Research group at imec & Vrije Universiteit Brussel


New publications by SMIT researchers (April 2023 – June 2023)

Between April 2023 and June 2023, imec-SMIT, VUB researchers have published several scientific articles. Read here the summary of these articles.


Journal of Service Management

Kim Willems, Nanouk Verhulst, Laurens De Gauquier and Malaika Brengman wrote an article titled ‘Frontline employee expectations on working with physical robots in retailing’ for the Journal of Service Management. This article examines how frontline employees expect physical service robots to impact job characteristics and affect their job engagement and well-being.


Digital Policy, Regulation and Governance

Natasja Van Buggenhout, Wendy Van den Broeck, Ine Van Zeeland and Jo Pierson wrote the article ‘Personal data and personalisation in media: experts’ perceptions of value, benefits and risks.’ for Digital Policy, Regulation and Governance. The authors explored personal data processing value for media, personalisation relevance, benefits and risks for users. The authors scrutinised the value exchange between media and users and determined whether media communicate transparently, or use “dark patterns” to obtain more personal data.


International Review on Public and Nonprofit Marketing

The article entitled ‘Social Markering and the Sustainable Development Goals: Scoping Review (2013-2021)’ of Ibe Delvaux and Wendy Van den Broeck for International Review on Public and Nonprofit Marketing mapped the social marketing literature from 2013 to 2021 while also aligning the SDGs and looking at the topical evolution. This study is relevant to social marketers because it is the first scoping review to map social marketing and the SDGs (2013–2021). It will guide future research and interventions to help achieve the SDGs on time.



Marlen Komorowski co-authored the article ‘Creative Hubs and Intercultural Dialogue – Towards a New Socio-Economic Narrative’ for Sustainability. This paper argues that creative hubs are enablers and curators of intercultural dialogue. Building upon an internationally funded project bringing together creative hubs from Turkey, Greece, Serbia and the UK, research was carried out through a survey analysis across these four countries with 98 creative hubs and four workshops in co-working spaces (involving 29 creative hub experts).


Public Service Media’s Contribution to Society

Tim Raats wrote a book chapter entitled ‘Public Service media caught between public and market objectives – the case of the “Flemish Netflix”‘ for Public Service Media’s Contribution to Society. He discusses the case of Streamz, a video-on-demand service launched in Flanders that positions itself as the Flemish alternative to Netflix. The chapter discusses the ambiguous connection to VRT, the Flemish public broadcaster, which first supported the platforms and would join the project, and later refrained from doing so due to various reasons. The case study shows the difficulties for Public broadcasters today in balancing their own digital ambitions and need to reach all, and especially young people, and at the same time reach out and partner up with other media players to sustain domestic audiovisual ecosystems.



Ruben Vandenplas and Ike Picone wrote the articleCoping with Covid: Exploring reconfigurations of Flemish news repertoires in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic for Poetics. By comparing data from a Latent Class Analysis of news repertoires using the Digital News Report 2020 and 2021, this paper contributes to extant knowledge of the pandemic’s impact on news use in Flanders. The authors find that users were significantly more likely to adopt Casual rather than Limited news repertoires in 2021, pointing to a potential growth in news habits of users with a previously limited repertoire.


European Audiovisual Policy in Transition

Heritiana Ranaivoson, Sally Broughton Micova and Tim Raats edited the book ‘European Audiovisual Policy in Transition’, published by Routledge? This book describes and critically addresses the innovations and shifts made in the revision of the Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMSD) adopted by the European Parliament and Council in 2018. Reflecting on European Union regulation and policy practice in all its Member States, the book’s unique approach places in-depth case study topics against the broader theoretical background.


Journalistic reporting on artificial intelligence

Frederic Heymans wrote a book chapter entitled ‘Reporting on artificial intelligence: a handbook for journalism educators’, published by Unesco. This handbook provides insight and expertise on reporting about the rise and control of artificial intelligence (AI). It aims to empower journalism educators in helping both students and working journalists understand and cover AI’s implications in society. The handbook covers topics such as understanding different types of AI, exploring its potential and weaknesses, mediating AI discourse, reporting on AI in a nuanced and accountable manner, and integrating AI into existing genres of journalism.


Media and Communication

Heritiana Ranaivoson and Nino Domazetovikj wrote the article ‘Platforms and Exposure Diversity: Towards a Framework to Assess Policies to Promote Exposure Diversity‘ for Media and Communication. Although there is a growing literature addressing how to define media diversity in the context of the challenges posed by platformisation, this article translates the normative dimensions into a framework for operationalising exposure diversity into a tangible policy goal, taking into account datafication and its consequences in terms of increasing data requirements towards platforms. The framework is composed of four key features: measures (type of initiative), metrics (quantifying exposure diversity), data collection methods, and data requirements. The authors applied this framework to a set of 13 initiatives and find that policy initiatives can benefit from adopting metrics based on distances and experimenting with data collection methods.


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