ICA19 @ Washington, D.C.



The 69th Annual Conference of the International Communication Association (ICA) is over – which means that I had an exciting week of hearing great presentations, visiting an amazing city, and spending lots of time with my academic family. As always, ICA seems to be the place where one meets everyone in one place, and sometimes even too many people to talk to them all. No surprise here – over 3,600 people attended the conference!

For me, the five-day conference (24 – 28 May 2019) began with a pre-conference on Human-Machine Communication, where I presented a paper on the “Reception of automated news: A critical review and recommendations for future research” with Neil Thurman. We got great comments on our work, and we look forward to upcoming studies on the audience reception of automated news that might include some of the recommendations we made. The pre-conference was tightly packed with many other topics besides automation in journalism, including robots in the household and what AI might add to education as a learning tool (check out Sima!).

And then there was the main conference – with panels starting at eight in the morning, going on until the evening, and still there was never enough time to visit all the panels I wanted. There was too much going on the at the same time, but I managed to attend a panels on data journalism and sports journalism, for instance. There, I found new inspiration on what to do in my own research, and bounced around ideas with my academic family – and here we go: there is always a new paper you want to write together. And another one, and another one…


I also had a lot of fun beyond the conference – Washington is full of things to see. I peeked into the National Museum of African American History and Culture to get a good look at the sports exhibition “Leveling the Playing Field”, and I will definitely incorporate some of what I have learned about the journeys of these athletes into my course on sports communication next semester. I also went to the National Museum of American History, which is just next door, mainly to get a picture with Captain America’s shield (I mean, of course!) in the “Superheroes” exhibit. Moreover, thanks to ICA, conference participants could visit the Newseum for free – which, by the way, would definitely have been worth the quite steep entry fee they charge. The Newseum, which shows everything on journalism and its conditions, is the kind of museum I would love to visit with my students. It’s full of information without making your head explode, and it gets to the core of what it means to be a journalist. The exhibition that impressed me most was on Pulitzer Prize-winning photographs – the museum had many of the pictures on display, many with the accompanying stories. Impressive and depressing at the same time, as most of the photographs showed human tragedy. But there were also more light-hearted exhibits in the Newseum, such as the one on the “First Dogs” of the American presidents, which was probably the most crowded section of the whole museum. All in all, Washington is a great place to learn new things, and I wish I could come back more often.

Overall, ICA19 was a great conference in a great location – a dream combination! And now I’m looking forward to getting those papers on track which I promised during the numerous evening receptions…



Why football doesn’t play moneyball (yet) – Sports, Data, and Journalism conference in Zurich

robby_klein(This is one corner of my poster!)


What’s better than going to Zurich? Going to Zurich for a conference! On the 25th of October, I attended the “Sports, Data, and Journalism” conference at the University of Zurich, hosted by the Center for Research in Sports Administration (CRSA). The conference had a unique makeup of attendees, not only because of the diversity of disciplines represented, ranging from economists to historians, but also because data journalists were invited to present their projects. This meant that one could not only listen to a scientific talk on, say, the impact of data on professional sports, but also learn how newspapers present their sports stories with data. One story for example showcased the career of tennis star Roger Federer, taking his matches apart, from the number of backhand shots to which floor he played on.

I presented a poster on automation in German sports newsrooms, an ongoing project of mine. I was glad that the topic was met with interest, not only from fellow academics, but also from national and international sports organisations. Let’s see whether they will think about introducing automation in their own press offices!

The conference programme was also unique in the way that also workshops on data analysis software could be attended. Thus, I listened to an introduction to Python, and I’m sure I will make use of this coding language a lot more in the future. I would wish for more conferences to offer such an opportunity; it’s an easy way to learn more about what is out there in data analysis, what might be more suitable to the treatment of data than the software we use now in the social sciences.

The keynote was a personal highlight for me, as it was by given by Chris Anderson, author, with Dave Stares, of “The Numbers Game –Why Everything You Know About Football is Wrong”. I definitely recommend that book, to football fans as well as people interested in statistics. Where else would someone actually prove why the inferior teams win more often than they should? Chris Anderson told about his personal journey writing the book, and explained what is means to manage a lower league football club with no money. To make a long story short: don’t do it! The explanation lies in the following: football doesn’t play moneyball. What does that mean? Well, reading Michael Lewis‘ “Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game” is a good start (or the movie of the same name, starring Brad Pitt), as it tells how Billy Beane, a baseball general manager in the US, put together a team based on their individual statistics (and thus strengths) – and won many games with that strategy. That sound like the ultimate dream, but is unlikely to work for football yet; first of all, baseball has many more games in a season and thus many more chances to try things out, and second, there is no ghost of relegation…

All in all, it was a great conference, and I hope that there will be more that mix academia and practice in such an intriguing way.

