The purpose of the paper is to analyze articles from ten leading technology-focused media to distinguish key narratives of technological development. It argues that the media put forward ethical and political agendas. Another aim of the article is to deepen the reflection on the role of media sources in the processes of deep mediatization and the interpretive flexibility of technology.
To analyze the media sources, a mixed-methods approach was deployed, comprising text-mining tools (co-occurrence analysis, sentiment analysis) and qualitative analyses (sociology of knowledge approach to discourse, SKAD). The dataset comprised articles chosen on the basis of popularity (i.e., shares on Twitter). The qualitative analysis was conducted on 100 articles from these sources.
The key results are: 1) the fundamental dichotomy organizing the narratives is that of techno-optimism (concerning the potential of digital technologies) versus techno-skepticism (related to the human factor in realizing this potential), 2) the narrative understanding of tech development involves creating a more equitable, accessible, and sustainable digital world, and 3) the media act as brokers between tech giants, policymakers, and the public opinion, while influencing the debates on technological development.
The article’s originality pertains to 1) the inclusion of tech-oriented media in the reflections on deep mediatization and interpretive flexibility of technology, by showing how media contribute to the construction of social knowledge of technological development. 2) The mixed-methods design is an innovative methodological approach, which may inspire further studies on media discourses.