Course Information
Course title
Political Communication in the Internet Age 
Designated for
Adrian Rauchfleisch 
Curriculum Number
Curriculum Identity Number
Thursday 7,8,9(14:20~17:20) 
Restriction: juniors and beyond
The upper limit of the number of students: 15.
The upper limit of the number of non-majors: 5. 
Course introduction video
Table of Core Capabilities and Curriculum Planning
Table of Core Capabilities and Curriculum Planning
Course Syllabus
Please respect the intellectual property rights of others and do not copy any of the course information without permission
Course Description


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Political communication has changed dramatically over the last few years. The internet offers new possibilities for communication today. As a result, citizens, journalists as well as politicians face new opportunities and challenges. Throughout the seminar, we will discuss key issues in online political communication. We will discuss, for example, how the global media landscape has changed, how populism is on the rise in many countries, how extremists use social media to spread their ideology, and how political actors make use of the affordances of the networked environment to circumvent classic gatekeepers. The course will specifically discuss how these issues affect journalism. We will discuss international as well as domestic examples. 

Course Objective
- understand today's networked public sphere and how political communication has changed and affected journalism
- know about the current state of research in journalism studies
- learn to understand and use quantitative methods
- Plan a research design and conduct own study 
Course Requirement
1. Short assignments (25%)
- Read a text and write a brief comment (1-2 pages).
- Hand in before class. Will announce the deadline early enough.
- I will announce the assignments in advance

2. Present a topic in class (20%)
- present a specific topic in class
- Start with the recommended literature
- Use interactive elements
- Find additional literature

3. Proposal research project (10%)
- Use the template (2 pages)
- Find additional literature
- Present the proposal in class

4. Research report (45%)
- Short research report incl. existing research/ research questions/ methods/ results 
Student Workload (expected study time outside of class per week)
Office Hours
Designated reading
Recommended literature for presentations (preliminary version - we can change some topics depending on your interests)

Every student picks one topic and plans a presentation based on the recommended literature. You can also completely deviate from the recommended literature as long as still cover the overall issue of the session.


" Online Campaigning"

Journalism and political online communication
Lecheler, S., & Kruikemeier, S. (2016). Re-evaluating journalistic routines in a digital age: A review of research on the use of online sources. New Media & Society, 18(1), 156–171.
Parmelee, J. H. (2014). The agenda-building function of political tweets. New Media & Society, 16(3), 434–450.
Schumacher, N. F., Maurer, P., & Nuernbergk, C. (2021). Towards New Standards? Interaction Patterns of German Political Journalists in the Twittersphere. The International Journal of Press/Politics, 194016122110255.

Election campaigns
Chadwick, A., & Stromer-Galley, J. (2016). Digital Media, Power, and Democracy in Parties and Election Campaigns: Party Decline or Party Renewal? The International Journal of Press/Politics, 21(3), 283–293.
Kreiss, D., & Mcgregor, S. C. (2018). Technology Firms Shape Political Communication: The Work of Microsoft, Facebook, Twitter, and Google With Campaigns During the 2016 U.S. Presidential Cycle. Political Communication, 35(2), 155–177.
McGregor, S. C. (2020). “Taking the Temperature of the Room.” Public Opinion Quarterly, 84(S1), 236–256.

Politicians on social media
Jungherr, A. (2016). Twitter use in election campaigns: A systematic literature review. Journal of Information Technology & Politics, 13(1), 72–91.
Barberá, P., & Zeitzoff, T. (2018). The New Public Address System: Why Do World Leaders Adopt Social Media? International Studies Quarterly, 62(1), 121–130.
van Vliet, L., Törnberg, P., & Uitermark, J. (2020). The Twitter parliamentarian database: Analyzing Twitter politics across 26 countries. PLOS ONE, 15(9), e0237073.


