Encouraging scholars to ‘speak truth to power:’ Political Communication Chief Editor Piers Robinson on open access and democratizing academia

The new Frontiers in Communication section seeks to understand the way we communicate about politics in the 21st century.

The new Frontiers in Communication section seeks to understand the changing way we communicate about politics. 

“Fake news.” The phrase, subject to mockery in 2016, has crept its way into common usage on social media, news articles — and is even now uttered from the mouths of reporters. Did we merely accept the phrase, or did its reinforced use challenge us to confront the issue of deception in news media? Furthermore, are we — or should we be — surprised that we debate and discuss key political changes in 280 characters, punctuated with the authority of a trending hashtag, #TrumpKimSummit #cambridgeanalytica #Brexit to name but a few?

Piers Robinson, Chief Editor of the Political Communication section of Frontiers in CommunicationUnderstanding the way we communicate about politics in the 21st century is integral to exploring our relationship with our changing world. To facilitate new research in this key field, Frontiers in Communication welcomes Professor Piers Robinson from the University of Sheffield, UK, as Chief Editor for its new Political Communication specialty section.

“For me, studying political communication ultimately is about making society better through enabling democracy and helping to empower people, through knowledge, so that they themselves can actively engage in the political process,” says Prof. Robinson.

A leader in the field of political communication, propaganda and deception in contemporary liberal democracies, Prof. Robinson adds that techniques designed to manipulate beliefs and behaviors are growing ever more sophisticated, especially with the internet and rise of ‘digital propaganda’. The discipline, he advises, needs to address these issues in a way that really does ‘speak truth to power,’ and holds those in power to account.

“There is a saying that the role of a journalist is to ‘comfort the afflicted and to afflict the comfortable;’ I think that this is a mantra academics should also live by.”

Prof. Robinson has brought together an exceptional board of Associate Editors, with the aim of jointly developing a forum for innovative scholarship and enabling critical and progressive research. All articles published within Political Communication will be open-access, free to read for people across the world.

“I strongly believe that people possess the intelligence and skills to read, understand and contribute to academic debate,” he says. “We, as academics, should not be shy about taking our material out in to the public realm. Open access helps us to do that. It helps to democratize academia and empowers citizens through knowledge.”

Political Communication welcomes high-quality article submissions and Research Topic proposals.

Please contact the editorial office via communication.topics@frontiersin.org if you are interested in hosting a special issue on:

  • Fake news, Truth and Deception
  • Propaganda and Organized Persuasive Communication
  • Media and Climate Change

Follow us at @FrontiersComm for the latest open-access communication research.

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