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[liberationtech] Show Me Your Dashboard - Digital Methods Winter School 2015 - Univ. of Amsterdam

Liliana Bounegru liliana.bounegru at
Fri Oct 31 02:35:52 PDT 2014

New Media Monitoring and Data Analytics as Critical Practice
Digital Methods Winter School, Data Sprint and Mini-Conference

*12-16 January 2015 | Digital Methods Winter School *
*Digital Methods Initiative |
<>**Media Studies | University of Amsterdam*

The Digital Methods Initiative (DMI), Amsterdam, is pleased to announce its
7th annual Winter School, on New Media Monitoring and Data Analytics as
Critical Practice. The format is that of a data sprint, with hands-on work
on media monitoring with data analytics, and a Mini-conference, where
PhD candidates, motivated scholars and advanced graduate students present
short papers on digital methods and new media related topics, and receive
feedback from the Amsterdam group of DMI researchers and international
participants. Participants need not give a paper at the Mini-conference to
attend the Winter School.

The focus of this year's Winter School is on how online media monitoring is
currently done by non-governmental (NGOs) such as, and it
seeks to identify practices that could fill in the notion of critical data
analytics. For the occasion we have invited academics to present on the
state of the art of online media monitoring by focusing on three areas
where there is both innovation as well as repurposing of techniques
normally associated with marketing, business intelligence and the work of
digital agencies: issue discovery and language placement (who's carrying
the conversation), engagement and public fund-raising (when do images and
other engagement formats ‘work’?) and crisis communication (who is making
the calls when there is a breakdown?). At the Winter School social media
analysts and communications specialists from NGOs will present on the state
of the art of media monitoring, their current analytical needs and what the
Internet can continue to add with respect to new data sources as well as
monitoring techniques. We will also ask each of the organizations to show
us their dashboards.

The first day kicks off with Nathaniel Tkacz from the University of Warwick
who will talk about Dashboards and Data Signals
<>, and the desire to
control the data deluge. After the the first day of talks as well as
dashboard show and tell, the data sprint commences, whereupon the
attendees, including analysts, designers and programmers, undertake
empirical projects that address the state of the art in NGO online media
data analysis. We work on projects that seek to meet the current analytical
needs. The week closes with presentations of the outcomes as well as a
festive celebration. During the week there is also an evening of talks and
a debate with Jimmy Wales <>,
co-founder of Wikipedia, at the nearby Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts
and Science <>.

The theme of the 2015 Winter School furthers the analytical collaboration
between the Digital Methods Initiative and NGO media analysts, including
Soenke Lorenzen of Greenpeace International
<>. Previously
workshop facilitators and collaborators have included representatives
from Human
Rights Watch <>, Association for Progressive
Communications <>, Women on Waves
<>, Carbon Trade Watch
<>, Corporate Observatory Europe
<> and Fair Phone <>. In
preparation for the sprint we also have developed how-to worksheets on New
Media Monitoring and Tooling that take as their case studies NGO issue
mappings with digital methods. Upon conclusion we aim to compile the Sprint
projects from the Winter School, and combine them with the how-to sheets to
produce an open access publication on NGO media monitoring. All
participants are invited to contribute.
Digital Methods Winter School Data Sprint A data sprint is a workshop
format for intensive, empirical project work, where analysts, programers,
designers and subject matter experts collaborate to output research. This
year's data sprint is devoted to new media monitoring with data analytics,
and particularly its critical practice. Broadly speaking, media monitoring
is understood as the process of reading, watching or listening to the
editorial content of media sources on a continuing basis, and then
identifying, analyzing and saving materials that contain specific themes,
topics, keywords, names, forms or formats. Monitoring the editorial content
of news sources including newspapers, magazines, trade journals, TV shows,
radio programs and specific websites is by far the most common form of
media monitoring, but most organizations increasingly monitor social media
online, and its impact on the diffusion of news in all media or in online
conversation (including the comment space) more generally. Most companies,
government agencies, not-for-profit organizations utilize media monitoring
as a tool to study the "meaning of mentions" of their organization, its
campaigns and slogans, and gain some sense of the composition of their
audiences, and what animates them (or keeps them quiet).

