investigating the nature of fact in the digital age

About [post]fact:

Welcome to my occasional blog.

I plan to use this space to document the process and experience of working towards my PhD. I’ll post separately to introduce my areas of interest and research (UPDATE: Posted. See “My research”).

This blog used to be called au/cre/trus, which was meant to suggest that it has something to do with changing notions of authority, credibility and trust in media, as affected by the rise of the connected digital world. But that was a clumsy-off-the-tongue made-up name. So it’s gone (but the tag remains).

The best summary of my research purpose is the line in tiny writing at the very bottom of each page on this site: “Investigating the credibility of information in the digital age.” I’d prefer to have that as a kicker under the title of the blog, at the top, but I’m still learning how to drive this thing.

I hope to post here about a bunch of disparate stuff: my research directions; random thoughts about things I’m reading; frustrations with the research process/work-life-STUDY imbalance; musings about research itself; clippings from the media that amuse/enrage/make an interesting/pertinent point. I might even post a limerick now and then to break up the mood. Here’s one I just made up:

A clever young student named Jack

Piled his research in one mighty stack.

It towered so high

He quietly sighed

And gave it all up to become a day trader so he could earn a decent living instead of trying to survive on scholarships and charity handouts.

OK, maybe no more limericks.

My first posts (“On Research” and “My life as a journalist: a confession”) come from a reflective diary assignment I wrote last year for a Master of Communication course I did at RMIT. The pieces are an insight into where I stand on the practice of research at the moment (including a few jokes); I expect my position to evolve as the PhD journey proceeds.

I’ve added a page of quotes about fact, truth and bias, from Doctor Who to Nietzsche, Futurama to Winston Churchill. If you can point me to more, please share.

I’ll also post some of the articles I wrote while technology editor at The Age. They’re not academic pieces by any stretch, but they received positive responses when published and give some insight into my areas of interest. Note the thread of neuropsychology that runs through them – this theme shapes much of what interests me about media, and how they, in turn, affect society and behaviour, from political action to the rise of conspiracy theories. (If you’re interested in neuroscience, check out BrainyBits, my daily newsletter on that subject.)

So, again: welcome to [post]fact. Tell your friends. Come back soon. Give feedback. Make suggestions.

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