I'm Damian.

I work as an Assistant Professor for political communication and journalism at the Department of Communication Science at the University of Amsterdam.

Media use, selective exposure, social media, big data, credibility
I teach a variety of communication courses, in particular about 'new media' topics.
Computational Social Science
The Amsterdam Resources for doing CSS with Python
About me
Some more information about me, including my CV.

Some media attention…

This weekend, there was a lot of media attention on Filter Bubbles. On Friday, quality newspaper Trouw published a two-page story based on interviews with me and some colleagues. We tried to make the point that filter bubbles– at least in the Netherlands, at this point in time – are less of a problem than often assumed.

On Saturday, I was interviewed on Radio 1 (Argos) about the same topic, as well as about political microtargeting. You can listen to the fragment here.

Coincidentally, and not related to our project, also quality newspaper de Volkskrant published a large story on Filter Bubbles related to music. It discussed the relationship between the usage of Spotify and music taste, and also hinted at the need for diversity in a music recommendation algorithm, to prevent it from becoming ‘boring’.

Teaching news: New Master Data Science

These weeks, I was co-teaching with Stevan Rudinac the two-week case “Political Communication” as part of the Course “Fundamentals of Data Science”, which is the first course of the new master Data Science at the UvA. The students were analyzing tweets about the US election campaign. A very nice example of interdisciplinary co-operation!


New publication on news sharing

I’m happy to announce that our article on news sharing has just been published. From the abstract:

People increasingly visit online news sites not directly, but by following links on social network sites. Drawing on news value theory and integrating theories about online identities and self-representation, we develop a concept of shareworthiness, with which we seek to understand how the number of shares an article receives on such sites can be predicted. Findings suggest that traditional criteria of newsworthiness indeed play a role in predicting the number of shares, and that further development of a theory of shareworthiness based on the foundations of newsworthiness can offer fruitful insights in news dissemination processes.

Trilling, D., Tolochko, P., & Burscher, B. (2016). From newsworthiness to
shareworthiness: How to predict news sharing based on article characteristics. Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, online first. doi:10.1177/1077699016654682

Blog: Facebook is a news editor

Natali Helberger, with whom I work on the Personalised Communication project, and I wrote a blog post for the LSE Media Policy Project blog: ‘Facebook is a news editor: the real issues to be concerned about‘. We argue that of course, Facebook employs human editors to curate the news feeds, but that this– while it should not come as surprise at all – has serious legal consequences.[full post]

… and another one…

This seems to be the week of publications on selective exposure, as also a literature review I co-authored was published. The abstract:

Some fear that personalised communication can lead to information cocoons or filter bubbles. For instance, a personalised news website could give more prominence to conservative or liberal media items, based on the (assumed) political interests of the user. As a result, users may encounter only a limited range of political ideas. We synthesise empirical research on the extent and effects of self-selected personalisation, where people actively choose which content they receive, and pre-selected personalisation, where algorithms personalise content for users without any deliberate user choice. We conclude that at present there is little empirical evidence that warrants any worries about filter bubbles.

Zuiderveen Borgesius, F. J., Trilling, D., Möller, J., Bodó, B., de Vreese, C. H., & Helberger, N. (2016). Should we worry about filter bubbles ? Internet Policy Review, 5(1). doi:10.14763/2016.1.401 [Full text]

New publication on selective exposure

A while ago, I studied with my former UvA-colleague Marijn van Klingeren (now RU Nijmegen) and Yariv Tsfati (U Haifa) the relationship between selective exposure and political polarization. The results are now published. The abstract:

One of the main lines of reasoning in the contemporary debate on media effects is the notion that selective exposure to congruent information can lead to political polarization. Most studies are correlational, potentially plagued with self-report biases, and cannot demonstrate time order. Even less is known about the mechanisms behind such an effect. We conducted an online quasi-experiment with a sample matching the characteristics of the Dutch population closely (N = 501). We investigate how selective exposure can lead to polarized attitudes and which role frames, facts, and public opinion cues play. While we find that facts learned can help explaining attitude change and that selectivity can influence the perception of public opinion, we cannot confirm that people generally polarize.

Trilling, D., van Klingeren, M., & Tsfati, Y. (2016). Selective exposure, political polarization, and possible mediators: Evidence from the Netherlands. International Journal of Public Opinion Research, online first. doi:10.1093/ijpor/edw003

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