New project: SUPERB to promote forest restoration and adaptation across Europe

I’ll be part of a new research project on forest restoration and adaptation, led by the European Forest Institute and funded under the European Union’s H2020 programme.

Together with Jonathan Gray, I’ll co-lead a team at the Department of Digital Humanities, King’s College London exploring how humanities-based digital methods can be used to understand forest issues and to explore engagement around reforestation. Our contributions will draw on and be developed in conversation with work in science and technology studies and internet studies.

You can find more about the project here and an excerpt from the press release is copied below.

Imagine you were a bird flying over Europe. You would see cities and villages, rivers, agricultural landscape, and forests covering almost one-third of Europe. You will distinguish many different types of trees: dark green or more reddish, straight, and tall, wide and crooked or small and slender, with many different shapes of leaves or needles. While flying over Europe, you would also encounter damaged forest areas, burned down by the fire, or destroyed by bark beetles; and tree leaves affected by air pollution and herbivorous pests, or turning yellow and brown from a drought. These disturbances overall are becoming more frequent and severe, be it due to various short-sighted human interventions or ongoing climate change. Luckily, it is not all bad news. From the air, you would also see people working in these damaged forests, planting, or seeding new trees, or protecting the naturally regenerating forest against grazing. You would discover people preserving surviving old trees or even the deadwood, because these people have understood how valuable they are for a functioning ecosystem. If done right and with some luck, a diverse and healthy forest will again develop, which will be roamed once more by the many forest creatures.

While there is a widespread awareness of the urgency to conserve and restore biodiversity and halt climate change, in fact much more actions are needed on the ground to ensure long-term thriving of forests in Europe. A series of political commitments at the European level are already in place, including the 2019 European Green Deal, the 2020 EU Biodiversity Strategy and EU Forest Strategy 2030. Yet, in many places a transformative change is still needed on the ground.

From challenges to opportunities

This is why we are launching “Systemic solutions for upscaling of urgent ecosystem restoration for forest-related biodiversity and ecosystem services” (SUPERB). This four-year project is conducted by a consortium of 36 science and practice partners from all over Europe, and led by European Forest Institute. SUPERB is further supported by at least 90 regional to international associate project partners, all having a strong ties to the management and protection of European forest landscapes (e.g. agricultural and nature protection ministries and government agencies from over 20 European countries, landowner associations, certifiers, funders, NGOs etc.). Starting in December 2021, SUPERB aims to restore our forest landscape by creating an enabling environment for implementation of forest restoration and adaptation at different scales. 

SUPERB will build on the vast but scattered practical knowledge and lessons learned of successful and non-successful forest restoration and adaptation activities and synthesise it for action. We will connect with restoration experts, including from LIFE projects and practitioners with decades of experiences with alternative management approaches. This practical knowledge will be underpinned by a compilation of highly relevant scientific knowledge including economic, governance, forest management, and climate change adaptation aspects of restoration. At the core of SUPERB, concrete restoration actions will be carried out in 12 large-scale demonstration areas, located in 13 different countries. These demo areas not only represent the diversity of stressors on European forests and the wide range of necessary restoration actions, but also, consider the whole socio-ecological system including people’s manyfold needs for ecosystem goods and services.

By taking a comprehensive and multidisciplinary approach, we will translate all practical and scientific knowledge on successful restoration into restoration-support guidelines, recommendations, and tools, that will be easily accessible on the stakeholder-targeted online Forest Ecosystem Restoration Gateway.

Further information:

The consortium of SUPERB  consists of the following organizations:
Wageningen Research, Prospex Institute, Albert-Ludwigs University Freiburg, Austrian Research Centre for Forests, Bangor University, Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape, University of Copenhagen, National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food and Environment, Spanish National Institute for Agriculture and Food Research and Technology, Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich, Land Life Company, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Forest Sciences Center of Catalonia, University of Kent, Croatian Forest Research Institute, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, University of Florence, King’s College London, University of Milan, Bosgroep zuid, Czech University of Life Sciences Prague, Forest Research, University of Novi Sad, Institute of Lowland Forestry and Environment, Cesefor, University of Belgrade, University of Lancaster, Institut Européen de la Forêt Cultivée, Fundatia Conservation Carpathia, University of Molise, County Administrative Board of Västerbotten (V-J) for Vindelälven-Juhttátahkka UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, Landesbetrieb Wald und Holz NRW, Alliance Forêts Bois, Parco Nord Milano, Junta de Castilla y León, Danish Nature Agency

SUPERB is funded by Horizon 2020 through Grant Agreement 101036849, and receives 20 Million Euro for the implementation period between 2021-2025.

Photo: Demo area in Carpathian mountains, Romania (@Martin Mikoláš).