Welcome to Zlatan’s home – European Sports Management Conference 2018 in Malmö

easm2018(That’s me!)


Presentations, discussion, and drinks – this is (or almost was) my September. Conference season is the best time of the year, and from September 5th to 8th I found my way to Malmö, Sweden, to attend the European Sports Management Conference, lovingly called “EASM” (which sounds a lot like ‘Eeee-sum’). This was my first time attending a conference with solely sports management folks, for whom the effects of the media only play a small role in their overall discipline.

Anyway, I’ve heard many interesting talks, and also gave my own, called “The Footy Girls of Tumblr – How Women Communicate in the Online Football Fandom. Insights from The US, The UK, and Germany”. I talked about how the social network platform Tumblr is a “safe space” for young female football fans [to my American friends: of course, I’m talking about real football], who talk among themselves, without men or boys interfering. “Interfering” sounds harsh, but as research found, the discourse of sports being a male domain is replicated online, and women find themselves marginalised in it (see what Hardin, Zhong and Corrigan 2011 have to say). So, Tumblr is a space to live the football fandom in more than one way, e.g. by liveblogging during matches, by creating art featuring football players and team, or by discussing information that the media picks up on late or never. Of course, the Tumblr football fandom also has its challenges, like over the top rivalries between teams and their fans, but, all in all, it has proven to be a valuable place to hang out for my interviewees. Oh, and I had to change my subtitle – in the end, I interviewed Tumblr users from ten countries, and not three… I’m happy that my presentation was received well, and that I could show people that there is indeed a very active female football fandom – it simply likes to stay out of the spotlight.

As the conference was quite big, with almost 500 attendees, I heard so many different talks that’s it’s hard to remember them all. Especially since the management people are quite efficient – there was scheduled time between individual presentations in a session to switch rooms! I’ve never seen this before, as I am only familiar with the ‘you choose your session, you stick with all presentations in it’ rule. So, I moved quite often between presentations, meaning I could this get a very wide view of what research in sports management deals with. And a few works could definitely benefit from a media perspective…!

Malmö was nice, too, and it was good to know that one could book the ‘Zlatan suite’ at the conference hotel, with big pictures of him on the walls and everything. Why not! In sum, I met many great people, and I’m sure to work with some of them for one project or the other.

Wenn Ostern ist, ist das Sommersemester nicht fern

ostern-hsv-bear(Foto von mir)

… oder Frohe Weihnachten, wer weiß es bei dem Schnee, der heute auf einmal aufgetaucht ist, schon so genau. Aber wie auch immer, Ostern ist trotzdem klasse, und ich wünsche gemütliche und entspannte Tage. Und das besonders meinen Kollegen aus der Wissenschaft, denn für uns ist Ostern die Ruhe vor dem Sturm – nur noch eine Woche, dann fängt bei uns in München sdas neue Semester an…

Für mich geht es dieses Semester sportlich zu. Einerseits im Forschungsseminar für Studis im vierten (und höheren) Bachelorsemester, mit dem klangvollen Namen Sportjournalismus unter Druck: Neue Entwicklungen, neue Chancen?. Hier geht es darum, wie Sportjournalisten mit den neuen Herausforderungen umgehen, die z.B. die stark zunehmende eigene Berichterstattung der Vereine ihnen stellt. Hier sollen die Studis eigene kleine Forschungsprojekte durchführen, und es ist immer spannend, welche Themen dabei bearbeitet werden. Das zweite Seminar ist das Praxisseminar Das Glück liegt auf der Aschenbahn: Kommunikationsmanagement im Lokalsport für Studis im zweiten und vierten Bachelorsemester, in dem Kommunikationsstrategien für lokale Sportvereine entwickelt werden. Mal ganz weg vom Profisport, da kommen beim Amateur- bzw. Breitensport ganz eigene Dinge zutage, die nun wahrlich nicht langweilig sind. Langweilig ist es höchstens, wenn ich immer wieder daran erinnere, dass für manche abgefahrenen Apps oder Events einfach kein Geld und/oder keine Freiwilligen da sind… aber wie auch immer, auch neben dem Platz oder den Geräten heißt es: irgendetwas geht immer.

