as reviewing the use of social media in the 2016 presidential primaries. You can read their work and find out more about the course here:
I’m not the only one teaching with blogs this semester. A group of 40 students from across AU and several faculty members traveled to New Hampshire to report on the recent primary elections in the Granite State. Check out their fantastic reports here:
Surprised by the result of the 2015 UK General Election? Find out what happened behind the scenes in a new report published by Bournemouth University’s Media School together with the Political Studies Association. “UK Election Analysis 2015: Media, Voters and the Campaign” can be found here. It was edited by the indefatigable Dan Jackson and Einar Thorsen, and includes contributions from 91 UK academics in the fields of communication, media studies, journalism, and political science. I contributed an overview on the UK Independence Party (UKIP)’s popularity ratings among British Google users prepared together with Paul Reilly at the University of Leicester. This considers the rise of UKIP as a popular (and populist) “brand” among wired voters (and non-voters).
The paper that I presented at the 12th APSA Political Communication pre-conference on the 27th of August in Washington, DC together with Dounia Mahlouly is now available on the website of the George Washington University’s School of Media and Public Affairs. Click here to download a copy (password protected – pre-conference attendees only). This is part of my Voter Ecology project on search engines and elections in the UK, the U.S., Italy and Egypt.
While I pack to leave for freezing (!) Toronto, you can now download a free copy of the paper that Paul Reilly (University of Leicester) and I are going to be presenting at the 2014 International Studies Association’s (ISA) Annual Meeting. This is a piece of work that uses freely available online application Google Trends to gain new insights into the rise of anti-political establishment parties in Europe, focusing in particular on the case of the UK Independence Party (UKIP). Click here to access the paper (ISA login required). If you’re at ISA, please come say hi – Paul and I will present our work on Saturday 29th March, 1:45pm in the MacDonald Room at the Hilton Hotel and I am likely to be at other ICOMM events the rest of the time. If you’re not in Toronto but still have some interesting thoughts about the paper or my research more generally, feel free to email or reach me on Twitter.
After presenting at the 2014 Media, Communication and Cultural Studies Association’s Conference yesterday in Bournemouth it was time to catch a glimpse of the beach. However, if you were unable to be at our panel, you can still read about the role of search in elections in the UK, the U.S., Egypt and Italy on the research blog I curate for the VoterEcology Project.
I will be talking about the Voter Ecology Project at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland, College Park on Wednesday Nov. 20th, 2pm. My presentation is entitled “No Laughing Matter: Political Gaffes and Online Information Search in Election Campaigns” and will discuss how publicly available search engine data can help journalists, campaigners, and researchers alike to reach beyond appearances in considering patterns of information consumptions in times of elections. I look forward to discussing this work and how online media are transforming political reporting more generally with students and faculty at the cutting edge of journalism scholarship. The event will take place in Room 1109, Knight Hall.