Seth C. Lewis

Seth C. Lewis
University of Oregon | UO · School of Journalism and Communication

PhD

About

107
Publications
67,852
Reads
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6,749
Citations
Citations since 2017
59 Research Items
5070 Citations
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Introduction
Seth C. Lewis, Ph.D., is Professor and Shirley Papé Chair in Emerging Media in the School of Journalism and Communication at the University of Oregon. His award-winning research explores the digital transformation of journalism, with a focus on human–technology interactions and media innovation processes associated with data, code, analytics, social media, and more. He is co-editor of Boundaries of Journalism: Professionalism, Practices, and Participation (Routledge, 2015).
Additional affiliations
July 2015 - present
University of Minnesota Twin Cities
Position
  • Professor (Associate)
Description
  • I am Associate Professor and Mitchell V. Charnley Faculty Fellow in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication.
August 2010 - June 2015
University of Minnesota Twin Cities
Position
  • Professor (Assistant)
August 2008 - August 2010
University of Texas at Austin
Position
  • Assistant Instructor

Publications

Publications (107)
Article
Full-text available
Big data is a social, cultural, and technological phenomenon—a complex amalgamation of digital data abundance, emerging analytic techniques, mythology about data-driven insights, and growing critique about the overall consequences of big-data practices for democracy and society. While media and communication scholars have begun to examine and theor...
Article
Full-text available
In contemporary journalism, there is a need for better conceptualizing the changing nature of human actors, nonhuman technological actants, and diverse representations of audiences—and the activities of news production, distribution, and interpretation through which actors, actants, and audiences are inter-related. This article explicates each of t...
Article
Full-text available
In the contemporary media environment, media managers have been forced to reassess everything from editorial workflows to business models to technological platforms. Amid such challenges, legacy news media are encouraged to innovate. Contemporary scholarly literature on media innovation typically adopts a relatively narrow approach when defining an...
Article
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Amid growing difficulties for professionals generally, media workers in particular are negotiating the increasingly contested boundary space between producers and users in the digital environment. This article, based on a review of the academic literature, explores that larger tension transforming the creative industries by extrapolating from the c...
Article
This mixed-methods study introduces the concept of journalistic visibility and examines its implications. Drawing on diverse approaches for understanding the challenges of visibility labor and personal branding, and applying them to assessing the impact of routinized practices that can make journalists “local celebrities” in their communities, we e...
Article
Sharing is a central activity on social media platforms and a key component in crafting one’s self-presentation online. In the context of news, user-driven sharing is seen as vital to the success of digital journalism. While research has examined why people choose to share news online, much less is known about non-sharing—that is, why people may be...
Article
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This article introduces the Generative Dialogue Framework (GDF) and explores its potential as a pedagogical intervention, one that could help reimagine the future of engaged journalism by bringing design-thinking practices, creativity, and deep-listening modalities into play. The framework is developed through design thinking and builds around prin...
Article
Researchers and practitioners increasingly believe that journalism must improve its relationship with audiences to increase the likelihood that people will consume and support news. In this paper, we argue that this assumption overlooks the importance of structural- and individual-level factors in shaping news audience behavior. Drawing on Giddens’...
Chapter
This chapter draws from across the book to make a case for how journalism can move forward. To rebuild its relevance, the journalistic community needs to adapt to a changed media culture in which its centrality is no longer guaranteed. When journalism becomes just one voice among others, it becomes necessary to question whether long-standing object...
Chapter
This introductory chapter begins by calling for a decentering of journalism in favor of a broader view of the complex political communication environment that has accompanied the proliferation of digital media channels. In this environment, journalism is engaged with other social actors in a struggle for the right to provide truthful accounts. At i...
Chapter
This chapter examines the political and media environment during the presidency of Donald Trump. The first half considers how various political forces aligned to provide an opening for Trump. This includes the polarization of the voting public and a hardening of political identity. These conditions, in connection with global political trends, enabl...
Book
Donald Trump’s rapid—and seemingly improbable—ascension from reality show star to polarizing president threw into question many assumptions about how our media and political worlds work. His habit of lying, history of racist statements, and disdain for conventions upended traditional relations between journalists and political elites. Taking an exp...
