From Playground to Salon: Challenges in Designing a System for Online Public Debate

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This article brings together two separate strands of media research: Online comments and media design. Online comments have long been a topic of much concern, both among scholars and the public at large, fearing negative effects from phenomena such as echo chambers, filter bubbles and hate speech. This paper reports on a project by the Danish public service broadcaster Danmarks Radio, aiming to develop a system for online comments in line with the broadcaster's public service ideals. Through interviews and observations, I explore the challenges encountered by the project team as an empirical case study of cross-disciplinary design work intersecting the fields of design, journalism and new media. I discuss the challenges encountered by the project team in light of Domingo's model of audience participation, suggesting that the broadcaster's strategy represents a development from the "playgrounds" model to a "salon" model. Building on Löwgren and Reimer's work on collaborative media, I suggest some of the broadcaster's struggles point to a lack of adequate methods for balancing interaction design concerns with the concerns of mass communication and journalism.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAcademicMindtrek '17 Proceedings of the 21st International Academic Mindtrek Conference
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Publication date20 Sep 2017
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-4503-5426-4
Publication statusPublished - 20 Sep 2017


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