PhD: New Players, Power Structures, and Automated Decision-making in the News Media

PhD: New Players, Power Structures, and Automated Decision-making in the News Media

Published Deadline Location
22 Nov 16 Jan Amsterdam

Job description

Are you looking for a challenging position in a dynamic setting? The Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis (ASCA) currently has a vacant PhD position as part of the Gravitation program Public Values in the Algorithmic Society (algosoc), led by principal investigator Prof. dr. Natali Helberger. The Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis is one of the five Research Schools within the Amsterdam Institute for Humanities Research.

ASCA is home to more than 100 researchers and more than 140 PhD candidates and conducts world-leading research in Cultural Analysis. ASCA researchers share a commitment to studying culture in all its forms and expressions within an interdisciplinary framework, and to maintaining a close connection with contemporary cultural and political debates.

What are you going to do?

This project examines the new players and evolving power structures that have emerged in the contemporary European news ecosystem, specifically focusing on the Netherlands. Over the past two decades, news organizations have increasingly datafiedtheir operations and implemented automated decision-making(ADM). In this process, these organizations have become deeply entangled with digital platforms-from Facebook and Google Search to Amazon Web Services and the Apple App Store,-as well as with a wide variety of data intermediaries and technology providers. Consequently, new relations of dependence have developed, affecting the distribution of power in the news ecosystem. While a lot of research has been done on the metrification and automation of news production, still missing is a comprehensive analysis of these shifts in power and dependence.

This project aims to develop such an analysis by systematically examining the emerging relations of dependence between news organizations, platforms, data intermediaries, and technology providers, as result of the datafication and automation of news production. It asks:
  1. What infrastructural relations-through application programming interfaces (APIs), software development kits (SDKs), and dedicated services-develop?
  2. What economicdependencies-through business model alignment, new online monetization strategies, and funding schemes-emerge?
  3. What new forms of governance-in the form of technological standards, developer terms, service contracts, and partnerships-are introduced in news production?
This project is part of the Gravitation programPublic Values in the Algorithmic Society (algosoc). The Gravitation program is an initiative by the Dutch government to support excellent research in the Netherlands. The funding is reserved for scientific consortia that have the potential to rank among the world's best in their field. Algosoc is a response to the urgent need for an informed societal perspective on automated decision-making. Funded by the ministry for Education, Culture and Science for a period for 10 years, research in the algosoc program will develop a deep understanding of the systemic changes that automated decision-making entails for core public institutions, for society, and for how public values are realized. The research will focus on three sectors: justice, health, and media. The program brings together researchers in law, communication science, computer science, media studies, philosophy, public governance, STS, economy, and social sciences from five Dutch universities (Amsterdam, Utrecht, Tilburg, Delft and Rotterdam). Together, the algosoc community will develop solutions for the design of governance frameworks needed to complement technology-driven initiatives in the algorithmic society.

Tasks and responsibilities:
  • develop, conduct, and publish research on new players, power structures, and automated decision making in the media;
  • contribute to the public debate and organise outreach activities of algosoc;
  • contribute to the overall program in terms of events, research meetings, activities;
  • collaborate with other researchers within the algosoc consortium;
  • give guest-lectures in the area of your expertise at BA or MA level at the University of Amsterdam;
  • help co-supervising research projects of students working on related topics.

Specifications

University of Amsterdam (UvA)

Requirements

  • a (research) master's degree in media studies, STS, communication science, anthropology, sociology, or political science;
  • a clear research interest in the topic of the project;
  • an excellent written and spoken command of English (written and spoken command of other languages, including Dutch, French, and/or German is a plus);
  • experience with digital methods and/or interviews/ethnographic methodologies;
  • the ability, willingness, and commitment to do autonomous work in a multidisciplinary team that includes legal scholars, communication scholars, ethicists, and data scientists;
  • affinity with organising workshops, lecture series, and similar events.
If the vacancy appeals to you, but you are doubting whether you might be THE person we are looking for, please do apply. We encourage all qualified applicants, including minorities, women, people with disabilities, and members of other groups underrepresented in academia to apply. We wish to create a consortium that consists of persons who each contribute in their unique way to the team. Complementarity and not homogeneity is what we are looking for.