During the first day of the data sprint academics studying online media
monitoring will present the state of the art of the field, focusing on
three areas: issue discovery and issue language placement (who is the
carrying the conversation, and which voices are continually elided?),
engagement and fundraising communication (how are audiences and funders
reacting to so-called 'faces of need' and other formats and calls for
engagement?) and crisis communication (when there is a breakdown, who makes
the calls?). Representatives from leading NGOs will present to the
attendees how they practice online media monitoring, the look of their
dashboards and the analytical needs that drive them. What are these experts
able to accomplish with the techniques available to them, and which
questions remain unanswered? What are the critical media monitoring
practices and questions that are specific to NGOs? How to conceptualize and
operationalize issue discovery, engagement for fundraising and crisis
monitoring? We will ask the NGO communications experts to address these
questions. We also will ask them what they think digital methods and issue
mapping may add to the outputs of media monitoring.

The conversations with the experts will serve as starting points for winter
school attendees - including analysts, designers and programmers - to
develop into empirical projects that aim to answer research questions, and
develop further techniques for media monitoring online.Digital Methods
Mini-Conference at the Winter School

The annual Digital Methods Mini-Conference at the Winter School, normally a
one-day affair, provides the opportunity for digital methods and allied
researchers to present short yet complete papers (5,000-7,500 words) and
serve as respondents, providing feedback. Often the work presented follows
from previous Digital Methods Summer Schools. The mini-conference accepts
papers in the general digital methods and allied areas: the hyperlink and
other natively digital objects, the website as archived object, web
historiographies, search engine critique, Google as globalizing machine,
cross-spherical analysis and other approaches to comparative media studies,
device cultures, national web studies, Wikipedia as cultural reference, the
technicity of (networked) content, post-demographics, platform studies,
crawling and scraping, graphing and clouding, and similar.
Key dates The deadline for application is 8 December 2014. To apply please
send along a letter of motivation as well as your CV to winterschool [at], with DMI Winter School in the subject header. Notifications
will be sent on 9 December. If you are participating in the Mini-conference
the deadline for submission of paper titles, abstracts and bios is also 8
December, with DMI Mini-conference & Winter School in the subject
header. Please
send your materials to winterschool [at] . To attend the
Winter School, you need not participate in the Mini-conference. Deadline
for submission of complete papers (5,000-7,500 words) is 6 January 2015.
The program and schedule are available on 7 January.
Fees & Logistics

The fee for the Digital Methods Winter School 2015 is EUR 295. Bank
transfer information will be sent along with the notification on 9 December
2014. The Winter School is self-catered. The venue is in the center of
Amsterdam with abundant coffee houses and lunch places. Participants are
expected to find their own housing (airbnb and other short-stay sites are
helpful). During the week there is an evening at the Royal Academy with
Jimmy Wales of Wikipedia. The Winter School closes on Friday with a festive
event, after the final presentations. Here is a guide to the Amsterdam new
media scene <>. For
further questions, please contact the organizers, Liliana Bounegru, Natalia
Sanchez and Saskia Kok, at winterschool at
About DMI

The Digital Methods Winter School is part of the Digital Methods
Initiative, Amsterdam, dedicated to reworking method for Internet-related
research. The Digital Methods Initiative holds the annual Digital Methods
Summer Schools (eight to date), which are intensive and full time 2-week
undertakings in the Summertime. The 2015 Summer School will take place 29
June - 10 July 2015. The coordinators of the Digital Methods Initiative are
Sabine Niederer and Esther Weltevrede (PhD candidates in New Media &
Digital Culture, University of Amsterdam), and the director is Richard
Rogers, Professor of New Media & Digital Culture, University of Amsterdam.
Liliana Bounegru is the managing director. Digital methods are online at The DMI about page includes a substantive
introduction, and also a list of Digital Methods people, with bios. DMI
holds occasional Autumn and Spring workshops, such as recent ones on mapping
climate change and vulnerability indexes
<> as well as on studying
right-wing extremism and populism
<> online. There
is also a Digital Methods book
<> (MIT Press, 2013), papers
and articles <> by
DMI researchers as well as Digital Methods tools

See you in the winter time in Amsterdam!

Image credit:
Online resonance of the international climate change issue agenda
EMAPS data sprint, Amsterdam, April 2014.
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