Research Themes

Learn more about our ongoing research.

Journalism innovation and media startups

Alfred Hermida, Mary Lynn Young, Vinita Srivastava UBC

In partnership with The Conversation Canada, this team is exploring the mechanisms through which a journalism non-profit can leverage online media to enhance the production, distribution, and circulation of evidence-based reporting. The project includes the development of a critical race podcast, an audience engagement strategy, and visual explanatory journalism approaches at The Conversation Canada in order to test and validate strategies to enhance engagement and impact. 

Uptake, audiences and explanatory journalism

Frauke Zeller, Charles Davis

This team is conducting research on the theme of uptake and explanatory journalism. This research will 1) identify the characteristics of explanatory journalism; 2) advance knowledge of how uptake can be assessed; 3) develop a profile of journalism articles with exceptional uptake; 4) build metrics to assess uptake on a variety of platforms; 5) identify the features of explanatory journalism that attract specific publics, and 6) enhance the ability to assess information and participate in knowledge construction. 

Historical innovation in explanatory journalism

Heidi Tworek, Gene Allen

This project examines the history of journalistic innovation and media policy. The team is exploring what earlier attempts to reach a wide audience using explanatory journalism have taught us; and, based on past experience, how policy can better support forms of evidence based journalism. The research moves through three sequential stages, 1) how new communication modes cultivated new genres of explanatory content (like CBC’s National Farm Radio Forum, 1941-65); 2) how the historical evolution of intellectual property law first fostered, then effectively abolished the republishing of journalistic content, which has re-emerged as a central element in The Conversation’s global strategy; 3) how new forms of explanatory journalism in the past, like investigative journalism, affected civic engagement, public understanding of issues, and public policy. 

Indigenous media engagement and explanatory journalism

Candis Callison, Daniel Justice

This team is focused on how Indigenous media makers articulate Indigenous concerns to multiple publics through diverse media forms. They will develop quantitative and qualitative analysis of current practices in Indigenous-focused media initiatives and will consider how Indigenous media makers might inform and enhance best practices for the dissemination of Indigenous scholarship to broader audiences without diminishing necessary historical and cultural contexts. The team has partnered with Indigenous media makers to develop recommendations for more accurate and culturally-informed media practices and will design and facilitate media training to share these practices. 

Policy implications of explanatory journalism

Elizabeth Dubois, Florian Martin-Bariteau

Using The Conversation Canada (TCC) as a case-study, this team is evaluating the use of explanatory and non-profit journalism by policy makers and the effectiveness of these forms of journalism in influencing public policy. The project will assess how explanatory journalism is used in the Canadian policy making process, what sources and channels policy makers use, and how explanatory journalism flows through those networks. The team will develop recommendations and workshops aimed at both journalists and policy-makers around how to access and engage with explanatory journalistic content. 

Global engagement with explanatory journalism

Jean Burgess, Axel Bruns 

This project assesses the role of amplifier platforms like The Conversation Canada (TCC) in facilitating new modes of public intellectual engagement in digital and social media. They are conducting continuous, quantitative monitoring of TCC content, assessing impact and global dissemination by using large-scale metrics to initiate a series of in-depth, qualitative forensic analyses focused on specifically selected case studies. This work will facilitate valuable cross-national comparisons of the quality and impact of TCC content globally. 

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