Chapter
This chapter examines how the institutional trappings of political journalism allowed Trump to benefit from out-of-proportion coverage, particularly in the primary stages of the 2016 presidential contest. As the campaign progressed, press-bashing became a political performance that was an indelible part of Trump’s electoral success. Trump turned to...
Chapter
This chapter questions the degree to which a professionalized adherence to objectivity has led journalists to engage in false equivalencies rather than identify Donald Trump’s statements as being lies or racist. This rhetorical void allows powerful actors—such as Trump, polarizing pundits, and other partisans—to shape political lies into “facts” by...
Chapter
This chapter focuses on Donald Trump’s relationship with the news media during his presidency, arguing that as Trump’s political power increased, his attacks on the press became more extreme. Trump simultaneously amplifies the influence of journalists when he calls them the “enemy of the people” and delegitimizes their authority by classifying “the...
Chapter
This chapter analyzes a coordinated, collective effort in August 2018 to produce newspaper editorials defending journalism, which provides a rare public moment of focused attention on the press’s roles and identities. Hundreds of newspapers, from small-town newspapers to large metro dailies, defended the role of the press against the attacks of Don...
Preprint
Full-text available
This is a specially adapted extract from "The Datafication of Journalism: Strategies for Data-Driven Storytelling and Industry—Academy Collaboration" a book chapter in The Data Journalism Handbook 2 edited by Liliana Bounegru and Jonathan Gray, and published by Amsterdam University Press. It proposes that closer relationships between journalists a...
Article
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The all-consuming nature of coronavirus news coverage has made the COVID-19 pandemic a unique opportunity to explore the relationship between audience trust in and engagement with news. This study examines that relationship through 60 Zoom-based qualitative interviews conducted with a diverse sample of US adults during the early phase of the pandem...
Article
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In public communication, in the absence of a clear sense of one’s actual audience, a communicator relies on a mental image of an imagined audience. But where does one’s image of the audience come from, and how might that matter for how people evaluate their audience? The case of journalists and their perceptions offers an instructive lens for exami...
Chapter
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How are journalism and academia responding to the datafication of their professions, and how can they collaborate more effectively on data-driven work?
Research
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This secondary use of earlier study's data probes newspaper frontline editors to determine their degree of cultural solidarity, i.e., the interplay of personal values and cultural ideals. Specifically, we sought to determine if Nordic newspaper managers' cultural ideals-constructed via a select group of personal values-differ by country, while test...
Article
Full-text available
How are journalism and academia responding to the datafication of their professions, and how can they collaborate more effectively on data-driven work? Keywords: journalism, journalists, academia, academy, collaboration, datafication, data, data work, dat journalism, data driven storytelling, researcher-journalist collaborations
Article
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Technological disruptions and increasing competition in the digital mediascape have fundamentally altered the market conditions for news media companies, raising corresponding concerns about the future of journalism. News media firms can adapt their business models by more purposefully focusing on media innovation, or the development and implementa...
Article
Digital press criticism, or the use of non-journalistic platforms as a means for critiquing journalism, is made possible by digital technologies that circumvent traditional media channels. This form of criticism is not marginal, but indeed is increasingly central within the political communication environment. This can be seen in President Donald T...
Book
Do news media need a new kind of manager? Does an industry beset by digitization, convergence, recession and perceived lack of value have room for a team-player – someone who can share information and authority, respect subordinates, nurture creativity and diversity, and possess the interpersonal skills to influence others throughout the news organ...
Article
Amid growing threats to journalists around the world, this study examines the nature of online harassment, the types of journalists most likely to experience it, and the most common forms of response to such abuse. Through a representative survey of U.S. journalists, we find that nearly all journalists experience at least some online harassment but...
Article
This article explores the institutional logics of intrapreneurial units, or groups within organizations that are designated to foster organizational innovation. Drawing on interviews with news intrapreneurs developing chatbots in news media organizations, this study shows that innovation can be stymied because of conflicting institutional logics. N...
Article
The most immediate and important effects of the coronavirus pandemic concern public health. But the crisis also raises a number of key questions for journalism research. As scholars, we should pause, when so much of our working lives seems thrown out of routine, and critically consider what has brought us, individually and collectively, to this jun...
