Focus on... Antoine Machut and the FlexMediaLives project

on the May 17, 2021

Antoine Machut is post-doctorant at the Pacte Laboratory from Université Grenoble Alpes. He worked with the Grenoble Alpes Data Institute in 2018-2019 with the project FlexMediaLives. The aim is to provide new data and new analytical frameworks to understand the adjustments made by individuals throughout their careers in social worlds governed by flexible labor markets, such as those for journalists in the media.

Analyze of the labour market of journalists in the media of France, UK and Brazil

The journalists’ labor market is particularly interesting to this project because while they suffer from a high (and increasing) level of job uncertainty in most societies, journalists play an important role in democracies. Their social status is thus a very important public issue. This labor market will be analyzed from a comparative point of view contrasting the cases of France, the UK and Brazil.

Scripts to filter, clean and massively recode large volumes of data

This project has a very strong methodological dimension. It notably draws on the collection, coding and analysis of very large volumes of data drawn from public profiles of journalists and former journalists on the social and professional network LinkedIn.
In 2020, we finalised two large scripts enabling us to filter, clean and massively recode the data from more than 20,000 french LinkedIn profiles. We also proposed new ways to detect flexible forms of employment in journalistic careers. Using longitudinal analysis methods, we described the rise of these forms of flexibility in the careers of more than 11,000 French journalists. This work is currently the subject of an article in progress, from which the graph below is derived.

Tools, data and concepts for a broader comparative research in sociology

FlexMediaLives finally has a high potential for social impact because the practice of documenting one’s career online is spreading today. LinkedIn platform for instance claims 300 million users worldwide in 2014. More and more subfields of sociology should invest this new data source in the near future. However, the social sciences still have not very much considered these new practices and lack methodological tools, databases and concepts to do so. Our project aims at producing such tools, data and concepts in a very reflexive way that will constitute the first step of a broader comparative research and propose solutions to the methodological and ethical problems that such a comparative agenda will raise.

Published on May 17, 2021