Ansonsten steht Ende Mai auch die von mit mitorganisierte Konferenz „Algorithms, Automation, and News“ an. Von dieser habe ich vor über einem Jahr schon einmal geschrieben, aber nun ist (fast) alles unter Dach und Fach. Was auch bedeutet, dass wir leider nur noch Plätze auf der Warteliste anbieten können – einerseits, weil es viele Interessierte gibt, die gerne zuhören möchten, aber auch, weil wir die Konferenz in einer relativ kleinen Münchner Villa abhalten und wir einfach nicht so viel Platz haben. Aber wer trotzdem mal ins Programm schnuppern will, der kann das auf unserer Website tun: www.algorithmic.news.

Frohe Ostern und frohes Eiersuchen im Schnee!

ostern-schnee-bear(Foto von mir)

ICA 2017 – It never rains in Southern California

ica17_panel(This was the panel I was on for the personalisation talk during the main conference – from left to right: Folker Hanusch, Chris Peters (our chair), Sarah Ganter, me, Ruth Palmer, Jacob Nelson; my photo)

… and that was another great conference that I had the opportunity to attend: ICA 2017. For the uninitiated: the “ICA” is the annual conference of the International Communication Association, and the biggest conference in the field of communication science. Around 3000 delegates attend each year, and in 2017, the organisers counted 3,367 people wandering the halls of the conference hotel.  With these large numbers of people and talks, one always has to choose where to go and what to see – there are usually around ten parallel tracks for each time slot. For anyone who wants to get a taste of how hard it is to figure out a personal timetable for these four days, here is a link to the full programme of this year’s conference. This ICA took place in San Diego, USA, from 25th to 29th of May – and it actually rained while I was there, even though it was just a drizzle. Apart from that, San Diego is quite a nice city, and I definitely enjoyed a walk or two through town.

But on to the conference itself – I was involved in three talks, one at a preconference, and two during the main conference. Yes, ICA itself is not enough, and there were also pre-conferences which took place the day before the main conference began. I took part in “Distribution Matters: Media Circulation in Civic Life and Popular Culture”, which featured a very diverse audience, all of them working somehow on “media distribution”. I talked about how the use of algorithms on news websites affect the relationship of media outlets and readers, and other panelists took other routes, such as talking about how cable TV took over Manhattan, or how film festivals distribute their media. The full programme of this preconference can be found here, and as an extra treat I can say that the audio of some presentations (mine included) is online here. My thanks go out to the organisers Josh Braun, Roman Labato, and Amanda Lotz – it was a great day!

ICA started fully the next day, with the other two talks scheduled back to back in the morning. Phew! Neil talked about our study on the perception of journalists on automated journalism (I wrote more about that a while ago here (in German)), and I gave the presentation on our longitudinal study on personalisation of content on news outlets’ websites. I was on a great panel with Folker Hanusch and Edson Tandoc, Jacob Nelson, Sarah Ganter, and Ruth Palmer. Also, the panel drew quite the audience, as can be seen in our session chair’s tweet. Thanks for the photo, Chris!

Apart from my own talks, I learned about other types of automated journalism, digital election campaigns, and US college sports – and a lot more. As I already said – so much to do! And, of course, so many people to see! As ICA is the biggest conference in the field, I saw quite a few friends, and also made new ones, as it should be.

So, ICA is over, the next one will be a lot closer to home – I’m looking forward to Prague!

Von Norden nach Süden – Zwei Tagungen auf einen Streich

konferenzen_odense_klein(Mein Panel (und Arjen) in Odense – von links nach rechts: Arjen van Dalen (der Organisator, Syddansk Universitet), Jakob Linaa Jensen (Danish School of Media and Journalism), Chris van der Heijden (Hogeschool Utrecht), Anders Larsson (Westerdals Oslo School of Arts, Communication and Technology), ich, und Annika Sehl (Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism an der Universität Oxford. Das Foto hat Julius Reimer (Hans-Bredow-Institut für Medienforschung) gemacht – danke!)

Im März bzw. April habe ich zwei Tagungen besucht – hier ein kurzer Rückblick auf diese spannende Zeit. Das waren wieder einmal sehr lehrreiche und dabei sehr schöne Tage – nicht zuletzt, weil es in die schönen Städte Odense (Dänemark) und Düsseldorf ging und sich die Sonne ab und an mal gezeigt hat.

