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Considering Rurality and Religion: Mapping an Alternative Media Ecosystem and Addressing Gaps in Misinformation Research

Project description

Reconsidering Rurality, Radio and Religion: Mapping an Alternative Media Ecosystem

Media research is crucial to combating information disorders impacting democracy, revealing sociotechnical systems impacting the spread of (mis)information---but there are gaps to address. For example, rural, broadcast media ecosystems used by largely religious populations are under-researched. Qualitative inquiry can complement quantitative methods, providing insight into how societies navigate facts and falsehoods. In this context, the EU-funded MAP-MISINFO project investigates the particulars of (mis)information spread and adequacy of media research practices. The project’s case study, Utah, has high density of broadcast media, a stark rural/urban divide, and maintains one majority religion. This case study will be used to analyze and evaluate standard media research tools. The project will produce a website and publications with guidance from the University of Copenhagen.


MAP-MISINFO is a proposal for a two-year European MSCA Fellowship at the University of Copenhagen (UCPH), within the
Department of Communication (COMM). It proposes examining the intersection of misinformation, as a growing threat to democracy,
and media research practices aimed at understanding information dissemination. As media research approaches are a key way to
understand and potentially address misinformation, it is vital that media scholarship better account for gaps in practice—for example,
around under-researched contexts such as rurality and radio. Another prevalent but understudied gap is how qualitative inquiry can
be used to in conjunction with common practices in ‘counting or categorizing’ instances of misinformation online; such approaches
better consider the manifold ways societies navigate between facts and fabrications—what sociotechnical systems and contexts
might allow misinformation to thrive or be combatted. The MAP-MISINFO project will work towards filling both types of gaps through
a two-pronged, interrelated research design. First, the project will engage in an empirical case study, mapping a misinformation-related topic as it moves through the open web and region-specific media ecosystems. The region of focus will be the rural,
conservative, relatively homogeneous US state of Utah. This case study will serve to inform (and be informed by) the other
prong of MAP-MISINFO: a mapping and analysis of common media research tools used in examining misinformation. This second
objective of the project entails carefully curated workshops of media scholars and publication overviews. The project will generate a
public-facing website, media appearances, peer-reviewed publications, a report for general distribution, and a special issue of a top
Communications journal. The host institution, UCPH, is uniquely positioned to provide methodological and theoretical guidance.
MAP-MISINFO will also contribute to establishing my international academic career.



Net EU contribution
€ 230 774,40
Norregade 10
1165 Kobenhavn

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Danmark Hovedstaden Byen København
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
EU contribution
No data