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Prof Alfred Hermida is an award-winning online news pioneer, digital media scholar, and journalism educator. Director and associate 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.
Graduate Student Supervision
Master's Student Supervision (2010 - 2018)
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).
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.