Die ECREA Journalism Studies Conference in Odense, Dänemark, vom 23. bis 24. März stand ganz unter dem Thema der Verbindung des Journalismus mit seinem Publikum, und die daraus resultierenden Veränderungen: „Changing Audiences – Changing Journalism“. Die zwei Tage waren gefüllt mit Vorträgen zum Publikum des Journalismus, das anders als früher aktiv durch Kommentare oder soziale Medien an der Verbreitung oder sogar Erstellung von Nachrichten teilnimmt. Aber auch andere Themen zum Komplex Journalismus wurden vorgestellt, wie Studien zu einzelnen Ressorts – besonders interessant für mich waren die Vorträge zu politischen Nachrichten – oder zu neuen Entwicklungen in der Branche. Da konnte ich mich mit meinem Vortrag einreihen, denn es ging bei mir darum, wie Tools und somit Algorithmen Journalisten dabei helfen, Nachrichten von sozialen Medien wie Twitter und Facebook zu ordnen und für ihre Arbeit zu verwenden. Wer mehr über das Tagungsprogramm erfahren will, kann das mit einem Klick hier tun. Alles in allem war das eine kleine, aber feine Konferenz, die im zweijährlichen Turnus stattfindet, und die ich im Auge behalten werde – vielen Dank, Arjen van Dalen (und natürlich das Team der Syddansk Universitet dahinter), für die wunderbare Organisation! Wer ein wenig nachlesen möchte, kann das auf Twitter unter dem Hashtag #ecreaJSS17 tun.

Wenige Tage später nach dieser Konferenz ging es von Dänemark nach Düsseldorf, zur Jahrestagung der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Publizistik und Kommunikationswissenschaft e.V., den meisten besser bekannt als die DGPuK. Vom 30. März bis zum 2. April ging es hier um vielfältige Themen der Kommunikationswissenschaft. Auch diese Konferenz hatte sich ein übergeordnetes Thema gesetzt, nämlich „Vernetzung – Stabilität und Wandel gesellschaftlicher Kommunikation“. Hier passen Themen wie Algorithmen und Nachrichten ebenfalls gut hinein, und dazu habe ich auch hier gesprochen. Aber natürlich waren auch die Vorträge der Kollegen sehr spannend, sodass es mir nicht selten schwerfiel, mich zwischen den einzelnen Panels, von denen immer fünf parallel liefen, zu entscheiden. Von der Vernetzung von Journalisten und Politik, über die Kommunikation innerhalb der Wissenschaft, bis zur Beziehung von Rezipienten und fiktionalen Charakteren über ‚Fanfiction’ war alles mit dabei. Das zeigte wieder einmal, wie vielfältig die deutsche Kommunikationswissenschaft ist – vielen Dank dafür! Ebenfalls bedanke ich mich bei dem Team der Universität Düsseldorf für die mehr als gelungene Organisation! Wie auch bei der ECREA Journalism Studies Conference lässt sich das Programm hier nachlesen, und die Erlebnisse auf Twitter unter #dgpuk2017. Bis zum nächsten Jahr!


Interested in Algorithms and News? Come to Munich!

conference_zuge(Foto von mir)


Für alle, die sich für Algorithmen und Journalismus interessieren, ist die Konferenz „Algorithms, Automation, and News“ an der Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München der Ort, an dem man vom 22. bis 23. Mai  2018 sein muss! Nicht nur, weil ich zum Organisationsteam gehöre (zusammen mit Prof. Neil Thurman und Prof. Seth Lewis), sondern weil wir eine Menge zu bieten haben – so werden z.B. die besten eingereichten Paper in einer Special Issue von „Digital Journalism“ veröffentlicht. Außerdem werden die Übernachtungen für die Vortragenden gesponsert, d.h. das leibliche Wohl wird auch nicht außer Acht gelassen.

Was wir darüber hinaus noch alles bieten, das steht unten im englischen Call – die gesamte Konferenz wird auf Englisch stattfinden – und mit noch ausführlicheren Infos auf http://algorithmic.news.

Abstracts (500 bis 1000 Wörter) können bis zum 15. Juli 2017 an die Adresse conference@algorithmic.news eingereicht werden.

