WTG Policymaking & Science of Communication

With funding from the William T. Grant foundation, we are working to explore the interconnection between information ecosystems, policymaking processes and the science of communication. The first round of research extending from this work focused on federal policymaking processes to curtail childhood obesity (details can be found here) and we are in the process of launching a second round of research looking at state and community level policymaking.

See this presentation from the 2019 Academy Health Dissemination & Implementation conference for a brief overview of the focal networks methods used in this project.

News Media Ecosystems

This body of research focuses on mapping and analyzing community information ecosystems with the goal of understanding how the critical information within communities is evolving in the U.S. as media organizations respond to and engage with new information community technology. As part of this research, I am leading a national assessment of the depth of information and news available in a sample of 100 US communities; this includes work looking at the connection between newsroom technology and local newsrooms, as well as the impact of community demographics. Additional aspects of this research consider the effect of social media and mobile platforms on the breadth and depth of local news reporting and distribution. You can find a white paper from this research looking at information sharing on Facebook here, and a broader overview paper here.

Organizational Change & Technology

I strive to provide a deeper understanding of the impact of new ICTs on organizing processes that are critical to the way information is communicated in society. This work focuses on examining the impact that new ICTs have had on local news ecosystems, as well as the impact new ICTs have on the news ecosystems of policymakers. These two critical information ecosystems have been disrupted by new ICTs such as mobile Web platforms and social media. This work is helping scholars and practitioners to understand how these ecosystems are changing so that they can better confront the challenges and opportunities these changes present. 

Methods for Study Algorithms & Knowledge

I am leading the development of new methods for studying the evolution of information and knowledge flows amongst digital information sources, focusing specifically on news media organizations. This work is also helping to develop new approaches for studying the impact of algorithms of information sharing and access. The tools that I have developed can leverage high-performance computing and advances in parallel programming languages (e.g. Scala and Spark) to enhance access to digital data sources such as the Internet Archive. This body of work emphasizes researchers’ ability to access digital trace data, including social media, for research purposes. This work was funded, in part, through grants from the National Science Foundation.