Doctoral student Welker Bianca

124000 €

Narrating the populist and far-right worldview: Cross-platform analysis of alternative online news media and their usage of mainstream and alternative social media platforms

Tieteellinen tutkimus / siihen pohjautuva työ | Nelivuotinen

With my doctoral research I intend to find out whether Populist and far-right alternative news media (PRAM) are platform and mainstream aware, when choosing where to share different parts of their news content offering across their mainstream social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Youtube) or their more secluded alternative platform profiles (Telegram, Gab, Odysee). I am especially curious how this awareness influences the way in which they construct narratives and choose to present news content. Language matters in this, because successful stories manage to capture an audience’s attention and persuade readers to shift their worldview. Sometimes, knowing how a text talks about a topic is more important than the actual topic being talked about. I will be applying Narrative Analysis and other textual analysis tools to the news texts, videos and audio reports. Through my analysis, I can illustrate the linguistic anatomy of populist and far-right stories and how they serve to reproduce worldviews and achieve communicative aims. My Research will span across many platforms, showing how sites and platforms are used in tandem by PRAM to reach their audiences. In the light of deplatforming efforts, it is important to study the practical effects it has had on the usage of mainstream social media platforms as well as the alternative platforms, to which content is being increasingly moved to. Linking together narrative analysis with data on content distribution is essential to pinpoint possible agency or platform-awareness in their activities and selection processes on social media. In sum, we need to understand how alt-news engage their readers in todays labyrinth of social media platforms in order to formulate powerful counter-narratives and to effectively prevent online hate speech and radicalisation.