Obwohl es sich um eine Konferenz für die Wissenschaftscommunity handelt, können auch Außenstehende daran teilhaben. Wir haben eine tolle Keynote von Prof. Philip M. Napoli (Duke University), die bestimmt sehr interessant wird.

Ich freue mich auf viele spannende Einreichungen!

Hier der Call – bequem zum Mitnehmen – als pdf:



Capabilities, cases, and consequences

CALL FOR PAPERS: Conference, special issue & edited book


* Conference in Munich, Germany — May 22–23, 2018
* Select papers published in special issue of Digital Journalism & proposed edited volume


* Free hotel accommodation for presenters
* Travel stipends available for presenters
* No conference fee
* Precedes the 2018 ICA convention in nearby Prague


* Neil Thurman, Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich
* Seth C. Lewis, University of Oregon
* Dr Jessica Kunert, Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich


* Philip M. Napoli, Duke University


* C.W. Anderson, College of Staten Island & University of Leeds
* Natali Helberger, University of Amsterdam
* Nicholas Diakopoulos, University of Maryland


We live in a world increasingly influenced by algorithms and automation. The ubiquity of computing in contemporary culture has resulted in human decision-making being augmented, and even partially replaced, by computational processes. Such augmentation and substitution is already common, and even predominates, in some industries. This trend is now spreading rapidly to the fourth estate—our news media.

Algorithms and automation are increasingly implicated in many aspects of news production, distribution, and consumption. For example, algorithms are being used to filter the enormous quantities of content published on social media platforms, picking out what is potentially newsworthy and alerting journalists to its existence (Thurman et al., 2016). Meanwhile, automated journalism—the transforming of structured data on such things as sports results and financial earnings reports into narrative news texts with little to no human intervention aside from the original programming (Carlson, 2015)—grows apace. What began some years ago as small-scale experiments in machine-written news has, amid the development of big data broadly, become a global phenomenon, involving technology providers from the U.S. to Germany to China developing algorithms to deliver automated news in multiple languages (Dörr, 2016). And, algorithms are being used in new ways to distribute and package news content, both enabling consumers to request more of what they like and less of what they don’t and also making decisions on consumers’ behalf based on their behavioral traits, social networks, and personal characteristics (Groot Kormelink and Costera Meijer, 2014).

Altogether, these developments raise questions about the social role of journalism as a longstanding facilitator of public knowledge. What are the implications for human labor and journalistic authority? for concerns around news quality, transparency, and accountability? for notions of who (or what) does journalism? for how news moves among various publics (or not)? Ultimately, what happens when editorial functions once performed by journalists are increasingly assumed by new sets of actors situated at the intersection of human and machine? Ultimately, what do algorithms and automation mean for journalism—its people, purposes, and processes; its norms, ethics, and values; its relationship with audiences and public life; and its obligations toward data management and user privacy?

This three-part call—conference, special issue, and book project—takes up these and other questions by bringing together the latest scholarly research on algorithms, automation, and news. In particular, it seeks to organize research on capabilities, cases, and consequences associated with these technologies: explorations of the possibilities and perils, of theory and practice, and of comparative perspectives according to various sites and levels of analysis. Ultimately, we aim for research that provides a future orientation while grounded in appropriate historical context, contemporary empirical research, and rigorous conceptual development.

By some accounts, the promise of algorithms and automation is that news may be faster and more personalized, that websites and apps may be more engaging, and even that quality journalism may be better funded, to the benefit of all. However, there are also concerns, including anxieties around:

* the hidden biases built into bots deciding what’s newsworthy,
* the ‘popularism’ that tracking trends inevitably promotes,
* how misplaced trust in algorithmic agency might blunt journalists’ critical faculties, and
* the privacy of data collected on individuals for the purposes of newsgathering and distribution.

Moreover, as more news is templated or data-driven, there is unease about issues such as:

* who and what gets reported,
* the ethics of authorship and accountability,
* the legal issues of libel by algorithm,
* the availability of opportunities for professional development, training, and education, and
* the continuity of fact-checking and analysis, among others.

And, as more news is explicitly or implicitly personalized, there is disquiet about:

* whether we will retreat into our own private information worlds, ‘protected’ from new, challenging and stimulating viewpoints,
* the algorithmically oriented spread of ‘fake news’ within such filter bubbles,
* the boundaries between editorial and advertising content, and
* the transparency and accountability of the decisions made about what we get to read and watch.