Developing a societal vision on automated decision-making concerns us all. We believe that a diversity of perspectives in our consortium will be important in developing an inclusive societal vision and strive therefore also in our hiring policy for encouraging applicants from diverse backgrounds. We are committed to creating an environment of mutual respect, inclusiveness, equal opportunities with room for situated experiences, diverse perspectives, and ideas to flourish. This commitment applies to our research, organization, room for flexibility, training, and community activities as well as our hiring strategy.

Please note that if you already hold a doctorate/PhD or are working towards obtaining a similar degree elsewhere, you will not be admitted to a doctoral programme at the UvA.

Conditions of employment

We offer a temporary employment contract for the period of 48 months. The first contract will be for 16 months, with an extension for the following 32 months, contingent on a positive performance evaluation within the first 12 months. The employment contract is for 38 hours a week. The preferred starting date is 1 April 2023.

The gross monthly salary, based on 38 hours per week and relevant experience, ranges from € 2.541 up to a maximum of € 3.247. This sum does not include the 8% holiday allowance and the 8,3% year-end allowance. A favourable tax agreement, the '30% ruling', may apply to non-Dutch applicants. The Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universitiesis applicable.

What else do we offer
  • To participate in a consortium of internationally renowned scholars, and join a nationwide peer network, with many opportunities to engage and develop your career;
  • Being part of a state-of-the-art prestigious programme, innovative in focus and approach, which aspires to have impact in academia as well as society;
  • Benefit from a well-funded future-oriented training and development programme, including personal-professional development.
  • PhD candidates receive a tuition fee waiver;
  • PhD candidates have free access to courses offered by the Graduate School of Humanitiesand the Dutch National Research Schools;
  • excellent possibilities for further professional development and education;
  • an enthusiastic, inspiring and professional academic team.

Employer

Faculty of Humanities

The University of Amsterdamis the Netherlands' largest university, offering the widest range of academic programmes. At the UvA, 30,000 students, 6,000 staff members and 3,000 PhD candidates study and work in a diverse range of fields, connected by a culture of curiosity.

The Faculty of Humanitiesprovides education and conducts research with a strong international profile in a large number of disciplines in de field of language and culture. Located in the heart of Amsterdam, the faculty maintains close ties with many cultural institutes in the capital city. Research and teaching staff focus on interdisciplinary collaboration and are active in several teaching programmes.

Want to know more about our organisation? Read more about working atthe University of Amsterdam.

Any questions?

Do you have any questions or do you require additional information? Please contact:

Specifications

  • PhD
  • Behaviour and society
  • max. 38 hours per week
  • max. €3247 per month
  • Doctorate
  • 10885

Employer

University of Amsterdam (UvA)

Learn more about this employer

Location

Kloveniersburgwal 48, 1012CX, Amsterdam

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Application procedure

If you feel the profile fits you, and you are interested in the job, we look forward to receiving your application. You can apply online via the link below. The deadline for applying for this vacancy is 16 January 2023.

Applications should include the following information (submitted in one .pdf):
  • A letter of motivation.
  • A research proposal of 800-1000 words, showing how you would approach the project.
  • A full academic CV.
  • A list of all Master-level modules you have taken, with an official transcript of grades.
  • The names and contact details of two references, including your advisor, who may be approached by the selection committee.
Please use the reference Media_002 in your application. Only complete applications received within the response period via the link below will be considered. And please only apply for 1 position within the algosoc program. In case you are interested in multiple positions within this program, indicate this in your motivation letter by referring to the specific code of that vacancy. You can find an overview of all our vacancies within the algosoc program on www.algosocvacancies.org.

The interviews will be held in the course of February.

Application procedure

Application procedure

If you feel the profile fits you, and you are interested in the job, we look forward to receiving your application. You can apply online via the link below. The deadline for applying for this vacancy is 16 January 2023.

Applications should include the following information (submitted in one .pdf):
  • A letter of motivation.
  • A research proposal of 800-1000 words, showing how you would approach the project.
  • A full academic CV.
  • A list of all Master-level modules you have taken, with an official transcript of grades.
  • The names and contact details of two references, including your advisor, who may be approached by the selection committee.
Please use the reference Media_002 in your application. Only complete applications received within the response period via the link below will be considered. And please only apply for 1 position within the algosoc program. In case you are interested in multiple positions within this program, indicate this in your motivation letter by referring to the specific code of that vacancy. You can find an overview of all our vacancies within the algosoc program on www.algosocvacancies.org.

The interviews will be held in the course of February.

Make sure to apply no later than 16 Jan 2023 23:59 (Europe/Amsterdam).