New edition of Data Journalism Handbook now open access with Amsterdam University Press

Today The Data Journalism Handbook: Towards a Critical Data Practice (which I co-edited with Jonathan Gray) is published on Amsterdam University Press. It is published as part of a new book series on Digital Studies which is also being launched today. You can find the book here, including an open access version: http://bit.ly/data-journalism-handbook-2

The book provides a wide-ranging collection of perspectives on how data journalism is done around the world. It is published a decade after the first edition (available in 14 languages) began life as a collaborative draft at the Mozilla Festival 2011 in London.

Book sprint at MozFest 2011 for first edition of Data Journalism Handbook.

The new edition, with 54 chapters from 74 leading researchers and practitioners of data journalism, gives a “behind the scenes” look at the social lives of datasets, data infrastructures, and data stories in newsrooms, media organizations, startups, civil society organizations and beyond.

The book includes chapters by leading researchers around the world and from practitioners at organisations including Al Jazeera, BBC, BuzzFeed News, Der Spiegel, eldiario.es, The Engine Room, Global Witness, Google News Lab, Guardian, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), La Nacion, NOS, OjoPúblico, Rappler, United Nations Development Programme and the Washington Post.

An online preview of various chapters from book was launched in collaboration with the European Journalism Centre and the Google News Initiative and can be found here.

The book draws on over a decade of professional and academic experience engaging with the field of data journalism, including through my role as Data Journalism Programme Lead at the European Journalism Centre; my research on data journalism with the Digital Methods Initiative; my PhD research on “news devices” at the universities of Groningen and Ghent; and my research, teaching and collaborations around data journalism at the Department of Digital Humanities at King’s College London.

Further background about the book can be found in our introduction. Following is the full table of contents and some quotes about the book. We’ll be organising various activities around the book in coming months, which you can follow with the #ddjbook hashtag on Twitter.

If you adopt the book for a class we’d love to hear from you so we can keep track of how it is being used (and also update this list of data journalism courses and programmes around the world) and to inform future activities in this area. Hope you enjoy it!

Continue reading “New edition of Data Journalism Handbook now open access with Amsterdam University Press”

New Article: “‘We only have 12 years’: YouTube and the IPCC report on global warming of 1.5ºC” in First Monday

I’ve just published a new article titled “’We only have 12 years: YouTube and the IPCC report on global warming of 1.5ºC” in First Monday with Kari De Pryck (University of Geneva / University of Cambridge), Tommaso Venturini (CNRS) and Michele Mauri (DensityDesign Lab, Politecnico di Milano). The article is open access and available here. The abstract is copied below, along with a selection of the exploratory visualisations from the analysis.

“We only have 12 years”: YouTube and the IPCC report on global warming of 1.5ºC

This article contributes to the study of climate debates online by examining how the IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C (SR15) played out on YouTube following its release in October 2018. We examined features of 40 videos that ranked the highest in YouTube’s search engine over the course of four weeks after the publication of the report. Additionally, this study examines the shifting visibility of the videos, the nature of the channels that published them and the way in which they articulated the issue of climate change. We found that media activity around SR15 was animated by a mix of professional and user-led channels, with the former enjoying higher and more stable visibility in YouTube ranking. We identified four main recurrent themes: disaster and impacts, policy options and solutions, political and ideological struggles around climate change and contested science. The discussion of policy options and solutions was particularly prominent. Critiques of the SR15 report took different forms: as well as denialist videos which downplayed the severity of climate change, there were also several clips which criticized the report for underestimating the extent of warming or overestimating the feasibility of proposed policies.


Lecturer in Digital Methods, Department of Digital Humanities, King’s College London

I’ve recently been appointed to a new role as Lecturer in Digital Methods at the Department of Digital Humanities, King’s College London. The department is a world-leading centre for “critical inquiry with and about the digital”, with staff research interests in science and technology studies, internet studies, the politics of platforms and AI, global digital cultures, digital economy, digital innovation, cultural heritage, game studies and other fields.

As well as continuing my research on digital culture, digital journalism, data journalism and digital methods, I’ll be working on several new projects with the Public Data Lab, as well as collaborations with Noortje Marres (on “Tracing Public Facts”), Wendy Chun (on “Beyond Verification: Authenticity and the Spread of Misinformation”), Kari De Pryck (on climate politics) and Rina Tsubaki (on forests in society, with the European Forest Institute). There will be a few other activities building on the new edition of the Data Journalism Handbook (forthcoming, Amsterdam University Press) and the Field Guide to “Fake News”.

For my teaching I’m convening and contributing to modules on:

I’m joining the department as part of a group of newly hired researchers in associated fields, whom you can find more about here.

