ARTICLE: How to better analyse “echo chambers”

Untitled by Alexas_Fotos, licence CC0 1.0

Curd Benjamin Knüpfer, of George Washington University, proposes a new model for analysing so-called “echo chambers”. To be more specific, Knüpfer moves away from the term “echo chamber”, suggesting it implies an unnecessarily insular concept. The new model, then, consists of potentially overlapping feedback loops.

The author’s model is four-layered. First, information emerges within a shared field of “accessible discourse”, and is then variably picked up and filtered through different methods of journalistic production. The output of this process are different “projections of reality” – in some projections climate change may be a hoax and unquestioned reality in others, Knüpfer explains.

Finally, these projections of reality feed back into the previous three levels of the process. For example, politicians may recognize the existence of divergent projections of reality among their constituents. Then, in order to win votes, said politicians may strategically push for policy goals that are specific to certain projections, in effect creating new information to be picked up by the news cycle. Similarly, news production can adapt to meet the pre-existing beliefs the audience has.

The article “Diverging Projections of Reality” was published by the journal Journalism Studies. It is available online on the publisher’s website (abstract free).

Picture: Untitled by Alexas_Fotos, licence CC0 1.0.

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