January 24 2018, 6:30-8:30pm, Centre for Social Innovation (Annex)
While many laud the benefit of digital technologies for the production of digital media—more access, more voices, more ways to tell a story, for example—paying attention to the experiences of workers in digital media demonstrates intensifying struggles underway. This talk presents research on digital journalists’ working conditions, both among self-employed/freelance journalists and those employed in digital-first news outlets. I attend to the social and power relations shaping the use of digital technologies and examine the implications for workers, including forced entrepreneurialism, low pay, exploitation of copyrights, overwork, automation, measurement and surveillance, and deepening inequalities based on gender and race. I examine various forms of collective organizing among digital media workers and discuss the challenges and opportunities they hold for democratizing digital media in contemporary capitalism.
Nicole Cohen is an assistant professor at the University of Toronto. She is the author of Writers’ Rights: Freelance Journalism in a Digital Age (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2016) and has published research on a range of issues in the political economy of communication, including social media, collective organizing and activism among media and cultural workers, and the transition to digital journalism. She is part of the international collaborative research project Cultural Workers Organize and is on the advisory boards of the Canadian Intern Association and Shameless magazine, a feminist magazine for teens.