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More ‘Fake News’ Research, and a PhD Opportunity!

Posted In Media, News, Projects - By On Monday, August 3rd, 2020 With 0 Comments

For those of you who have access to Australian television, this is an advance warning that the research on coronavirus-related mis- and disinformation that my colleagues and I at the QUT Digital Media Research Centre have conducted during the first half of this year will be featured prominently in tonight’s episode of the ABC’s investigative journalism programme Four Corners, which focusses on 5G conspiracy theories. A preview is below, and I hope that the full programme may also become available without geoblocking on ABC iView or the Four Corners Facebook page. The accompanying ABC News article has further information, too.

Related to this work, and the ARC Discovery research project that supports it, we are now also calling for expressions of interest in a three-year PhD scholarship on mis- and disinformation in social media, which will commence in early 2021. Please get in touch with me if you’re interested in the scholarship:

PhD Scholarship: ARC Discovery project on Mis- and Disinformation in Social Media (PhD commencing 2021)

The QUT Digital Media Research Centre is offering a three-year PhD scholarship associated with a major ARC Discovery research project on mis- and disinformation in social media. Working with DMRC research leaders Axel Bruns, Stephen Harrington, and Dan Angus, and collaborating with Scott Wright (Monash University, Melbourne), Jenny Stromer-Galley (Syracuse University, USA), and Karin Wahl-Jorgensen (Cardiff University, UK), the PhD researcher will use qualitative and quantitative analytics methods to investigate the dissemination patterns and processes for mis- and disinformation.

Ideally, the PhD researcher should be equally familiar with qualitative, close reading as well as quantitative, computational research methods. They will draw on the state-of-the-art social media analytics approaches to examine the role of specific individual, institutional, and automated actors in promoting or preventing the distribution of suspected ‘fake news’ content across Australian social media networks. Building on this work, they will develop a number of the case studies of the trajectories of specific stories across the media ecosystem, drawing crucially on issue mapping methods to produce a forensic analysis of how particular stories are disseminated by a combination of fringe outlets, social media platforms and their users, and potentially also by mainstream media publications.

Interested candidates should first contact Prof. Axel Bruns (a.bruns@qut.edu.au). You will then be asked to complete the DMRC EOI form (https://research.qut.edu.au/dmrc/dmrc-eois-2020-annual-scholarship-round/), by 31 August. We will assess your eligibility for PhD study, and work with you to develop a formal PhD application to QUT’s scholarship applications system, by 30 October. The PhD itself will commence in early 2021. International applicants are welcome.

The DMRC is a global leader in digital humanities and social science research with a focus on communication, media, and the law. It is one of Australia’s top organisations for media and communication research, areas in which QUT has achieved the highest possible rankings in ERA, the national research quality assessment exercise. Our research programs investigate the digital transformation of media industries, the challenges of digital inclusion and governance, the growing role of AI and automation in the information environment, and the role of social media in public communication. The DMRC has access to cutting-edge research infrastructure and capabilities in computational methods for the study of communication and society. We actively engage with industry and academic partners in Australia, Europe, Asia, the US, and South America; and we are especially proud of the dynamic and supportive research training environment we provide to our many local and international graduate students.

About the Author

- Axel Bruns is a Professor in the Digital Media Research Centre at Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia, where he leads the Digital Publics programme.

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