Shaping Humanization and Hate
My research addresses journalism through the lens of technological change. Empirically, I seek to understand the forces shaping journalism and how journalists conceptualize them in relation to their work. I draw on media sociology in order to explore the norms and practices in journalism and the values that shape content in emerging technologies relevant to journalism (e.g. gaming technology, social media). My research program is motivated by a concern for how journalists navigate reporting on hate groups and the diversity groups targeted by hate groups, given that such narrative is material to creating an open and inclusive public sphere.
I study how use of new technologies, such as mobile media, social media and news gaming, influence the operation of journalistic roles and norms. My research has found that these tools allow journalists to act responsively to their audience, in ways that allow even the most traditional journalist to operate with norms that seem more akin to the expectations of a lifestyle journalist. My focus is news production, but I test my frameworks in specialized areas of social media and game production.
My research on representations of minority groups operates on the premise that those representations operate in a double-duty manner: they narrate the nature of the group to actors outside of the group and simultaneously help the group to understand how they are viewed. In my research, I have paid particular attention to gender, refugee, and religious groups. My research has also examined hate groups that work to shape the presentation of a group.
Studying both the news production and news representation is important, particularly given that news production is not the sole territory of journalists. The salience of this research is all the more important given the increasing prevalence of hate groups leveraging new technology and journalism in order to provide themselves a platform. Furthermore, new technology comes not only with opportunity but also consequences. In my research, journalists have proven enticed by the opportunities in audience engagement presented by gaming and social media. However, those technologies have consequences—predatory practices in gaming, trolling in sports media, the amplification of hate via social media—that journalists must navigate. Increasingly a social media audience engage in journalistic acts, and conducting media criticism when they see acts with which they disagree. Technologies change the nature of the representation of groups and groups themselves increasingly have their own means with which to add their own voice to the public sphere. The central focus of my research explores how journalism and new technologies intersect with the representations of difference.
For my most up-to-date research publications, please see my ResearchGate.