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Legacy media and the weaponization of news events. A computational study of the Lola case

Antoine Machut, Béatrice Mazoyer and Sylvain Parasie will be presenting their computational study of the Lola case at the médialab seminar.

Event, Research Seminar

Salle K.008, 1 Place St-Thomas d'Aquin, 75007 Paris


"Our research explores the role played by legacy media in situations, now pervasive, when far-right groups highly politicize a news event. We aim to empirically assess whether and how legacy media mitigate the harmful effects of weaponizing news events. To do so, we have developed a computational method to capture the public discussion that took place in France around one single event – the murder of a 12-year-old girl by an Algerian woman in Paris in October 2022. This method, which applies an event identification algorithm to a vast corpus of Twitter data, has enabled us to reconstruct the dynamics of discussions held in various arenas (the press, broadcast media, the National Assembly, and social media) to an unprecedented degree of detail. This article’s main argument is that legacy media play a significant role in regulating the weaponization of news events. First, it shows that the legacy media retain extensive control over the facts discussed around the event. Second, our analysis shows that legacy media shape the public debate on Twitter by questioning the event’s politicization process."


Antoine Machut is a post-doctoral student in sociology at Sciences Po. He joined the médialab as part of the Medialex project, which focuses on the effects of the digital transformation of public space on the dynamics of emergence, imposition and circulation of themes in this space.

Béatrice Mazoyer is a research engineer at médialab. Her research focuses on the circulation of information between social networks and traditional media, using natural language processing and data mining methods.

Sylvain Parasie is Professor of Sociology at Sciences Po and Director of the médialab. Since 2010, his work has focused on how digital technologies are transforming ways of informing, debating and engaging in public space. He is particularly interested in how data is displacing established ways of producing and consuming journalistic information, in the United States and France. His research also focuses on digital survey methods.

Practical info

The seminar will be held on the Sciences Po campus, located 1 place Saint Thomas d'Acquin (Room K008), 75007 Paris.

Mandatory registration.