Article
At a time of growing threats to the press worldwide, including in supposedly ‘safe’ developed democracies, this article explores the nature of harassment perpetrated by strangers, one-time sources, and viewers against women broadcast journalists working at US local television stations. The study investigates the emotional labor – the work of managi...
Article
Journalists’ epistemological activities—presumed to provide factual and reliable public information—have made journalism one of the most influential knowledge-producing institutions in society. However, changes—both slow and sudden—related to the digitization of news media and the diffusion of misinformation are challenging the social role and auth...
Article
A key activity in the formation of this Special Issue of New Media & Society was the organizing of an online workshop: “Truth, facts, and fake: The shifting epistemologies of news in a digital age.” The event was an experiment in exploring the possibilities of organizing conferences in ways that are more sustainable in terms of climate, time, and m...
Article
Audience analytics and metrics are ubiquitous in today’s media environment. However, little is known about how creative media workers come to understand the social norms related to those technologies. Drawing on social influence theory, this study examines formal and informal socialization mechanisms in U.S. newsrooms. It finds that editorial newsw...
Article
This special issue examines the growing importance of algorithms and automation in the gathering, composition, and distribution of news. It connects a long line of research on journalism and computation with scholarly and professional terrain yet to be explored. Taken as a whole, these articles share some of the noble ambitions of the pioneering pu...
Article
Artificial intelligence (AI) and people’s interactions with it—through virtual agents, socialbots, and language-generation software—do not fit neatly into paradigms of communication theory that have long focused on human–human communication. To address this disconnect between communication theory and emerging technology, this article provides a sta...
Article
This entry seeks to synthesize the many definitions of journalism. Struggles over defining what qualifies as journalism and who qualifies as a journalist are more than discursive disputes; they are key points of departure for understanding the societal roles as well as social meanings of journalism in the twenty‐first century. In a basic sense, jou...
Article
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In this article, we argue that journalism studies, and particularly research focused on automated journalism, has much to learn from Human-Machine Communication (HMC), an emerging conceptual framework and empirically grounded research domain that has formed in response to the growing number of technologies—such as chatbots, social bots, and other c...
Article
This essay applies six commitments for journalism studies to research involving digital technologies, namely: contextual sensitivity, holistic relationality, comparative inclination, normative awareness, embedded communicative power, and methodological pluralism. We argue that the emergent characteristics of digital journalism – as reflected in alg...
Article
Which bystanders will confront racist, misogynist, personal attacks in news comment sections? This article applies sociological concepts of deviance and social control to categorize efforts to moderate online news comments. Three dimensions of social control are theorized: affirming and sanctioning social control, formal and informal social control...
Article
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In light of the media industry’s growing focus on audience engagement, this article explores how online and offline forms of engagement unfold within journalism, based on a comparative case study of two American public media newsrooms. This study addresses gaps in the literature by (1) examining what engagement means for public media and (2) applyi...
Article
This study offers a new way of understanding the motivations that influence media workers’ impression management (or branding) in the social media era. Amid the growing insecurity of media work generally and the particular pressures of branding oneself and promoting one’s employer online, our research introduces a framework through which to interpr...
Article
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Amid a broader reckoning about the role of social media in public life, this article argues that the same scrutiny can be applied to the journalism studies field and its approaches to examining social media. A decade later, what hath such research wrought? In the broad study of news and its digital transformation, few topics have captivated researc...
Article
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Building on research proposing reciprocal journalism as a concept underlying participatory practices and norms in journalism, this study examines how reciprocity might meaningfully be measured in a journalistic context. Using a survey of US journalists, this study adapts measures of reciprocal attitudes and behaviors to journalistic practices. It a...
Article
Journalism studies is a relatively young field trying to make sense of a relatively fast-moving scholarly object – news. The matter of time is emerging as a particularly vexing challenge: When so much seems to be changing, and so quickly, how are journalism studies researchers to discern meaningful developments as opposed to short-term ephemera? Th...
Article
The rise of automated journalism—the algorithmically driven conversion of structured data into news stories—presents a range of potentialities and pitfalls for news organizations. Chief among the potential legal hazards is one issue that has yet to be explored in journalism studies: the possibility that algorithms could produce libelous news conten...
