Broadly speaking, my research focuses on the transformation of media industries, particularly at the intersection of organizations, institutions, and digital and social technologies. Specifically, I am interested in understanding the mechanisms of transformation that underlie changing processes of media production, consumption, and distribution. This work is grounded in key theories from communication, media studies, and management, providing a foundation for analyzing how media institutions, including both routinized practices as well as formal organizations, are impacted by digital and societal transformation. In sum, my research questions explore the factors that shape the overall functioning of media industries and the mechanisms via which these factors are constituted as institutions. I have adopted a multi-method approach to examining these phenomena. I use quantitative methods such as event history and social network analysis; however, I believe that the specific context of these processes is critical to the outcome. As such, I integrate qualitative methods, including semi-structured interviews and textual analysis, which allow me to better examine institutional change across media industries.
My research agenda is embodied by three key projects examining media industries: organizational and professional transformation, computational media, and audience analytics:
- Research in the area of organizational and professional transformation extends from my dissertation and focuses on understanding the ongoing transformation of news media organizations in response to the emergence of digital technologies. Foundational work in this area examines the professionalization of new job roles in news media through a mixed-method approach that combines quantitative industry data with newsroom manager perspectives to provide a comprehensive, multi-level understanding of how established organizations adapt to rapid development. More recently, I’ve expanded this body of work to focus on the challenges facing managers of news media organizations as they adapt to the organizational and professional complexities of this digital landscape. This area of work is supported by external grant funding from the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University, where I am a Knight News Innovation Fellow. My dissertation specifically was the recipient of the 2018 International Communication Association Journalism Studies Outstanding Dissertation award, and I am now in talks with several top academic publishers for a book based on this research.
- A secondary thread of my research agenda interrogates the evolving intersection of media and computer science. The first article produced from this research highlights the journalistic decisions made in code and the degree to which code and algorithms can filter and prioritize news; it contributes to the discussion surrounding the relationship between algorithmic and traditional news values. A second, forthcoming project studies the process by which local newsrooms in particular are developing news apps and other computationally based endeavors.
- My third research initiative focuses on the television industry and the development of social media-based analytics. The first article produced from this research presents a macroscopic view of the institutionalization of social television analytics as a supplemental currency fueling the television audience marketplace. The second article studies the impact of social television analytics on evolving conceptions of the audience and fandom. Together, these articles address the changes and challenges within television media fostered by an era of digital evolution.