The sec­ond edi­tion of the Infor­ma­tion Inter­me­di­aries Research Mon­i­tor is released

The sec­ond edi­tion of the Infor­ma­tion Inter­me­di­aries Research Mon­i­tor was pub­lished under the title “‘We need to talk’ – Restor­ing com­pre­hen­si­bil­i­ty to the world of media”. This is the lat­est in a series of pub­li­ca­tions that iRights.Lab has pro­duced on behalf of the Media Author­i­ty of North Rhine-West­phalia. The aim is to take stock of and crit­i­cal­ly assess both Ger­man- and Eng­lish-lan­guage research on the effects of infor­ma­tion inter­me­di­aries, e.g. search engines and social media, on the for­ma­tion of pub­lic opin­ion. In addi­tion, the Mon­i­tor high­lights cur­rent and new research projects and con­tains announce­ments of impor­tant con­fer­ences on rel­e­vant top­ics.

The new Mon­i­tor revis­its the fact that infor­ma­tion inter­me­di­aries do not meet the clas­si­cal def­i­n­i­tion of media out­lets because they select con­tent auto­mat­i­cal­ly, rather than as a result of deci­sions made by jour­nal­ists. Thus, they fun­da­men­tal­ly call into ques­tion the con­cept of media as well as of broad­cast­ing.

In addi­tion, per­son­al­ized con­tent has an impact on the infor­ma­tion base avail­able to users, which in turn can have an impact on opin­ion for­ma­tion and thus on pol­i­cy­mak­ing process­es. This must also be seen against the back­ground of the impor­tance of free will as a fun­da­men­tal demo­c­ra­t­ic prin­ci­ple.

Ulti­mate­ly, a soci­ety with a “well-func­tion­ing pub­lic sphere and media-com­pe­tent indi­vid­u­als” is need­ed tomeet the chal­lenges posed by the role of infor­ma­tion inter­me­di­aries such as Face­book. After all, bal­anced jour­nal­ism still enjoys a high degree of trust.

The entire sec­ond edi­tion of the Research Mon­i­tor is avail­able here as a PDF file (Ger­man).

You can find the first issue here (Ger­man).