In the Fall 2009 issue of gnovis, authors wrestle with how technologies are shaping the content and form of public discourse. Specifically, this issue addresses discursive shifts found in news media, the blogosphere, political communication and cinema.
In our first article, Is There a Tabloidization of Online News? A Content Analysis of Traditional News Websites, Anastasia Lima examines U.S. consumers’ increasing use of online news resources. Using a quantitative content analysis, she establishes parameters for ‘tabloid’ and ‘traditional’ news dissemination techniques, with results that indicate a significant move toward tabloidization in the content of three news websites surveyed – CNN, ABC News and CBS News.
In an impressively timely paper, Shaping Economic Reality: A Critical Metaphor Analysis of President Barack Obama’s Economic Language During His First 100 Days, author Josh Scacco analyzes President Barack Obama’s economic language during his early days in office. Three dominant metaphoric constructions were identified in the data: embodiment/health, foundation/building, and journey/traveling metaphors. By mapping these source domains onto his linguistic target – the economy – Scacco describes how the President characterizes the crisis, describes his policy initiatives, and details the recession’s duration.
In Does Habermas Understand the Internet? The Algorithmic Construction of the Blogo/Public Sphere, Stuart Geiger discusses the role of computer-mediated communication in Hamermas’ vision of the public sphere. Using social aggregation sites like Technorati, Delicious, Digg, and Google, Geiger investigates the possibility for ‘the blogosphere’ to exist as a sociopolitical entity. His findings suggest that Habermasians should not fear fragmentation, but instead integration: the blogosphere as a public sphere is constructed and unified not by ideal discourse, but by algorithms.
Finally, author Kseniya Oksamytna analyzes the image of the American presidency in her paper, The Construction of the Image of American Presidency in Contemporary Political Comedy. Using the examples of Dave, The American President, and Man of the Year, Oksamytna discusses how the themes of conspiracy, the motif of the outsider, the role of media and special interests, and the president’s relations with advisers, family, and scandal may impact citizen engagement and trust.
Many thanks to our published authors, our volunteer peer-reviewers, and our dedicated editorial staff. It is with great pride that I present the original work of these authors who bring with them great insights on the role of technology in shaping our social worlds.
Lauren Alfrey, Managing Editor, gnovis