Online comments under discussion at the Permanent Seminar of Media Literacy

João Gonçalves was the guest of the first Permanent Seminar of Media Literacy (2018 edition). The PhD in communication studies and researcher at CECS presented the work “Comments from readers about the media: a comparative study”, done in collaboration with Ivan Lacasa, Sara Pereira and Marisa Torres da Silva. João Gonçalves highlighted the characteristics of online news commentators of a Portuguese newspaper: they write negative reviews and pay more attention to photographs than their counterparts of Spanish, English and American sites.

“People talk to say bad things, mainly in Portugal,” he explained. The analysis focused on 3288 comments made in the comment boxes of four sites – Express, El Pais, The Guardian and the Washington Post. The selected comments were about media and their own performance, having been made in periods of popular consultations: presidential or legislative elections, in Portugal, Spain and United States of America, and in the referendum of the Brexit.

João Gonçalves highlighted the specificities of the Portuguese case: in addition to the predominance of a negative review, very focused on journalists while class, the photographs also generated several comments. “Some commentators did almost a semiotic analysis,” concluded the researcher.

João Gonçalves was at the University of Texas at Austin, the Center for Media Engagement, while visiting scholar, when he did this work.