Through the conference, and the special issue and book to follow, we seek to facilitate conversation around these and related issues across a variety of academic fields, including computer science, information science, computational linguistics, media informatics, law and public policy, science and technology studies, philosophy, sociology, political science, and design, in addition to communication, media and journalism studies. We welcome original, unpublished articles drawing on a variety of theoretical and methodological approaches, with a preference for empirically driven and/or conceptually rich accounts. These papers might touch on a range of themes, including but not limited to the issues outlined above.

Inquiries about this call are encouraged and should be directed to conference@algorithmic.news.



* July 15, 2017: abstract submission deadline. Abstracts should be 500-1,000 words (not including references) and sent to conference@algorithmic.news. Also include a 100-word biography of each author and 6-8 keywords

* Mid-August 2017: decisions on abstracts

* February 15, 2018: full 7,000-word papers due for initial round of feedback by conference peers

* May 22–23, 2018: conference in Munich

* Post-conference: peer-review and feedback process leading toward publication in either the special issue or edited volume



Conference organised by the Center for Advanced Studies at Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich and sponsored by The Volkswagen Foundation (VolkswagenStiftung) and The Shirley Papé Chair in the School of Journalism and Communication at the University of Oregon.


Hogwarts kann nicht weit sein – Bericht zur Second International Journal of Press/Politics Conference

oxford-panel-bearbeitet(Das war mein Panel – von links nach rechts:
Milda Celiešiūtė, ich, Lamprini Rori und Marcel Broersma)

Gut einen Monat zu spät, man möge es mir verzeihen (Deadlines, Deadlines – und endlich wieder Lehre!), aber hier kommt ein kurzer Bericht zu meinem Konferenz-Trip nach Oxford. Ja, Oxford, da hat es sich allein schon wegen der hübschen Stadt gelohnt, ein Abstract einzureichen…

Aber die Konferenz möchte ich natürlich nicht schmälern. Ich war auf der Second Annual Journal of Press/Politics Conference, eine kleine Konferenz mit 46 Vorträgen, die vom 28.09. bis zum 01.10.2016 im St. Anne’s College stattfand (das Programm hier). Wie der Name schon vermuten lässt, lag der Fokus der Beiträge auf der Verbindung von Journalismus bzw. der Presselandschaft und Politik im weitesten Sinne. Um die Themen von ein paar Panels zu nennen: Der Einfluss von Populismus und politischen Konflikten auf den Journalismus, der Vergleich von Mediensystemen, und natürlich Wahlkampf in Europa.

Ich selbst habe im Panel „Journalists, Governments, and Political Parties“ vorgestellt, welche politischen Rollen Journalisten in ihrem Arbeitsalltag einnehmen, und wie sie die Wichtigkeit dieser Rollen für sich selbst einschätzen. Die Daten sind aus der Worlds of Journalism Study entnommen (man erinnere sich an den Report zu den britischen Journalisten, der vor ein paar Monaten erschienen ist), und ich habe die Einstellungen deutscher, britischer, US-amerikanischer und italienischer Journalisten miteinander verglichen. Besonders bei den Ergebnissen zu den britischen Journalisten gab es ungläubiges Kopfschütteln – denn 27,5 % gaben an, dass es unwichtig für sie sei, den Bürgern Informationen bereitzustellen, die sie brauchen, um politische Entscheidungen zu treffen. Die Verbindung zum Brexit war schnell gezogen… (wobei ich natürlich sagen muss, dass ein Großteil der befragten britischen Journalisten nicht explizit aus dem politischen Ressort kamen).

Die Themen der anderen Präsentationen waren vielfältig und interessant, sodass ich mich kaum entscheiden konnte, welchen der beiden jeweils parallel laufenden Tracks ich besuchen sollte. Ob man nun dazu etwas gehört hat, wie Politiker und Interessengruppen Twitter nutzen, oder wie Journalisten in ihre Arbeit in autoritären Staaten wahrnehmen, ich konnte aus allen Vorträgen etwas für meine eigene Forschung mitnehmen. Die Plaudereien in den Pausen haben mich außerdem auf viele neue Ideen gebracht.

Neu war für mich das Format der „Birds of a feather session“. Hier hat man sich zu einem Oberthema in lockerer Runde zusammengesetzt und etwa eine Stunde diskutiert. Ich habe an der Gruppe „International research projects“ teilgenommen, in der aus einigen großen Projekten aus dem Nähkästchen geplaudert wurde. Sehr interessant – ein ungezwungenes Format, das ich gerne auf weiteren Konferenzen sehen würde.