Postdoctoral Research Fellowship at the University of Oxford

I’ve recently started a postdoctoral research fellowship at the University of Oxford, where I’ll be affiliated with the Oxford Internet Institute and the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism. I’m joining a research team on the Misinformation, Science and Media project which is led by Philip Howard and Rasmus Nielsen. The project investigates the implications of misinformation campaigns online on the public understanding of techno-scientific issues.

My contribution to the project will focus on knowledge cultures that emerge online around climate science and policy. A particular focus area will be recent concerns about problematic information, junk news and misinformation online, and responses to these.

Continue reading “Postdoctoral Research Fellowship at the University of Oxford”

Release of A Field Guide to “Fake News” and Other Information Disorders (Final Version)

Today sees the launch of A Field Guide to “Fake News and Other Information Disorders, a new free and open access resource to help students, journalists and researchers investigate misleading content, memes, trolling and other phenomena associated with recent debates around “fake news”.

The field guide responds to an increasing demand for understanding the interplay between digital platforms, misleading information, propaganda and viral content practices, and their influence on politics and public life in democratic societies.

It contains methods and recipes for tracing trolling practices, the publics and modes of circulation of viral news and memes online, and the commercial underpinnings of this content. The guide aims to be an accessible learning resource for digitally-savvy students, journalists and researchers interested in this topic. Continue reading “Release of A Field Guide to “Fake News” and Other Information Disorders (Final Version)”

New Edition of Data Journalism Handbook to Explore Journalistic Interventions in the Data Society

The first edition of The Data Journalism Handbook has been widely used and widely cited by students, practitioners and researchers alike, serving as both textbook and sourcebook for an emerging field. It has been translated into over 12 languages – including Arabic, Chinese, Czech, French, Georgian, Greek, Italian, Macedonian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Ukrainian – and is used for teaching at many leading universities, as well as teaching and training centres around the world.

Continue reading “New Edition of Data Journalism Handbook to Explore Journalistic Interventions in the Data Society”

Talk on Fake News in Digital Culture at the 2017 Institute for Policy Research Symposium

Last week I gave a talk at the ‘Politics, Fake News and the Post-Truth Era’ symposium organised by the Institute for Policy Research at the University of Bath. I presented some of the work that myself and several other colleagues from the Public Data Lab, a network of researchers working to facilitate research, engagement and public debate around the future of the data society, have done on fake news this year. 

I focused on two publications we produced this year:

A Field Guide to Fake News – a research report that uses digital sociology approaches to explore the production, circulation and responses to fake news online. This is done in the form of recipes which other journalists and researchers can follow and adapt to their own investigations. You can see here the outcomes of a collaboration we had with BuzzFeed News around one of the recipes to explore ad networks used by fake news sites. 

Five Provocations about Fake News – a research article that draws on Science and Technology Studies (STS) to challenge some of the themes that underlie existing debates and research about fake news and proposes some provocations and analytical lenses to enrich the way we understand it.

Continue reading “Talk on Fake News in Digital Culture at the 2017 Institute for Policy Research Symposium”

Launch of A Field Guide to Fake News at the International Journalism Festival in Italy

Today saw the launch of A Field Guide to Fake News, a set of methodological recipes to explore the production, circulation and reception of fake news online. The field guide is the first project of the Public Data Lab, a new network of researchers working to facilitate research, engagement and public debate around the future of the data society. Claire Wardle of First Draft has been very supportive of the project from the very beginning and the field guide is produced in collaboration with First Draft

The project was born out of an interest in “post-truth” politics and the rise of debates around fake news in relation to the US elections. The project is the result of a three-month collaboration between over 60 researchers, graduates and students at several universities in Europe through a series of “data sprints”. The data sprint is a short-form hands-on working format that convenes for a week participants from different backgrounds, including new media researchers, designers and issue experts, to collaborate around research projects. So far we’ve had sprints in Amsterdam, London, Copenhagen and Milan. We used this process to allow us to produce research that can respond in a timely way to a rapidly evolving phenomenon – as well as involving journalists, civil society groups, public institutions and others in the rapid co-production of research methods which speak to their interests and needs – while in the process challenging and enriching all of our different ways of seeing the issue.

Continue reading “Launch of A Field Guide to Fake News at the International Journalism Festival in Italy”

Nieman Lab Article on Fake News in the Digital Age

Nieman Lab published today an article that Jonathan Gray, Tommaso Venturini and I wrote about fake news in the digital age. In this article we argue that fake news encapsulates key aspects of our digital environments and cultures and hence that it can be taken as an opportunity to learn not just about misinformation but, more importantly for us as new media researchers, about the digital arrangements that make such phenomena possible.

The article discusses some insights from A Field Guide to Fake News, a collection of recipes for tracing the production, circulation and reception of fake news online which will be launched at the International Journalism Festival in Perugia tomorrow.

Continue reading “Nieman Lab Article on Fake News in the Digital Age”