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An Actor-Network Analysis of NTU News E Forum
NTU News E Forum
On 18 March 2014, over a hundred students and members of civic groups gathered in front of the Legislative Yuan to protest against the review process of the Cross-Strait Agreement on Trade in Services. Subsequently, a portion of the protesters raided legislative chambers and proclaimed occupancy of the Legislative Yuan. The activists convened over the Internet, rallying more and more people to the Legislative Yuan to support their cause, consequently resulting in a 24-day protest called the “Sunflower Movement.” Social movements typically challenge mainstream values, and are therefore likely to be silenced or distorted by mainstream media. To break through such constraints, not only are social movement organizations required to propagate information independently, movements themselves rely on citizen journalism to voice ideology. Apace with the gradual simplification of technology, most people have the opportunity to become citizen journalists. During the Sunflower Movement, the cooperation of students from various schools and the collaboration of various internet technologies and services transformed the “NTU News E Forum,” which was originally used by the National Taiwan University Graduate Institute of Journalism as an online exchange platform, into a citizen journalism medium for reporting the movement scene in real-time. Although internet technologies are the foundation of citizen journalism media, the majority of previous studies employed instrumental perspectives to predefine citizen journalism media. Few studies have discussed the technical characteristics of internet technologies and how the life ambience created by such technologies influence human behavior. In the present study, the researchers cited the actor-network theory and society’s mutual constitution concepts in the development of an analysis framework, where the “NTU News E Forum” is deemed a human-nonhuman dynamic framework. The researchers reviewed the history of human-technology interaction in the attempt to propose an alternative approach to citizen journalism research, specifically, the influence of technologies beyond social factors. In terms of contemporary societies, which are closely connected to technologies, the proposed approach facilitates researchers in better understanding and improving the operations of citizen journalism.
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