Florian Toepfl is co-author of a new article just published in the Journal of Communication. The paper is entitled: Public Spheres in Interaction: Comment Sections of News Websites as Counterpublic Spaces.
Abstract: Research scrutinizing political talk online has been developed largely against the backdrop of deliberative discursive norms and considered political talk without a systematic analysis of surrounding mass-mediated discourses. By contrast, this study operationalizes counterpublic theory as an alternative theoretical perspective and analyzes comments on news websites as a reaction to hegemonic mainstream public spheres. It juxtaposes a qualitative framing analysis of all articles about a new anti-Euro party in devotedly pro-European Germany published on 9 news websites in the week following the 2013 elections (n = 22) with a content analysis of all comments posted below these articles (n = 3,154). It finds counterpublic spheres differently shaped in comment sections of right- and left-leaning, and tabloid and nontabloid, outlets. Consequences for democracy are discussed.
Toepfl, F., & Piwoni, E. (2015). Public Spheres in Interaction: Comment Sections of News Websites as Counterpublic Spaces. Journal of Communication, 65(3), 465–488. http://doi.org/10.1111/jcom.12156