Report & Event: Wie denken die Journalisten in Großbritannien über ihren Job?

journalists_klein(Foto von mir)


Kaum ist die eine Publikation raus, kommt gleich die nächste, und wieder kann ich nicht ohne Stolz berichten.

Aber von vorne: Das erste Projekt, das ich hier in München zusammen mit meinem Chef in Angriff genommen habe, war eine Journalistenbefragung. Und zwar nicht nur irgendeine – wir haben für die Worlds of Journalism Study, die in der gerade aktuellen Runde Journalisten in über 60 Ländern befragt hat, die britischen Journalisten unter die Lupe genommen. Die Fragen an die Journalisten waren vielfältig – von den Arbeitsbedingungen, zum eigenen Rollenverständnis, bis hin zu Ethik war alles dabei (wer sich den allgemeinen Fragebogen ansehen möchte, der in jeweils leicht abgewandelter Form für alle Länder benutzt wurde, kann das mit einem Klick hier tun). Unsere Befragung wurde online durchgeführt, und 700 Journalisten haben wir am Ende in unsere Auswertung hineingenommen.

Eine super Sache mit spannenden Ergebnissen – und daraus haben wir, Neil und ich, zusammen mit Alessio Cornia einen Report gemacht. Dort stellen wir unsere Ergebnisse im Detail vor, und schauen uns also genau an, wie der britische Journalist arbeitet. Der Report ist natürlich nicht vom Himmel gefallen, sondern wurde dankenswerterweise vom Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism der University of Oxford produziert und am Ende publiziert. Vielen Dank dafür! Also, hier ist der Report, für alle Interessierten frei verfügbar zum Download (und ein paar wichtige Ergebnisse in Kurzform für die Lesefaulen):

journalists_1_klein

Das allein wäre ja eine Neuigkeit genug, aber es geht noch weiter: am 9. Mai durften wir unseren Report der Öffentlichkeit präsentieren! Zusammen mit der City University London hat das Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism ein Event mit dem klangvollen Namen „The British journalist in the digital age“ auf dem Campus der City University organisiert. Gut 200 Leute sind gekommen, um sich die Befunde anzuhören, einen gedruckten Report mitzunehmen, und viele Fragen zu stellen. Außerdem wurde der Report von einem Panel diskutiert, nämlich von Pete Clifton, dem Chefredakteur der Press Association, von Michelle Stanistreet, der Generalsekretärin der Journalisten-Gewerkschaft National Union of Journalists, und von Professor Suzanne Franks von der City University London, die sich als Autorin von ‘Women and Journalism’ einen Namen gemacht hat. Diese tollen Panelisten haben die Diskussion wunderbar eingeleitet, ein paar Ergebnisse kritisch bewertet, bis schließlich das Publikum seine Fragen an den Mann oder die Frau bringen durfte.  Ein toller Abend, an dem der Report sowohl während der Veranstaltung als auch auf Twitter große Wertschätzung erfahren hat. Es ist eine schöne Sache, wenn man seine Arbeit der Öffentlichkeit vorstellen darf, und diese damit auch noch etwas anzufangen wissen.

Ich habe im Übrigen auch fleißig getweetet – und war ziemlich überrascht dass folgender Tweet von mir die Runde gemacht hat:

Nun, der Befund, dass die Journalisten den (anderen?) Nachrichtenmedien nicht über den Weg trauen (und damit sich selber nicht?), hat wohl Anklang gefunden…

Ich freue mich jedenfalls schon auf das nächste Projekt – und das ist übrigens bereits in vollem Gange. Denn die Fahrt nach London war nicht nur für die Präsentation gedacht, sondern auch für die Datenerhebung der nächsten Sache… aber dazu beizeiten mehr, wenn unsere Arbeiten weiter fortgeschritten sind.

Wie gesagt, hier in München am Institut für Kommunikationswissenschaft und Medienforschung ist und bleibt es spannend!

