Postdoctoral position in fact-checking, facts and truth in political debate
The Department of Communication, Faculty of Humanities, University of Copenhagen (UCPH), Denmark, invites applications for a postdoctoral position associated with the Carlsberg funded project “Tell Me the Truth: Fact-Checkers in an Age of Epistemic Instability” (The TMT project) to be filled by February 1, 2023, or as soon as possible thereafter. The position is for 2 years and 6 months.
The TMT project investigates questions of facts and truths in political debate and focuses primarily on the practice and role of journalistic fact-checkers. The project understands the establishment of facts as a fundamentally rhetorical practice where people argue for and try to gain support for their way of understanding and conveying the truth. Moreover, the project highlights that this happens in a world where traditional authorities and institutions are severely challenged, while, at the same time, the rise of the internet, social media, algorithms, AI, and machine learning are fundamentally reshaping media and politics, making it possible for new types of actors to gain power in a hybrid media system. In this, fact-checkers unquestionably play a central role, but – as the TMT project argues – not as objective truth-tellers, but as an integrated part of the argumentative process over truth.
The TMT project contains four subprojects asking different but related questions about journalistic fact-checking and the development of this practice. The project description sets a clear framework within which all subprojects must be further developed. The subproject for which the postdoc is responsible takes a comparative perspective on fact-checking and investigates how different media systems and political systems form, change and challenge the fact-checking practice. Suggested methods are fieldwork, qualitative interviews, and text analysis (both quantitative content analysis and qualitative text analysis) but the selection and combination of specific methods depends on further development of the subproject’s research question and overall research design.
A short version of the project description can be found here: https://www.carlsbergfondet.dk/da/Bevillingshaver/Formidling/Bevillingsoversigt /CF21_0456_Mette-Bengtsson). The full project description, including a description of all four subprojects, can be forwarded upon request (email@example.com).
The ideal candidate is:
- An excellent scholar of rhetoric, media studies or journalism studies
- Experienced in theories relevant for the project, e.g., theories of public controversies and mediated political debate, journalistic news values, roles and media systems, and the use of algorithms, AI, and machine learning in a hybrid media system
- Experienced in methods for collecting and analyzing material relevant for the subproject, e.g., fieldwork in news organizations (newsroom studies), qualitative interviews, and qualitative and quantitative text analysis
- Interested in fact-checking as journalistic practice
- Expected to independently develop the subproject within the framework of the overall project, including a timeline illustrating the feasibility of the subproject
- Reflecting on possible international exchange and collaboration during the project period.
The successful candidate will work in close collaboration with the project leader, Associate professor Mette Bengtsson, and the other members of the TMT project group at the University of Copenhagen. The successful candidate will be employed at The Section of Rhetoric with the opportunity of being part of The Rhetoric research group or other relevant research groups at the department.
To be considered for the position, applicants must have research qualifications at least corresponding to what can be achieved as part of a successfully completed PhD within a relevant field, e.g., rhetoric, media studies, journalism studies or related fields.
For further details about the qualification requirements for postdocs, please refer to the job structure for Academic Staff at Universities 2013: https://ufm.dk/en/legislation/prevailing-laws-and-regulations/education/files/job-structure-for-academic-staff-at-universities-2013.pdf
For further information about the position, please contact Associate professor Mette Bengtsson, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Submit the application online in Adobe PDF or Word format.
Please click on the “Apply now” icon at the bottom of this page.
The application must be written in English and include the following enclosures:
- Application letter/cover letter (max 1 page)
- Curriculum vitae (with applicant’s e-mail & telephone number)
- Documentation of qualifications (examination certificates/PhD diploma, etc.)
- Complete and numbered list of publications. The enclosed publications must be marked with *
- Research plan and project description, including a short description of previous research and a plan for the development of the subproject for which the postdoc is responsible in the TMT project (max 5 pages)
- Documentation of research dissemination, if any
- Publications. Applicants may choose a maximum of three publications for assessment. Publication dates must be clearly marked on the publication list. The publications selected must be uploaded as attachments and listed from 1 to 3.
Should any material submitted consist of work with named co-authors, or work that is otherwise the result of collective academic endeavours, the extent of the applicant’s contribution to the work must be clearly stipulated. The faculty may ask for a signed statement from the co-authors stipulating the extent and nature of each individual’s contribution.
Only material in Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, and English can be expected to be assessed.
After the application deadline, the Head of Department selects applicants for assessment on the advice of the appointment committee. All applicants are notified whether their application has been accepted for assessment. The Dean subsequently appoints an expert assessment committee tasked with carrying out an assessment of the selected applicants for the specific post. Selected applicants are notified of the composition of the committee. Applicants are ultimately offered the opportunity of commenting on the part of the assessment relating to themselves before the appointment is finalized.
Further information about the application procedure is available from HR Søndre City, e-mail: email@example.com. Please refer to ID number 211-1121/22-2I.
Salary and conditions of employment
Terms of appointment and salary will be in accordance with an agreement between the Ministry of Finance and The Danish Confederation of Professional Associations (AC). The salary range starts at DKK 35,600, (app. EUR 4,780) + a 17,1 % contribution to the pension scheme. It is possible to negotiate salary supplements on an annual basis.
The Danish Ministry of Finance and the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations (AC) have further agreed on a protocol that makes it possible for international researchers employed by the University to achieve a pension exemption, whereby the pension contribution will be paid out as salary. For more information about the different pension schemes, please read more here: https://ism.ku.dk/salary-tax-pension/pension/
If you consider applying from abroad, you may find useful information on how it is to work in Denmark and at UCPH here : http://ism.ku.dk, http://www.nyidanmark.dk/en-us/frontpage.htm and https://www.workindenmark.dk/
UCPH wishes to encourage everyone interested in this post to apply, regardless of personal background.
The closing date for applications is 11:59 PM 30 September 2022 CET.
Applications or supplementary material received thereafter will not be considered.
Part of the International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU), and among Europe’s top-ranking universities, the University of Copenhagen promotes research and teaching of the highest international standard. Rich in tradition and modern in outlook, the University gives students and staff the opportunity to cultivate their talent in an ambitious and informal environment. An effective organisation – with good working conditions and a collaborative work culture – creates the ideal framework for a successful academic career.