Research Mission

In a nutshell, my research interests center around how the norms, practices and thoughts created in the profession of journalism interact with the new media environment. This relationship can be framed in two directions: how the profession of journalism impacts the new media environment and how the new media environment impacts the practice of journalism.

The digital revolution has released the barriers to publishing for the masses, but as Internet guru Jakob Nielsen points out in his book Web Usability, the ability to disseminate information does not necessarily bring with it the ability to communicate effectively. Nielsen proposes that now that the public has claimed the right to publish, the communication models developed by journalists are key to guiding the development of the new public discourse. Thus, I am extremely interested to examine whether or not this leadership is indeed taking place or if the public will instead develop new communication models previously absent from traditional communication theory.

Of particular interest to me is the other side of the equation, the impact of technological innovation on the norms and practices of journalism. Journalism by its very nature is a form of communication that requires technology, and my interests include how the formats and affordances of each communication medium has changed both the communication process itself and the ethical issues that surround it.

My initial focus is on the definition of the public and private sphere in mass communication practices. It is my assertion that the introduction of new communication media fundamentally shifts the way American society defines the distinction between public and private space.

Towards that understanding, my immediate plan is to map out the introduction of each major mass communication technology in America’s history and examine the impact on privacy discourse the affordances of the technology created. This historical research is the groundwork for my future inquiries into this area.