Article
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A number of news organizations have begun shifting commenting from their websites to Facebook, based on the implicit assumption that commenting on Facebook is an equivalent (or preferred) substitute. Using survey data from 317 online news commenters, and drawing on the concept of imagined audience, this article examines this assumption by comparing...
Article
This article conceptualizes the distinctiveness of fields of scholarship within the discipline of communication through particular normative assumptions and identity practices defined here as commitments. A case study of journalism studies results in the postulation of six conceptual commitments that define its core ontological and epistemological...
Article
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In a social media age, branding is an increasingly visible aspect of identity construction online. For media professionals generally and journalists especially, branding on spaces such as Twitter reveals the complicated set of forces confronting such public-facing actors as they navigate tensions between personal disclosure for authenticity and pro...
Article
Drawing on open-ended responses to a representative survey of US journalists, this article examines how journalists’ role conceptions may be associated with distinct perceptions of and practices toward audiences, whether online or offline. In particular, this research considers the potential for more reciprocal, or mutually beneficial, interactions...
Chapter
Four facets of dependence for journalism and technoloy. Edited by Tamara Witschge, Chris Anderson; David Domingo & Alfred Hermida,
Article
With online news aggregators outperforming most traditional media sites, some news executives have accused Google News of stealing their content, even as they rely on Google for exposure. Through a content analysis, this study examines how leading traditional news providers and trade publications, during the 2007-2010 financial shock for U.S. newsp...
Article
Amid growing calls for greater collaboration between journalism and computer programming, this article examines a salient case study that reveals processes of communication, exchange, and work production at the intersection of these social and occupational worlds. We focus on a key stage of the Knight-Mozilla News Technology partnership – namely, a...
Article
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As journalists and audiences increasingly interact via social media spaces online, scholars have begun to explore the varying forms of information and relational exchanges between them. Building on an emerging thread of research that examines the potential role of reciprocity in such encounters, this study examines how reciprocity, as a key ingredi...
Article
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Cell-phone-only (CPO) households differ along key variables from non-CPO households, creating potential coverage biases in landline-only random-digit-dialing (RDD) surveys. Researchers have attempted to correct for this by weighting their data based on demographic differences. Previous research, however, has not examined CPO coverage biases in medi...
Article
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The concept of reciprocity, particularly in the pro-social sense of mutually beneficial exchange, presents an opportunity befitting the start of a new journal on social media. Namely, how might a concept of social exchange help us understand a mediascape increasingly dominated by social exchange—where the sharing, receiving, and recirculating of in...
Article
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To deal with ever-larger datasets, media scholars are increasingly using computational analytic methods. This article focuses on how the traditional (manual) approach to conducting a content analysis—a primary method in the study of media messages—is being reconfigured, assesses what is gained and lost in turning to computational solutions, and bui...
Article
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The study shows that Nordic daily newspapers—like their American peers—will have to change their content to conform more to the tastes of readers or—at the very least—find a more reader-friendly way to present the news. The authors compare national surveys of Nordic and U.S. editors charged with the practical aspects of choosing, justifying, editin...
Article
In contemporary journalism, there is a need for better conceptualizing the changing nature of human actors, nonhuman technological actants, and diverse representations of audiences—and the activities of news production, distribution, and interpretation through which actors, actants, and audiences are inter-related. This article explicates each of t...
Article
Full-text available
This study examines how journalists and technologists are re-imagining the construction of networked, dynamic spaces for online news discussion through a qualitative study of 126 idea submissions to a popular news innovation contest. We consider these submissions in the light of the concept of the public sphere, with a specific focus on how these s...
Article
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Amid the rise of computational and data-driven forms of journalism, it is important to consider the institutions, interactions, and processes that aim to help the social worlds of journalism and technology come together and collaborate around a common cause of news innovation. This paper examines one of the most prominent such efforts: the transnat...
Article
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The rise of sophisticated tools for tracking audiences online has begun to change the way media producers think about media audiences. This study examines this phenomenon in journalism, building on a revised theoretical model that accounts for greater audience engagement in the gatekeeping process. Research suggests that news editors, after long re...
Article
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Reciprocity, a defining feature of social life, has long been considered a key component in the formation and perpetuation of vibrant communities. In recent years, scholars have applied the concept to understanding the social dynamics of online communities and social media. Yet, the function of and potential for reciprocity in (digital) journalism...