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#GOR15 – Internet researchers unite!

gor15Klein(Photo by me)

 

Last week I went to a great conference – the General Online Research Conference (GOR) in Cologne. This has already been my 3rd GOR (in 2012 I won the thesis competition for the best master’s thesis, of which I’m still quite proud), and it has always been great – this GOR was no exception. Well-organised, and a lot of panels I wanted (and did) attend. For everyone who has never heard of this conference; the GOR is a yearly event which brings together theory and practice, mostly via companies presenting how they use the internet for their products. However, science does not play second fiddle to all these marketing and survey companies, and nicely frames all the practical applications.  Four streams made up the programme, namely “Online Research Methodology and Internet Surveys”, “Internet and Society”, “Social Media Research”, and “Applied Online Research”.

I mainly attended the panels in the stream “Internet and Society”, in which mostly social scientists presented their research. I heard about World of Warcraft and addiction to the internet, internet skills of the elderly (thank you, Eszter Hargittai!), citizen science in which citizens add to science with their own data collections, and eye-tracking systems for assessing online preferences – and this is only a fraction of everything. As implied in the name of the conference, all kinds of internet research are welcome, and the programme showed how diverse this field is. Internet research is not just social science, or information science, but finds entry in many disciplines. Not only the presentations showed interesting approaches and results, but there was also a poster session, which is always a nice opportunity to talk about research in depth. I learned something about conference tweets (thanks, Isabella Peters!) and using YouGov panels for getting to know opinions on new topics like the perception of Ebola.

Moreover, there were two excellent keynotes. First, Jon Puleston from Lightspeed GMI talked about how a ‘good’ survey should look like, meaning a survey which is completed by a high percentage of people and yields valuable results. He suggested inserting playful elements, and a kind of ‘gamification’ of the whole process – by using pictures instead of mere text, sliders instead of 1-to-5 scales for measuring preferences like “I fully agree”, and telling a story instead of just asking questions. I think that this advice is mostly interesting for marketing efforts, however, social scientists can learn a lot from this. The second keynote was given by Suzy Moat from the University of Warwick, and she was telling the audience about the possibilities of using “big data” for predicting the stock market, and how FlickR metadata from the photographs uploaded can tell things about a region or country.

Of course, I also gave a presentation. I told my audience about my research, and how parliamentarians use information and transparency measures on their personal websites. I was not only happy about how well the presentation went (phew!), but also about the great questions (especially thanks to Dominic Nyhuis, who also gave a very interesting presentation on using vote advice applications for assessing political preferences)– it’s always good to hear what can be done next, and there is definitely a lot to do in my post-doc phase… well, all in all, I attended as many sessions as possible, met great people, and already wait for the call for GOR16!


gor15-2klein(Photo by me)

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Writing at university – a piece of cake?

german_smallPlease click here for the German version!

 

blockklein(My photograph)


What happened?

I attended a workshop (three weekends in total) on a topic that does not seem to get enough attention at university – at least it does not in Germany – and that is writing. Nobody ever talks about that, the common stance seems to be that everyone know how to write, how to string words together, and thus, everyone is also supposed to know how to deal with essays and final dissertations. This is what my own time as an undergrad and also postgrad was like – I always worked according to the “try and error” system, which was sometimes working out fine, sometimes not so much. Some essays took forever, some I wrote fairly quickly. Well, I wrote somehow, that was it.

But, the question is, is it really necessary to leave students alone with this? Is this really part of the daily “uni struggle” just because “this is the way it is”? Well, I don’t think so, and the workshop called “Supervising essays/dissertations” at Leuphana University Lüneburg, lead by Prof. Dr. Ingrid Scharlau and Christine Heß, showed me that there are quite different approaches to this.

What do I think about this?

Well, as for myself, I rarely struggle with writing. No writer’s block, nothing. Why? Well, I only thought about this during the aforementioned workshop, and I came to the conclusion that even though I have never attended any sort of formal training, I went through the “school of life”: during my master’s at the London School of Economics and Political Science, I always had to write something during term time – essays of around five pages, short answers to given questions, all-the-time. But, that was no piece of cake, and even though I learned a lot from just doing it, I would not recommend this way to everyone.

And that there definitely are other ways to deal with writing at university – this is what I learned during the workshop. The first weekend gave some theoretical background on writing and writing psychology, and so we, the participants, worked our way through the writing process. Concerning the drafting stage, we looked at techniques like mind maps and clustering, and scrutinised our own writing habits. The next step was the writing process itself, so we focused on topics like writer’s block and several strategies to deal with an essay or a bigger piece of writing. The last weekend was all about giving (and receiving) feedback – that is especially important for us lecturers!  Giving “good” (and thus, “useful”) feedback is quite a feat and does not come naturally.