"Polarization and disinformation"

Fake news
Pennycook, G., & Rand, D. G. (2019). Fighting misinformation on social media using crowdsourced judgments of news source quality. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 116(7), 2521–2526.
Del Vicario, M., Bessi, A., Zollo, F., Petroni, F., Scala, A., Caldarelli, G., … Quattrociocchi, W. (2016). The spreading of misinformation online. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 113(3), 554–559.
Guess, A., Nagler, J., & Tucker, J. (2019). Less than you think: Prevalence and predictors of fake news dissemination on Facebook. Science Advances, 5(1), eaau4586.

International disinformation
Golovchenko, Y., Hartmann, M., & Adler-Nissen, R. (2018). State, media and civil society in the information warfare over Ukraine: citizen curators of digital disinformation. International Affairs, 94(5), 975–994.
Bail, C. A., Guay, B., Maloney, E., Combs, A., Hillygus, D. S., Merhout, F., … Volfovsky, A. (2019). Assessing the Russian Internet Research Agency’s impact on the political attitudes and behaviors of American Twitter users in late 2017. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 201906420. doi:10.1073/pnas.1906420116
Lukito, J., Suk, J., Zhang, Y., Doroshenko, L., Kim, S. J., Su, M.-H., … Wells, C. (2019). The Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing: How Russia’s Internet Research Agency Tweets Appeared in U.S. News as Vox Populi. The International Journal of Press/Politics, 194016121989521. doi:10.1177/1940161219895215

Bail, C. A., Argyle, L. P., Brown, T. W., Bumpus, J. P., Chen, H., Hunzaker, M. F., ... & Volfovsky, A. (2018). Exposure to opposing views on social media can increase political polarization. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 115(37), 9216-9221.
Tucker, J. A., Guess, A., Barberá, P., Vaccari, C., Siegel, A., Sanovich, S., ... & Nyhan, B. (2018). Social media, political polarization, and political disinformation: A review of the scientific literature. Political polarization, and political disinformation: a review of the scientific literature (March 19, 2018).

"Platforms and Filter Bubbles"

Algorithms and filter bubbles
Flaxman, S., Goel, S., & Rao, J. M. (2016). Filter Bubbles, Echo Chambers, and Online News Consumption. Public Opinion Quarterly, 80(S1), 298–320.
Zuiderveen Borgesius, F. J., Trilling, D., Möller, J., Bodó, B., De Vreese, C. H., Helberger, N., … Internet Policy Review. (2016). Should we worry about filter bubbles? Internet Policy Review.
Eady, G., Nagler, J., Guess, A., Zilinsky, J., & Tucker, J. A. (2019). How Many People Live in Political Bubbles on Social Media? Evidence From Linked Survey and Twitter Data. SAGE Open, 9(1), 2158244019832705.
Kaiser, J., & Rauchfleisch, A. (in press). Birds of a feather get recommended together: Homophily in YouTube’s channel recommendations in the United States and Germany. Social Media + Society.

Coppock, A., Hill, S. J., & Vavreck, L. (2020). The small effects of political advertising are small regardless of context, message, sender, or receiver: Evidence from 59 real-time randomized experiments. Science Advances, 6(36), eabc4046. doi:10.1126/sciadv.abc4046
Bond, R. M., Fariss, C. J., Jones, J. J., Kramer, A. D. I., Marlow, C., Settle, J. E., & Fowler, J. H. (2012). A 61-million-person experiment in social influence and political mobilization. Nature, 489(7415), 295–298. doi:10.1038/nature11421

Pasquale, F. (2016). Platform neutrality: Enhancing freedom of expression in spheres of private power. Theoretical Inquiries in Law, 17(2), 487-513.
Gillespie, T. (2010). The politics of ‘platforms’. New media & society, 12(3), 347-364.
Kleis Nielsen, R., & Ganter, S. A. (2018). Dealing with digital intermediaries: A case study of the relations between publishers and platforms. New media & society, 20(4), 1600-1617.
Plantin, J.-C., Lagoze, C., Edwards, P. N., & Sandvig, C. (2016). Infrastructure studies meet platform studies in the age of Google and Facebook. New Media & Society.


