About M-Scopes

M-Scopes – Mediated Significations of Finance is a collaborative research project focusing on the ways in which economic phenomena and mechanisms are visually reproduced in multimodal electronic news media.

Due to the recent economic turmoil, the need to understand and explain economic phenomena has become more pressing. However, perceiving and contextualizing the complex interactions of economic processes and mechanisms is challenging for both the news media and its audiences.

The M-Scopes project seeks to identify recent changes in multimodal representation and to demonstrate how new multimodal communication tools influence the visualization of the economy, and especially the news coverage of financial phenomena during the recent financial crisis.

The M-Scopes project was launched in January 2012 in collaboration with Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Department of Media, and Aalto University School of Economics, Department of Communication. The core of the project in 2012, was the M-Scopes Seminar, May 14–15, 2012 in Aalto Media Factory.

M-Scopes – Key issues

Our daily activities as workers, educators, consumers, and citizens are linked in complex ways to broader social, political, economic, and cultural systems and interactions. Similarly, any single news item or presentation in the media arguably refers to multi-layered and interlinked structures of actors, phenomena, measures and magnitudes, the interconnections of which are immensely difficult to reproduce, perceive and understand.

The M-Scopes project aims to develop new methods for multimodal communication and to explore possibilities to model and present information in new ways within contemporary interactive hypermedia. How to create coherent and structured presentations and interpretations of complex phenomena that are difficult for the traditional paper-based communication tools to grasp?

The main purpose of the pilot project is to produce theoretically interesting and practically relevant knowledge of the multimodal ways of signification, and of the potential and characteristics of different multimodal communication tools. The project will explore and apply new models, tools and methods to produce and publish multimodal information presentations as well as research findings on multimodal communication. The pilot project concentrates on the specific theme of economic data and financial news reporting.

Multimodal digital technologies seem to impact both the ontology of our perception and the way we communicate our findings and observations to others. Our objective is to perceive new features and produce useful knowledge concerning the field of multimodal sensemaking as well as sensegiving. Our M-Scopes pilot project is especially focused on multimodal sensegiving, the ways in which web-based tools contribute in reporting coherent interpretations of economic phenomena to wide audiences.

Keywords: News media, multimodality, finance and economics, orders of visual perception, narrativity, multimodal critical discourse analysis, semiotic modes and semantic interactions, agile methodologies, multidisciplinary approach.