For every single step we did all the proposed exercises ourselves, and often discussed them afterwards. There was a plethora of different exercises – ranging from a “writing talk” in a group, in which the question “What disrupts my writing?” was discussed (of course only by using a pen and not the mouth!), or writing a fairy tale, and so on, and so forth. I think that this was crucial, doing it all myself – yes, it was not easy to get started with “that stuff”, but now I know exactly how the exercises work and how I (and others) feel while doing them.

So, what to do with this new knowledge? I will plan and conduct my own writing workshop, where I will see which techniques and exercises work (and which don’t) for students. We will see how that works out, but I believe that students do not have to be left alone with their (writing) worries. Solutions can be easy – I would’ve never believed that just sitting down and “free write” anything that comes to my head for five minutes on a given topic would help to get my thoughts back on track!

Conclusions

So, why did I attend this workshop even though I am not a typical “writing worrier”? That’s easy: since I do not suffer from these problems, I also struggle with giving advice when students of mine come to me and ask for help concerning their writing. Well, I know how I do it, but that’s not how everyone writes. So I decided to learn about that, and I am actually looking forward to the next essay phase. And, well, concerning my own PhD thesis, knowing things like that never hurt…

 

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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)

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PhD@LSE – The first term is over!


Für die deutsche Fassung bitte hier klicken!

lse_christmas(My own photograph)

What happened?

Well, there are quite I few topics I wanted to cover today originally, but then I felt I had to write a short piece on what happened in the last months. As some of you might have gathered, I went to the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) in October to work on my PhD. My home base is Leuphana University Lüneburg in Germany, but since I did my master’s there and my second supervisor, Prof. Simon Hix, is at LSE, I went back to London.

And well, the past three months were amazing. Thank God I will return in January for further three months!

What do I think about it?

Since I went to LSE as a Visiting Research Student, there are hardly any compulsory programme regulations that I have to fulfil. I can essentially do whatever I want, go to the classes I want, and still have all the rights of a regular LSE PhD student. In fact, the status of a “Visiting Research Student” only appears in the official documents, and for the rest of the School I am a PhD student like anybody else. Which is a good thing – I never felt treated like a mere “visitor”.

So, what did I do, apart from working on my thesis? I took a few courses on methods, for example. A general course on qualitative methods, in which I not only simply learned how to do a participant observation or an interview, but I actually went out and did both (see the article „(Un-) Welcome to Downing Street No. 10!“ for a summary of my participant observation)! Also, I learned how to do quantitative stuff, that is regression analysis, something I missed out on in my earlier studies. Well, numbers in huge tables and plots are my thing now! I will need all of this for my PhD research, so this will come in handy quite soon.

Apart from methods, I mingled with other PhD students out of class as well as in a regular workshop, where we not only talked with the professors about how to pursue our projects, but also had a ‘clinic’ (lovingly called “Academics Anonymous”) where we could talk freely about obstacles and challenges we face concerning our lives as PhD students. This was very helpful, seeing that other PhD students deal with the same things.

And of course, I met so many people. People who were enthusiastic about my research,  people who were always there to give support on a plethora of issues, and people with whom it was just nice to have a chat and tea with.

So, I cannot wait to be back in January (even though I am technically not even gone yet – I’m sitting in my little room at my hall of residence while writing this) – this time with even more methods courses – I’m thinking about doing an advanced course in regression analysis – and again lots of opportunities to explore my favourite topics beyond my own research. There is more out there than the European Parliament!

Conclusion

I miss Leuphana University, I really do. But LSE is great, too – seeing new faces, getting new perspectives on my PhD topic. This is why I would recommend visiting another university for a few months during the PhD – and most universities do welcome visitors. Of course going abroad has to make sense somehow in the light of one’s own research.

In sum, week 10 of term is over – and it’s Christmas time! Almost, that is. Anyway, I wish everyone a great time with lots of mulled wine and mince pies (for the Brits)!

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