Digital Surveillance in the Attention Economy

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Paul C. Adams

Journalism is caught at the intersection of two increasingly important economies: the attention economy and the surveillance economy.

These economies involve investments of time, money, and energy with the purpose of maintaining audience attention and perpetually fine-tuning it through digital surveillance techniques. Such tactics seem like a natural response to the shifting market for news. They also seem to deliver audience members more of what they want and foster their participation in the curation and circulation of news. However, using digital surveillance to cultivate attention raises ethical and political issues indicated, in part, by ominous political trends in the United States and in Europe. This talk offers a cautionary and critical response to the capture of data about news audiences and how they engage with online content.


Sara Pedersen Stene