Emotional Public Engagement in a Post-truth Era

By: Irati Agirreazkuenaga   Ainara Larrondo   Simon Peña  

In the post-truth era, where emotions are much more influential in shaping public opinion than are objective facts, it is expected that citizen’s participation, whether offline or online, in programs dealing with issues of democratic consequences, are overflowing with this emotional component. While radio programs that appeal for popular culture, such as phone-ins or entertainment magazines, might not often delve into social problems with serious complexity, they offer structures that let audiences creatively start thinking of private and public concerns, a practice by which engagement can go beyond the popular to influence political perceptions and values (Dahlgren, 2009). Given that we live in an era consisting of lies that can go viral mainly through a media alliance, particularly with social media, this paper ought to detect the presence of feeling-driven and thought-driven comments in the mediatized messages of ordinary people. This paper contributes with a method that studies the form and content of conductors and participants, correlating the used emotion and topic. In this work, besides the content, the voice is a key factor. Thus, it will look at which type of emotions predominate depending on who talks (presenters or journalists that guide the program, citizens participating); and the topic those presenters, journalists, and participants are talking about. This research is an approach to the construction of an innovative methodology that correlates emotional-based and content-based variables. The study uses a semi-qualitative methodology based on content analysis of citizen’s contributions, as well as live managing of them– and in-depth interviews with main editors. The selected case studies are non-news programs that deal with political, social and entertaining issues that call for live online as well as offline participations through different channels, also known as TV talk shows or phone-in radio programs.

"Audience Participation", " Voice", " Politics", " Public Media", " Public Sphere"
Media Cultures, 2018 Special Focus: Alt-Media - The Shifting Tide of Political Communication
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Dr. Irati Agirreazkuenaga

-, -, University of the Basque Country, Spain
-, Spain

Irati Agirreazkuenaga is Assistant Professor in information genres, radio speech and corporate communication at the Faculty of Social Sciences and Communication of the University of the Basque Country. She obtained an international PhD in Media in 2013, written in Basque and English. She performed part of her thesis at the Centre for Cultural Policy Research in the University of Glasgow (2011) and she afterwards stayed as a postdoctoral visiting fellow at the same centre for six months (2014). She has developed her research on public media and participation during a postdoctoral stay in the Department of Media and Communications at the London School of Economics. She has published articles on communication strategies for public radios and the role of the media in empowering minority identities among others (Media, Culture & Society) and co-authored books on audience participation and media convergence; she has also published a book on the first relevant Basque-language radios during Francoism (2016). She is nowadays involved in issues of public media and citizen engagement in civic and political life and she is member of two research groups financed by the spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness and the University of the Basque Country on audience participation and political communication respectively.

Dr. Ainara Larrondo

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Dr. Simon Peña

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