"Social movements and authoritarian countries"

Social movements and the internet
Benkler, Y., Roberts, H., Faris, R., Solow-Niederman, A., & Etling, B. (2015). Social Mobilization and the Networked Public Sphere: Mapping the SOPA-PIPA Debate. Political Communication, 32(4), 594–624.
Bennett, W. L., & Segerberg, A. (2012). THE LOGIC OF CONNECTIVE ACTION: Digital media and the personalization of contentious politics. Information, Communication & Society, 15(5), 739–768.
Theocharis, Y., Vitoratou, S., & Sajuria, J. (2017). Civil society in times of crisis: understanding collective action dynamics in digitally-enabled volunteer networks. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 22(5), 248-265.

Authoritarian countries
Pearce, K. E. (2015). Democratizing kompromat: the affordances of social media for state-sponsored harassment. Information, Communication & Society, 18(10), 1158–1174.
Rauchfleisch, A., & Schäfer, M. S. (2015). Multiple public spheres of Weibo: a typology of forms and potentials of online public spheres in China. Information, Communication & Society, 18(2), 139–155.
Hobbs, W. R., & Roberts, M. E. (2018). How Sudden Censorship Can Increase Access to Information. American Political Science Review, 112(03), 621–636.

Hashtag activism
Freelon, D., Bossetta, M., Wells, C., Lukito, J., Xia, Y., & Adams, K. (2020). Black Trolls Matter: Racial and Ideological Asymmetries in Social Media Disinformation. Social Science Computer Review, 089443932091485. doi:10.1177/0894439320914853
Jackson, S. J., & Foucault Welles, B. (2015). Hijacking #myNYPD: Social Media Dissent and Networked Counterpublics. Journal of Communication, 65(6), 932–952. doi:10.1111/jcom.12185
Mundt, M., Ross, K., & Burnett, C. M. (2018). Scaling social movements through social


(backup topic "Populism and Extremis")

Engesser, S., Ernst, N., Esser, F., & Büchel, F. (2017). Populism and social media: how politicians spread a fragmented ideology. Information, Communication & Society, 20(8), 1109–1126.
Schmuck, D., & Hameleers, M. (2020). Closer to the people: A comparative content analysis of populist communication on social networking sites in pre- and post-Election periods. Information, Communication & Society, 23(10), 1531–1548.
Jungherr, A., Schroeder, R., & Stier, S. (2019). Digital media and the surge of political outsiders: Explaining the success of political challengers in the United States, Germany, and China. Social Media+ Society, 5(3), 2056305119875439.

Klausen, J. (2015). Tweeting the Jihad : Social Media Networks of Western Foreign Fighters in Syria and Iraq. Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, 38(1), 1–22.
Prucha, N. (2016). IS and the Jihadist Information Highway – Projecting Influence and Religious Identity via Telegram. Perspectives on Terrorism, 10(6). Retrieved from
Baugut, P., & Neumann, K. (2019). Online propaganda use during Islamist radicalization. Information, Communication & Society, 1–23. doi:10.1080/1369118x.2019.1594333

The extreme right and the internet
O’Callaghan, D., Greene, D., Conway, M., Carthy, J., & Cunningham, P. (2015). Down the (White) Rabbit Hole: The Extreme Right and Online Recommender Systems. Social Science Computer Review, 33(4), 459–478.
De Koster, W., & Houtman, D. (2008). ‘STORMFRONT IS LIKE A SECOND HOME TO ME’: On virtual community formation by right-wing extremists. Information, Communication & Society, 11(8), 1155–1176.
Rauchfleisch, A., & Kaiser, J. (2020). The German Far-right on YouTube: An Analysis of User Overlap and User Comments. Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, 1–24.  
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