The project will run during 2017–2018, focusing on the new web-based local media products that are emerging on the market (project manager Jaana Hujanen). Such products can, e.g., be aimed at a small community or a specific postcode area, and they represent a reaction against the downsizing and cuts implemented in traditional media organisations. The goals of the project involve mapping the forms these new hyperlocal products will take, determining who might create them, and establishing whether they have the potential to make a mainstream breakthrough. The project is being carried out in cooperation with the University of Turku.

The Immersive Automation project (2017–2018, project manager: Carl-Gustav Lindén) is a development project examining how media organisations could automate their routine news production in a relevant way (commonly known as robot journalism). IA is a continuation of two previous projects, Between a Robot and a Zombie: The Radical Transformation of News Work (2015, funded by the C.V. Åkerlund Foundation), and Journalism in Local Contexts (2016, funded by the Media Industry Research Foundation of Finland).

The aim of the project is to discover new solutions to how automatic tools could identify material and create basic news templates which a human journalist could then edit for publication. Such automatic processes would mean that precious editorial resources could be allocated to more creative and challenging forms of journalism. The researchers are also studying how automatically generated news is received by users, and how it can be best distributed on a personal and local level.

The project’s budget of €1.07 million is provided by the Media Remake programme of the Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation (Tekes), the Media Industry Research Foundation of Finland and the Swedish Cultural Foundation in Finland. The research is being carried out in cooperation with the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, the University of Helsinki Department of Computer Science, KSF Media, the Sanoma Group, Alma Media, Conmio, Streamr and Keski-Pohjanmaan Kirjapaino.

Project publications

  • Finnäs, J. (2015). Analys: Robotjournalistik i praktiken. Stockholm: Medievärlden. (Download the publication here)
  • Lindén, C-G. (2015). Analys: När algoritmerna sköter journalistiken. Stockholm: Medievärlden. (Download the publication here)
  • Lindén, C-G. (2016). Decades of automation in the newsroom: Why are there still so many jobs in journalism? Digital Journalism. Advance online publication. doi:10.1080/21670811.2016.1160791
  • Lindén, C-G. (2016). Better algorithms, smarter journalists: The promise of Artificial Intelligence. The Journal of Media Innovations. Accepted for publication in October 2016.

Conference presentations and seminars

  • Lindén, C-G. (2015, June). Better algorithms, smarter journalists: The promise of AI. Presentation at the International Symposium on Media Innovations conference, Brussels, Belgium.
  • Lindén, C-G. (2015, August). A publisher’s approach to Robot Journalism. Presentation at the Nordmedia 2015 conference, Copenhagen, Denmark.
  • Lindén, C-G. (2015, October). The algorithms for journalism: Interpreting and writing rules for robots. Presentation at the conference Negotiating Culture: Integrating legacy and digital cultures in news media, Oxford, UK.
  • Lindén, C-G. (2016, April). Algorithms in the newsrooms – what to expect? Presentation at the NODA16 conference, Helsinki, Finland.

RESCUE is a European project with the goal to discover how journalists and other crisis communicators could better use social media to find information and communicate in a crisis. The project runs from 2014 until 2017, and covers six sub-projects. The Finnish sub-project focuses on surveying the central challenges that news journalism faces in using social media today, while studying the usability of a new tool for information seeking being developed in another sub-project (project manager: Klas Backholm). One Master's thesis is being drafted in the project for the Swedish School of Social Science.

The Finnish sub-project is being carried out in cooperation between the Media Lab and Åbo Akademi University’s Experience Lab and the subject of political science with mass communication. Funding is primarily from the Research Council of Norway and the Högskolestiftelsen i Österbotten foundation. Other institutions involved in the RESCUE project include Aberystwyth University in Wales, FH Joanneum University of Applied Sciences in Austria, Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences in Norway, and the Norwegian design company Bengler.

Conference presentations and seminars

  • Backholm, K., Hornmoen, H., Frey, E., Gröndahl Larsen, A., Ottosen, R., Reimerth, G., & Steensen, S. (2015, October). Ensuring trustworthiness of social media content in crises. Exploring the usability of a content validation toolset for journalists and crisis communicators. Presentation at the Crisis4 Conference, Helsingborg, Sweden.
  • Backholm, K., Hornmoen, H., Frey, E., Gröndahl Larsen, A., Ottosen, R., Reimerth, G., & Steensen, S. (2015, July). Key communicators’ perceptions on the use of social media in risks and crises. Paper presented at the International Association for Media and Communication Research Conference, Montreal, Canada.
  • Lindholm, J., Backholm, K., & Högväg, J. (2016, November). Finding news in the social media stream. Testing the usability of a toolset for information verification with a sample of news journalists. Paper presented at the 6th European Communication Conference, Prague, The Czech Republic.

A vibrant Swedish-language media landscape in Finland

The 2013–2014 project focused on the economic realities of Swedish-speaking media in Finland. The project involved the Finnish Broadcasting Company (Yle), KSF Media, HSS Media and the Åbo Akademi University Foundation. The project combined research knowledge and the media industry’s specialist know-how and financial expertise to develop cooperation between Finnish media houses with international support, and to enable them to develop and restructure their operations.

The main question was how the media houses can use their limited resources to boost their relevance to a Swedish-speaking, bilingual or Finnish-speaking public in a changing media landscape, and to create new ways of supporting a functional, comprehensive Swedish media choice for the whole population of Finland. The project was led by Professor Tom Moring.

Project publications

  • Moring, T. (Ed.). (2014). Ett livskraftigt medielandskap på svenska i Finland. Helsinki: Swedish School of Social Science, University of Helsinki. (Download the publication here.)

Conference presentations and seminars

  • Moring, T. (2014, April). Media’s influence on language. Presentation at Language, Media, Power. Roundtable Discussion at Sámi University College, Kautokeino, Norway.
  • Moring, T. (2014, May). Media education, minority language and cultural development. Presentation at the International expert and practitioners’ workshop on education and linguistic diversity, Stockholm, Sweden.
  • Moring, T. (2014, July). Is digitalization of media a new Gutenberg revolution for minority languages? Guest lecture at the Research Institute for Linguistics (MTA Nyelvtudományi Intézet), Budapest, Hungary.
  • Picard, R. (2014, March). Perspectives for Swedish media in Finland in the light of the economic developments in the media sector. Keynote at the seminar “Ett livskraftigt medielandskap på svenska i Finland. Optimeringsstrategi för publiksamverkan, kvalitet och resursanvändning”, Helsinki, Finland.