Article
News sourcing practices are critical as they shape from whom journalists get their information and what information they obtain, mostly from elite sources. This study evaluates whether social media platforms expand the range of actors involved in the news through a quantitative content analysis of the sources cited by NPR's Andy Carvin on Twitter d...
Article
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Journalists and technologists increasingly are organizing and collaborating, both formally and informally, across major news organizations and via grassroots networks on an international scale. This intersection of so-called ‘hacks and hackers’ carries with it a shared interest in finding technological solutions for news, particularly through open-...
Article
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This article examines the relative value of open innovation principles for digital media, exemplified by the emergence of Open Application Programming Interfaces (Open APIs) at four news organizations: The New York Times, The Guardian, USA Today and NPR. The use of Open APIs represents a shift toward an open innovation paradigm that may help addres...
Article
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Massive datasets of communication are challenging traditional, human-driven approaches to content analysis. Computational methods present enticing solutions to these problems but in many cases are insufficient on their own. We argue that an approach blending computational and manual methods throughout the content analysis process may yield more fru...
Article
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During 2008–2010, US newspapers covered the financial issues confronting their own industry extensively. Such coverage drew attention to the state of the newspaper but also raised questions about whether journalists over-reacted to this market downturn. This study examines how the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and the New York Times framed the ne...
Article
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Amid the digital disruption for journalism, the U.S.-based Knight Foundation has made a highly publicized effort to shape the nature of news innovation. This growing influence raises questions about what it’s trying to accomplish, for mass communication and society. This qualitative case study shows how and why the Knight Foundation has sought to c...
Article
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This study examines how mainstream journalists who microblog negotiate their professional norms and practices in a new media format that directly challenges them. Through a content analysis of more than 22,000 of their tweets (postings) on the microblog platform Twitter, this study reveals that the journalists more freely express opinions, a common...
Article
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As blogs have become a fixture in today's media environment, growing in number and influence in political communication and (mass) media discourse, research on the subject has proliferated, often emphasizing the high-profile conflicts and controversies at the intersection of blogging and journalism. Less examined, however, is the psychology of ever...
Article
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At a time when news organizations are struggling to grab the attention of audiences in a media-saturated environment, social networking sites (SNS) have created novel opportunities for journalists to connect with followers online—raising questions about how types of social media use might be associated with forging greater connection with users. Ju...
Article
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In recent years, the Knight News Challenge has emerged as one of the most important forums for stimulating innovation in journalism and as a salient marker of the Knight Foundation's influence in the field. However, scholarly literature has yet to discuss this contest's design and execution, its applicants and winners, and the implications for the...
Chapter
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The challenge of political violence has grown with new means of global coordination and access to weapons of mass destruction. The Bush administration’s response to this threat, following the now iconic policy reference point of 11 September 2001, has had far-ranging implications for national security strategy, relations with the world community, a...
Article
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A fundamental tenet of journalism is that news articles are based on facts, not assumptions or evaluations. A content analysis of recent deceptive news articles found that they contain a lower proportion of report statements (facts) and a higher proportion of both inferential statements (assumptions) and judgment statements (evaluations) than a ran...
Article
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This study seeks to understand how community newspaper editors negotiate the professional challenges posed by citizen journalism—a phenomenon that, even in the abstract, would appear to undermine their gatekeeping control over content. Through interviews with 29 small-newspaper editors in Texas, we find that some editors either favor or disfavor th...
Article
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This study explores U.S. newspapers' online readership in the local market by comparing (1) “hybrid” readers who access both the print and online versions and (2) online-only readers. Survey data gathered from twenty-eight newspaper sites show that hybrid readers outnumber online-only users by a 2-to-l margin and use their local newspaper sites mor...
Article
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This study seeks to understand how community newspaper editors negotiate the professional complexities posed by citizen journalism*a phenomenon that, even in the abstract, would appear to undermine their gatekeeping control over content. Through interviews with 29 newspaper editors in Texas, we find that some editors either favor or disfavor the us...
Article
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This study compares the effects of consuming news preference online or offline on political participation. It also examines the variation in these effects between young and older adults. Given that young adults are disproportionately more intensive users of the Internet, Internet use may have varying effects on people’s political participation by t...

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