O'Loughlin to speak at Dublin event on media and polarization

On 15th October Dublin City University will host an event, Media and Politics in a Polarized World. The notion that news media are causing increased political polarization has taken hold in recent years but evidence is mixed and policy responses in different countries have varied enormously. Are publics more polarized or are we just more aware of extreme views because they are visible on social media? NewPolCom’s Ben O’Loughlin is one of several academic speakers who will address this topic, including the LSE’s Lilie Chouliaraki and Leeds’ Chris Anderson. The event will also feature talks from Sarah Hartley of Google News Lab and Aine Kerr from Neva Labs. The event is organised by Tanya Lokot.

New project funded on youth opinion in Baltic States and Ukraine

Ben O'Loughlin and his colleagues Natalia Chaban and Alister Miskimmon have won a new grant from Jean Monnet for a project to begin later in 2018, Youth Opinion and Opportunities for EU Public Diplomacy: Youth Narratives and Perceptions of the EU and EU-Ukraine Relations in Ukraine and the three Baltic States (E-YOUTH).

The project teams up with universities in Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Ukraine to conduct a comprehensive analysis of youth opinion (students of higher educational establishments and high schools) in Ukraine and the three Baltic states. The focus is to identify the narratives through which young people views the issues of Ukraine’s relations with the EU, its European orientation and aspirations, and the background of the ongoing violent conflict with Russia. The activity will also specifically focus on the youth views on Ukraine’s relations with the three Baltic states who are EU members. The project will use a mix of surveys and focus groups to identify narratives and perceptions. 

O'Loughlin, Chaban and Miskimmon are currently completing a previous Jean Monnet project exploring views of the EU in Israel, Palestine and Ukraine, reporting to the EU in September. The new project zooms into an area of Europe causing greater concern for NATO, the EU and, most importantly, people living in those countries. This line of research helps us understand how ordinary people - particularly young people - experience being in the centre of geopolitical uncertainty and the stories they tell to make sense of their country and their own situation. 

NPC Wired Episode 5: Viral Memes as a Tool of Political Protest in Russia

This week's episode, hosted by Sofia Collignon Delmar and Nikki Soo, features Anastasia Denisova. Discussing the use of viral memes as a form of political protest and resistance, she explains how this is particularly important with censorship in Russia. She also shares more on her data collection methods, challenges she faced along the way, and her favourite meme.

Dr Anastasia Denisova is Lecturer of Journalism at the University of Westminster. Before embarking on academia, she spent a decade as a journalist in Russia. She is currently writing her book Internet Memes and Society based on her research on Internet memes as the casual artful means of political resistance in the restricted Russian media environment. It will be available in 2019. Read more about her research here, and follow her on Twitter here.