Rasmus Kleis Nielsen: The power of platforms and how publishers adapt
Start 18:30, End 22:00
Today, more people follow the news via platform companies like Facebook and Google than via any news organisation in human history, and smaller platforms like Twitter serve news to more people than all but the biggest publishers. Most news content is still produced by professional journalists. But the way in which we discover it and the distribution of the content is changing rapidly. But who decides what is going to be displayed and what not? And who profits from our behaviour? All this goes along with the increasing use of search engines, social media, and the like for news.
In this lecture, Rasmus Kleis Nielsen will revisit the history of the first twenty years of relations between platforms and news publishers to identify the underlying dynamics that have shaped the development of our digital society, and will shape it for years to come. He argues that publishers have – sometimes reluctantly, but often actively – fueled the rise of platform companies by embracing the very real opportunities they provide. This is the case even though they also challenge publishers’ historically dominant position by competing for attention and advertising and by controlling key parts of the infrastructure of free expression. In the process publishers, like the rest of us, become increasingly empowered by and dependent upon a small number of centrally placed and powerful platforms.
Rasmus Kleis Nielsen is Director at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism and Professor of Political Communication at the University of Oxford and Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Press/Politics. Most of his research deals with news media organisations and their ongoing transformations, changing forms of digital media use in political and news-related contexts, political communication and campaign practices. He is involved in a wide range of different comparative research projects around the future of news, the changing business of journalism and the rise of digital media.