Want to do a PhD with me?

Each year, ITU publishes an open call for PhDs. This year, I have two projects in it, and they may be of interest for some of you.

Big Tech in the Danish online ecosystem: The PhD project will explore the position(s) of “Big Tech” in the Danish online ecology, mapping how technology companies such as Alphabet, Amazon, Google, and Microsoft provide infrastructures and tools for communication and exchanges on micro, meso, and macro levels. Denmark is one of the most digitized countries in the world, but knowledge about the underlying global cast of characters remains sparse. What role do they play in the structuring of the Danish online ecosystem? The aim of the project is to generate empirical knowledge about 1) the extent to which the technology companies constitute essential backbones for the online ecosystem in Denmark, 2) the extent to which Danish (public and private) actors depend upon the technology of “Big Tech”, 3) the structural and sociological implications of strategic collaborations with the technology companies, and/or 4) the potential and realized privacy implications of the position(s) of the technology companies. The PhD project connects to current discussions about datafication, public digitalization, platform economy, and privacy.

Solving the Privacy Paradox: This PhD project explores possible solutions to the “privacy paradox” (Barnes, 2006). Over the last couple of years, and following the introduction of GDPR as well as the numerous examples of leaks and abuses of digital user data, the attention given to questions of privacy and the integrity of “data subjects” has increased. However, in spite of increased awareness, most users turn a blind eye to the vast capture and sharing of digital user data, enabling it through their everyday digital behavior. Against this background, the aim of the project is to 1) gauge users’ attitudes toward the sharing and capture of digital user data, 2) identify users’ practices for accepting/blocking the sharing digital user data, and/or 3) if possible: develop and propose frameworks or concrete solutions for improving users’ own control over what digital user data they share and how. The project can focus on specific demographics or groups of users. The PhD project is about user empowerment in the digital age and about supporting the agency of the users. Furthermore, the project connects to current scholarly discussions about privacy and personal data, datatification, and platform economy.

Deadline for applying is March 10. Please read the call carefully before applying.

My PhD dissertation available now

Just a public service announcement: I have now made my PhD dissertation News on the Web: instantaneity, multimodality, interactivity, and hypertextuality on Danish news websites available here on my website. As most of it is already published and the data aren’t getting any younger, there really is no point in not having it out there.

A large part of the dissertation consists of research articles, and most of those are now published in academic journals (in more or less revised versions):

Furthermore, parts of the theoretical introduction is commissioned as a book chapter for publication next year. I’ll post more on that here on the blog later.

If you want the printed-book version, it is for sale at Publikom at the price of 172.50 DKK (approx. 32 Euros/31 USD). For some reason, they haven’t added the dissertation to their online catalogue even though they sell it, so you’ll have to send them en email.

Defending my PhD tomorrow

Tomorrow, I’ll publicly defend my PhD dissertation News on the Web: instantaneity, multimodality, interactivity, and hypertextuality on Danish news websites. The defense will take place in auditorium 22.0.11 at the Southern Campus of the University of Copenhagen, and I think it’s going to be quite interesting; at least, it will be very satisfying for me. The dissertation is the result of three years of work, and even though I still think the subject – digital journalism and how it’s changing, transforming, and maintaining institutional arrangements – is highly interesting and relevant, it will be good to achieve closure on this project. I need to move forward to something new (but, of course, related) in terms of research work, and the defense marks the first step in such a transition.

I’ll provide a write-up of the defense in a later post. With this one, I actually just wanted to invite everybody to the defense (it is public, after all, and I’d like the results of my work to reach as many people as possible), to show a picture of the dissertation fresh from the press, and to publish the following summary of my work. The summary is taken from the dissertation, and it goes through the main points of it very briefly.

Compared to traditional news media, news websites hold a unique set of affordances in relation to news workers, namely instantaneity, multimodality, interactivity, and hypertextuality. This constellation of affordances constitutes a particular condition for the production and presentation of news. This dissertation is an enquiry into how institutional actors (news workers) appropriate these potentials afforded by new, digital technology (news websites).

The enquiry is conducted with an integration of quantitative and qualitative methods, and the analyses generally support the hypothesis that news workers working on Danish news websites do, indeed, make use of the four affordances, and that they do so in ways so that they maintain journalistic control in the process. The analyses include a content analysis of formal features on 93 Danish news websites, a qualitative case study of real-time coverage of emergent crisis, and a theory-building case study of audience participation in news production for news web-sites. The dissertation propose mediatization theory as a means for contextualizing the current developments within the institution of journalism, arguing that it is an institution which is accommodating the logics and formats of the media institution – but not without some resistance from its actors.

The dissertation consists of introductory chapters (Introduction, Terminology, Theoretical framework, and Research design), four research articles, and a concluding chapter, which outlines the conclusion, identifies the most important contributions to existing knowledge, and points to future research in continuation of this dissertation. Except for one of the four research articles, this dissertation is written in English; the research article in question is Danish-language.

If you want to read the entire dissertation, drop me an email and I’ll forward it to you.

My PhD dissertation accepted

Yesterday, I received the best news in a long time – namely that my PhD dissertation News on the Web: instantaneity, multimodality, interactivity, and hypertextuality on Danish news websites has been accepted for public defence. That is great news as a surprisingly high number of PhD dissertations are not accepted at once but need to be rewritten and resubmitted. So yesterday was a day of celebration for me and my wife.

I submitted the dissertation at the Faculty of Humanities, University of Copenhagen, on January 31 this year after exactly three years of researching and writing. The defence will take place on May 3, beginning 1pm, and will be open to the public. I will publish more information on the defence here on the blog later. Furthermore, I will also put out more information on the dissertation when my teaching obligations on the university allows for it. So stay tuned!

Update April 23, 2013: The defence will take place in auditorium 22.0.11 in Southern Campus of University of Copenhagen.