DMRC Fridays Seminar Series 2018 – September 28

Photo by Pawel Nolbert on Unsplash

The second of our DMRC Fridays Seminar Series for 2018 takes place on September 28 with four exciting presentations! Join us to hear about the latest research being generated by Centre members and research students.

September 28: Kelvin Grove Campus: Z9 607: 1-3pm (room TBC).

‘El Negro De WhatsApp’ Meme and how it enacts racism

“El Negro de Whatsapp” is a platform-specific meme particularly popular amongst Spanish and Latin-American Whatsapp users that involves the posting of a picture that looks legitimate in preview but when clicked on reveals a lurking image of a black man with disproportionate genitals. This Whatsapp meme is situated within broader ‘bait-and-switch’ internet pranks like rickrolling (Know your meme, Rickroll), which imply a post of something appearing to be one thing but which is really something else. This paper examines the racism enacted by the memetic appropriations of “El Negro de Whatsapp”. I argue that users’ appropriations of this meme – independently of their intent – and Whatsapp’s affordances enact “platformed racism” (Matamoros-Fernandez, 2017). Platformed racism is “a new form of racism derived from the culture of social media platforms ‒ their design, technical affordances, business models and policies ‒ and the specific cultures of use associated with them” (Matamoros-Fernandez, 2017, p. 930). I examine the uses of “El Negro de Whatsapp” in the specific context of Spain through an exploration of the appropriations of the meme that have circulated in Whatsapp groups I am a member of.

  Ariadna Matamoros Fernández is a Lecturer at the School of Communication and member of the Digital Media Research Centre(DMRC) at the Queensland University of Technology. She holds an MA from the Digital Methods Initiative, University of Amsterdam, and a BA in Journalism from the Autonomous University of Barcelona. Her research explores the entanglement between technology and users’ practices in the cultural dynamics of race and racism online.


The Trans-Pacific Partnership: Intellectual Property and Trade in the Pacific Rim

This presentation concerns a work in progress of a book manuscript on the Trans-Pacific Partnership: Intellectual Property and Trade in the Pacific Rim. The Trans-Pacific Partnership is a sweeping trade agreement, covering a dozen countries across the Pacific Rim, including Canada, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, and a number of Latin American and Asia-Pacific countries. The Trans-Pacific Partnership promises to be transformative in terms of the Intellectual Property Chapter. The agreement contains a suite of copyright obligations – relating to copyright term extension; online intermediary liability; technological protection measures; and civil and criminal copyright enforcement. The Trans-Pacific Partnership also contains significant provisions in respect of trade mark law – covering counterfeiting, cybersquatting, well known trade marks, geographical indications, and Internet Domain Names. There has been concerns about how the Trans-Pacific Partnership will affect tobacco control measures – like graphic health warnings and plain packaging of tobacco products. The agreement also provides for significant obligations in respect of patent law, and related rights, such as data protection, and biologics. There has been much concern about how such measures will impact upon drug pricing, and access to essential medicines. There is also text on access to genetic resources, traditional knowledge, and the environment. The Trans-Pacific Partnership also proposes criminal procedures and penalties in respect of the disclosure of trade secrets. In addition, the Trans-Pacific Partnership has an investment chapter, with an investor-state dispute settlement regime. There has been debate over whether intellectual property owners should be able to deploy investor clauses in respect of intellectual property rights. With the election of President Donald Trump, the United States has withdrawn from the Trans-Pacific Partnership. There was much debate as to whether the agreement would survive the withdrawal of the United States. Nonetheless, after much debate, Australia and Japan have led a revival of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. After some equivocation, Canada agreed to join the revised Trans-Pacific Partnership, subject to the suspension of a number of provisions relating to intellectual property, cultural exceptions, and automobiles. The Trans-Pacific Partnership was signed in March 2018. The agreement is currently under review in the Australian Parliament.

  Dr Matthew Rimmer is a Professor in Intellectual Property and Innovation Law at the Faculty of Law, at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT). He is a leader of the QUT Intellectual Property and Innovation Law research program, and a member of the QUT Digital Media Research Centre (QUT DMRC) the QUT Australian Centre for Health Law Research (QUT ACHLR), and the QUT International Law and Global Governance Research Program (QUT IL and GG)


The Reality of Fake News

The proposed research evaluates the reality of extremist and politically driven campaigns, based on disinformation, that intentionally or inadvertently use news media to destabilise the social, political, and economic status of individuals across all sectors of society in Australia. A collective case study will examine cases of disinformation in Australia and will be informed by how the international community responds to the problem overseas. It will include interviews with Australian journalists and key actors involved in global initiatives developed to combat disinformation. The research will provide recommendations for how Australian newsrooms can counter disinformation campaigns and narratives based on misinformation.

Debra Adams teaches journalism in the Creative Industries Faculty at the Queensland University of Technology. Her PhD, an international comparative case study, showcased approaches to networked online news journalism by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), the Guardian, News Corp Australia, OhmyNews and the Wall Street Journal. Findings are published nationally and internationally in the Australian Journalism Review and the IAMCR 2015 Conference. Her current research examines the quality of news journalism in Australia.


The challenges and opportunities of automated journalism: Illuminating the status quo in German newsrooms

Automated journalism, the process by which data is converted into “narrative news texts with limited to no human intervention beyond the initial programming” (Carlson 2015, 416) is a relatively novel, yet increasingly important phenomenon that is significantly altering news production processes around the globe. The extent to which automated journalism has gained traction in recent years, as well as the challenges and opportunities this poses for media professionals, on both managerial and journalistic levels, formed the context for this study. Drawing upon several media outlets known to make use of, or at least experiment with, the innovation, this study uncovers possible conflicts in the way the technology is regarded across varying hierarchical levels of the newsroom. To do so, it draws on ten semi-structured interviews with editors and journalists working for major German media organisations such as Spiegel Online and Süddeutsche Zeitung. Surprisingly, and contrary to initial expectations, interviewees were positive about the introduction of automated journalism into national newsrooms. They dismissed the notion that so-called ‘robo-journalism’ would lead to future staff redundancies: rather than replacing the tasks of human reporters working on data- intensive coverage such as sports or financial news, they believed that automated journalism would instead supplement their work and provide them with valuable time to carry out work that the technology is at the moment still unable to perform, such as investigative reporting. The paper concludes with an agenda for future research.


Dr Aljosha Karim Schapals is a Research Associate at the Digital Media Research Centre (DMRC) of Queensland University of Technology (QUT) in Brisbane, Australia, working on the ARC-funded research project “Journalism beyond the crisis”. He is the lead editor of a major edited collection on “Digitizing Democracy” to be published with Routledge in 2018. Previously, he worked as a Visiting Lecturer in the Department of Journalism at City, University of London. His research interests lie in the changes taking place in news production and consumption as a result of the internet, with a particular focus on citizen journalism, politics and social media. Additionally, he has experience as a practising journalist working for the Financial Times as well as the German government organisation Federal Agency for Civic Education.