Auch sonst waren wir Teilnehmer gut versorgt – zweimal wurde uns ein tolles Dinner zuteil, an einem Abend sogar in Harry Potter-gleicher Atmosphäre im Mansfield College. Ja, das Essen wurde an langen Tischen in der ehemaligen Kapelle serviert! Für mich und viele andere der Teilnehmer ein Highlight, hatte das doch nichts mehr mit einer normalen Mensa gemein. Um die Stimmung perfekt zu machen, fanden auch noch an einem der Tage die Abschlussfeiern der University of Oxford statt, sodass die Straßen mit aufgeregten Absolventen in festlichen Roben und Hüten gesäumt waren. Mehr Oxford geht nicht.

Ich schweife ab – zusammengefasst möchte ich noch einmal betonen, dass die Konferenz sehr lehrreich, und dazu noch perfekt organisiert war. Also, ich bedanke mich bei den Organisatoren des Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism für die tolle Arbeit, und freue mich schon auf nächstes Jahr!


Conference Report: Back from the USA!

eusa_schild(My own photograph)


Well, I went to the United States of America to attend a conference. It was a great experience, and I would like to share a few impressions.

I went to the 13th Biennial European Union Studies Association Conference (short: EUSA) in Baltimore, Maryland, a nice city just an hour away from Washington, D.C.. EUSA is quite a big conference which is solely dedicated to European Studies, and everything in that area may presented here, from papers on defence policies to European directives on wine regulation (I’m not kidding here! Check out panel 1J in the program!). Around 500 people were there, and a plethora of panel sessions were on at the same time over the three conference days.

First of all, having to decide on a single panel (out of approximately eleven on at the same time) every time was not easy. Many topics were interesting to me, however, I often attended panels which discussed the European Parliament or representation – topics which are very close to my own research. So I listened to talks on the “The Implications of the European Parliament’s Budgetary for Democracy in the EU” (Asli Baysal, University of Florida) and “The Role of EP Administrators in the EU Policy Process” (Christine Neuhold, Maastricht University), for example, but also to many, many more. All panel sessions were not only highly interesting, but also gave my insight when deciding on what to do next in my own project – after all, EU Studies often suffer from the same problems, e.g. from not being theoretically relevant (enough) outside of the sub-discipline.

I was on panel 10E „Inside the European Parliament and the Commission“, which was chaired and discussed by Wilhelm Lehmann (European Parliament). There were four presentations, including my own. Bjørn Høyland (University of Oslo) and Sara Hobolt (London School of Economics) (the third, but absentee author was Simon Hix, also from the London School of Economics) started the panel with their paper on „Career Paths in Legislative Activities of Members of the European Parliament“ and gave great insights on what the Members of the EP do after their time in parliament is over. The next presentation was given by Jessica Fortin-Rittberger (GESIS) and Berthold Rittberger (University of Munich) and concerned „Electoral Rules or Weak Diffusion of Gender Equality Norms? Explaining National Differences in Women’s Representation in the European Parliament“. They researched what determines why women are much more represented in the European Parliament than in national parliaments. The last presentation, apart from my own, was called „A Man’s World? Gender, Networking and Careers in the European Commission“ and given by Hussein Kassim (and co-written by Sara Conolly, both University of East Anglia). They studied very similar topic as the presentation before, but with a focus on the European Commission.
My own presentation went well, was well attended, and I am glad I got many useful comments on how to proceed with my PhD thesis. Of course, I was excited and nervous when I went on to the speaker’s desk, but everything, from handling the technology to the delivery of the actual speech, went well. I guess one really does grow with the challenge!

Apart from getting comments on my work, I also met many interesting people who I hope to see again in the future. I recognised quite a few names in the program, authors I read during my university studies – seeing them in person was quite the experience, too! Speaking of that, Andrew Moravcsik gave a talk on one of the evenings – and even though I did not agree with quite a few of his points (to cut a long story short: some of his opinions were just too strong for my taste), his speech was compelling.

All in all, EUSA was a great conference, and I hope I will be able to attend again in two years.

eusa_panel(Photograph by me – my panel from left to right:
Hussein Kassim, Jessica Fortin-Rittberger, Berthold Rittberger, me,
Bjørn Høyland, Wilhelm Lehmann, Sara Hobolt)