The goal of this project is to build a corpus consisting of German tech blogs that will allow researchers to identify important actors and their networks in the tech blog sphere and to trace whether their arguments have an impact on public discourse in the mainstream media and eventually on the development of digital policy. In our first study of this tech blog corpus, we will focus on the public discussion of the German Network Enforcement Act or “NetzDG,” also called the “Facebook Law”. This controversial law with its implications for basic rights such as freedom of expression, for the democratic decision-making process in elections, as well as for global internet governance represents a very rich and extremely relevant use case for the analysis of the ways in which the political and societal implications of technology are discussed and negotiated in different fields of the public sphere.
Stephen Robertson will be part of a team working on Promoting a Public Face for Scholarly Journals at the Triangle Scholarly Communications Institute from October 7-11, 2018. Together with Lisa Brady, Liz Covart, Seth Denbo, Robert Greene II, and Catherine Halley, he will be developing a guide to platforms and strategies for public engagement to disseminate online, and present at the journal editors’ breakfast at the 2019 American Historical Association conference.