Alfred Hermida

 
Prospective Graduate Students / Postdocs

This faculty member is currently not actively recruiting graduate students or Postdoctoral Fellows, but might consider co-supervision together with another faculty member.

Professor

Research Classification

Research Interests

Digital journalism
Media innovation
social media
Transformation of news
Misinformation

Relevant Thesis-Based Degree Programs

Research Options

I am available and interested in collaborations (e.g. clusters, grants).
I am interested in and conduct interdisciplinary research.
I am interested in working with undergraduate students on research projects.
 
 

Biography

Prof Alfred Hermida is an award-winning online news pioneer, digital media scholar, and journalism educator. A full professor at the School of Journalism, Writing, and Media, University of British Columbia, his research explores the intersection of journalism, communication technologies and the networked society. He is author of the award-winning book, Tell Everyone: Why We Share and Why It Matters (DoubleDay Canada, 2014) and co-author of Participatory Journalism: Guarding Open Gates at Online Newspapers (Wiley-Blackwell, 2011), and his work has been published in Journalism Studies, Digital Journalism, Journalism Practice and the Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media.

Research Methodology

qualitative methods

Graduate Student Supervision

Master's Student Supervision

Theses completed in 2010 or later are listed below. Please note that there is a 6-12 month delay to add the latest theses.

Climate skepticism presence and changing climate journalism sourcing practices in the 2023 British Columbia wildfire coverage (2024)

In 2023, Canada experienced one of the worst wildfire seasons in its history, with over 16.5 million hectares of land being burnt. These record-breaking wildfires required evacuations, posed physical and mental health risks, and required multiple levels of government emergency response. As wildfires have become increasingly intense, scientists have come to the consensus that climate change is a factor which is contributing to the worsening of these fires through increased global temperatures, changing seasonal patterns, and increased droughts. Media coverage of the wildfires combined event-driven reporting and climate journalism. Climate journalism has been an area of rapid change in journalism studies. Climate journalism has been moving away from previous ideas of objectivity and bothsidesism, and instead moving towards a subjective stance where climate change is not treated as a subjective ideal, but is instead treated as an objective fact, changing the way that different voices in climate journalism are represented. Climate journalism aligns with journalistic sourcing practices as certain groups, such as government officials, receive high media representation, and other groups experience less representation. This research project explored how different sources are represented in the 2023 Canadian wildfire media coverage, using both quantitative and qualitative analysis. It investigated which sources were the most likely to assert a connection between climate change and wildfires, and to understand how reluctance and skepticism are represented. Findings suggest that skeptic voice presence in media is decreasing, and that event-driven crisis reporting platforms a microcosm of dominant government sources. The results advance an understanding of how science communication is represented by sources, and which sources contribute to shaping the current representation of climate change in the media during a crisis event.

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Racialized early-career journalists in Canada and alternative journalistic approaches (2023)

Media and feminist scholars argue that journalism has been a white male bastion, and the norms and practices of journalism reflect its context. Prior research also indicates that minority journalists often have to withhold their racial identity and personal experiences to comply with the professional norms and values of journalism. Informed by Critical Race Theory (CRT), this thesis investigates the professional lived experience of journalists from racialized backgrounds in Canada regarding unorthodox journalism practices, relationality as racialized professionals, and early-career experiences. By conducting seven semi-structured interviews with early-career Asian Canadian journalists, this study identified four main themes: (1) journalists challenge traditional journalism practices through endorsing trauma-informed journalism, which values building rapport with sources and minimizing harm; (2) positionality and intersectionality impact their news judgement, values, and journalism practice; and evidence suggests that racialized journalists have formed a robust and supportive network of connections; (3) early-career journalists are vulnerable to precarious employment; (4) there is still a lack of representation of racialized people in editorial positions. This thesis highlights the significance of trauma-informed journalism and argues that further research in this area could yield new possibilities for journalism ethics and practice.

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Against the coup: Midia NINJA and the fight for democracy in Brazil (2017)

The impeachment of Brazil’s former president Dilma Rousseff on August 31, 2016 points to the end of a cycle in Brazilian politics (Domingues, 2016). Many Brazilians have lost their trust in institutional politics, and no longer feel represented (Barbosa, 2015; Barbosa et al, 2016; Da Luz, 2015; Domingues, 2016; Friedman, E. J. & Hochstetler, K., 2002). In a sense, it is a clash of the new Brazil with the old (Ituassu, 2013). A series of mass demonstrations have taken the streets of Brazil since 2013, representing the tipping point of a new wave of social movements in the country (Telles, 2016). New opportunities arise for civil disobedience and experimentation, and social media has been deemed as playing a crucial role in this ongoing process — a counter-narrative to traditional, Brazilian mainstream media, and a successful venue for connecting civil society to the political sphere (Ituassu, 2013). Among the groups that have emerged as key actors during this recent period of protests is Mídia NINJA, a reference to ancient Japanese warriors and an acronym for Independent Narratives Journalism and Action, a non-corporate, non-profit media group run by citizen journalists spread across over 100 cities in Brazil (Mídia NINJA, n.d.), with more than 2,000 collaborators. Armed with smartphones and video cameras, the group has sought to shape the news agenda by engaging millions of people online and articulating a counter-narrative to corporate media. This research project explores how the new online media ecology, made possible by the advent of the Internet, disrupts and inaugurate new possibilities for journalism, civic engagement and social justice activism through a case study of Mídia NINJA, utilizing both computational and manual methods of data gathering and interpretation (Hermida et al., 2013).

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Analyzing Canadian Print Media Coverage of the 2004 Southeast Asian Tsunami (2010)

Using the 2004 Southeast Asian tsunami as a case study, this paper considers how naturaldisasters are covered in the media in order to develop a better understanding of disasterreporting. The analysis builds upon Alexa Robertson’s 2008 study of television coverage of the tsunami. Data was collected through a content analysis of three daily Canadian newspapers in thethree months immediately following the tsunami. The findings show that although there are somenotable differences between newspapers, simply catering to the same type of audience (i.e.national) is no guarantee that coverage from different newspapers will produce similar trends.However, the research did identify four trends across the three newspapers studied: pieces thatare framed as political stories and critical of the government are not necessarily fuelled byinherent political bias, at least with regard to a foreign natural disaster; in the immediateaftermath of a disaster, the abundance of dramatic stories that can be told raises the thresholdwith regard to the level of drama a disaster story must have in order to be printed; recoverystories are generally re-framed as aid stories, thereby making it easier to relate the story to theaudience, and; there does not seem to be any pattern to when a disaster disappears fromnewspapers’ front pages, as even an anniversary commemorating a disaster is no assurance offront page coverage. This study found that although narrative arcs in disaster reporting follow similar patterns across newspapers, other aspects of disaster coverage – such as the quantity or location of coverage – vary from newspaper to newspaper.

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News Releases

This list shows a selection of news releases by UBC Media Relations over the last 5 years.

Publications

 
 

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