Indiana University

Indiana University Journalism

Ibold looking at in new media, social change in global world

Haley Nelson | Feb. 24, 2013
Photo by Ann Schertz
Using mixed methods of data-gathering, assistant professor Hans Ibold focuses on the role and effect of new media.
For assistant professor Hans Ibold, researching newer media and overall social change can lead to a better understanding of modern journalism.

“One facet of my research is: where is journalism headed?” Ibold said. “For me, looking at new media and social change informs that bigger question about the future of journalism.”

Amid the rapidly evolving state of journalism, Ibold uses his ongoing research to gain insight into the role of newer media today. He is currently reviewing journalists’ portrayals of a globalized society and definitions of “international communities.”

“The definitional lines of journalism seem to be blurring,” Ibold said. “That has happened periodically throughout the history of journalism, but it seems to be happening at this accelerating and amplified rate today.”

Ibold’s research is two-pronged: he focuses on the role and effect of new media, as well as overarching social change in today’s increasingly global world. He utilizes mixed methods of data collection, including interviews and content analysis, to answer his research questions.

“I probably have the most experience with the interview technique, but I’m definitely not married to a particular type of data collection,” he said. “Methods exist to serve research questions.”

His overall desire to understand and research social change leads him to the appropriate research method, in most cases.

“Social change is kind of a big, knotty concept, but within that you look for social goals and progress towards social goals,” Ibold said. “Sometimes that can be political and sometimes not.”

With doctoral candidate Kioko Ireri, Ibold researched how international communities are presented in the national news today. "Chimera of International Community: News narratives of global cooperation," delves into the issue of the globalized world.

Even further, as national boundaries are blurring, more pressure is placed on the definition of journalism, according to Ibold.

“How do we contextualize and deal with international communities? We thought that would speak to how journalism is working in the global context,” Ibold said.

Ibold focuses on connections between his research topics and everyday life, especially when examining how new media may affect institutions like journalism and democracy.

“I think it is very important…to really pay attention to what people are doing in their everyday lives, as mundane and trivial as that may seem,” Ibold said. “That to me is valuable to students because it shows exactly what’s happening out there in the real world.”

He believes this connection is especially important for journalists and media scholars to maintain, because sustaining this connection is key to success in the field. Similarly, Ibold believes it is important, especially for students, to be responsible and aware of the effects of their media use.

Ibold just finished further research on participatory journalism in Kyrgyzstan, and he hopes to continue further work on his two-pronged interests.

“I think there is this tendency now, because things are moving so fast, to assume that we know more than we do,” Ibold said. “I think it is really important both in the research and as everyday media consumers for us to maintain a certain curiosity and vigilance with the change and the media around us. And I think that can be really fun because it can lead to more engagement and more creative work.”

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