posts about or somewhat related to ‘research’

One in every seven statehouse reporters today (or 14% of the total) is a college student.

— Statehouse reporters, who cover state government and public policy, are on the decline, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis. Get the facts here.  (via pewresearch)

Instead of having an adversarial stance toward those with power, journalists are friends (sometimes with benefits) of those who wield it. That’s always been the case to some extent, but now there isn’t even the pretense of trying to be an outsider. “Objectivity” has come to mean uncritically regurgitating quotes from a couple of “sources” or “unnamed officials” the reporter has relationships with and leaving it to the reader to figure out who’s up to no good.

Charles Davis, VICE, Survey Says: Journalists are Old White Cowards.

Researchers Lars Willnat and David H. Weaver from Indiana University recently published their findings in the report "The American Journalist in the Digital Age" based on interviews with over 1,000 American journalists working in all different fields. The results, including how they feel about controversial reporting practices, their job autonomy, and job satisfaction, are quite surprising when compared to survey results from 10 and even 30 years ago. 

How Teens Actually Use the Internet

danah boyd, superstar researcher of media, culture and teens, has just published It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked teens, which you can learn about and purchase here, or download (for free!) here.
We’ve yet to read it ourselves, but in this excellent round-up of questions and answers from Ethan Zuckerman, you can get a good sense of the content she covers and the myths about teen habits online that she busts. For example: the fact that teens want to gather in physical space rather than rely on connecting through the web, but we’ve restricted their ability to participate in public life and so they must rely on the web.

The book is organized around myths associated with youth and online media: the idea that youth are digital natives, that online spaces are heavily sexualized, and that online spaces are dangerous to youth.
Her overall takeaway from this research: we have spent thirty years restricting the ability of youth to get together face to face in the physical world. These technologies give youth access to public life once again and to make meaning of the world around them. Youth want to gather and socialize with their friends and become part of public life. Many youth would rather get together in real life, but turn to online spaces because those are the only spaces where young people can interact with one another in public life.
“There’s so much learning, so much opportunity through being part of public life”, says danah. We need to accept the idea that these online spaces are the key public spaces for young people.

Image: A prezi visualizing danah’s talk to the Berkman Center luncheon.

How Teens Actually Use the Internet

danah boyd, superstar researcher of media, culture and teens, has just published It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked teens, which you can learn about and purchase here, or download (for free!) here.

We’ve yet to read it ourselves, but in this excellent round-up of questions and answers from Ethan Zuckerman, you can get a good sense of the content she covers and the myths about teen habits online that she busts. For example: the fact that teens want to gather in physical space rather than rely on connecting through the web, but we’ve restricted their ability to participate in public life and so they must rely on the web.

The book is organized around myths associated with youth and online media: the idea that youth are digital natives, that online spaces are heavily sexualized, and that online spaces are dangerous to youth.

Her overall takeaway from this research: we have spent thirty years restricting the ability of youth to get together face to face in the physical world. These technologies give youth access to public life once again and to make meaning of the world around them. Youth want to gather and socialize with their friends and become part of public life. Many youth would rather get together in real life, but turn to online spaces because those are the only spaces where young people can interact with one another in public life.

“There’s so much learning, so much opportunity through being part of public life”, says danah. We need to accept the idea that these online spaces are the key public spaces for young people.

Image: A prezi visualizing danah’s talk to the Berkman Center luncheon.

A Quarter of Americans Think the Sun Goes Around the Earth
So goes a survey released Friday (PDF) by the National Science Foundation. 
Before laughing at US ineptitude, NPR reports that a similar 2005 survey conducted in the European Union showed 34% of respondents answering the question incorrectly. 

A Quarter of Americans Think the Sun Goes Around the Earth

So goes a survey released Friday (PDF) by the National Science Foundation. 

Before laughing at US ineptitude, NPR reports that a similar 2005 survey conducted in the European Union showed 34% of respondents answering the question incorrectly. 

Facebook v Princeton: Who You Got?
Princeton punches first, via The Guardian:

Facebook has spread like an infectious disease but we are slowly becoming immune to its attractions, and the platform will be largely abandoned by 2017, say researchers at Princeton University.
The forecast of Facebook’s impending doom was made by comparing the growth curve of epidemics to those of online social networks. Scientists argue that, like bubonic plague, Facebook will eventually die out.
The social network, which celebrates its 10th birthday on 4 February, has survived longer than rivals such as Myspace and Bebo, but the Princeton forecast says it will lose 80% of its peak user base within the next three years…
…”Ideas, like diseases, have been shown to spread infectiously between people before eventually dying out, and have been successfully described with epidemiological models,” the authors claim in a paper entitled Epidemiological modelling of online social network dynamics.

Facebook punches back:

In keeping with the scientific principle “correlation equals causation,” our research unequivocally demonstrated that Princeton may be in danger of disappearing entirely…
…[Trends suggest] that Princeton will have only half its current enrollment by 2018, and by 2021 it will have no students at all, agreeing with the previous graph of scholarly scholarliness. Based on our robust scientific analysis, future generations will only be able to imagine this now-rubble institution that once walked this earth.

Read through for Facebook’s assorted charts and graphs to back its claims.
The Princeton paper is available via arXiv (PDF)

Facebook v Princeton: Who You Got?

Princeton punches first, via The Guardian:

Facebook has spread like an infectious disease but we are slowly becoming immune to its attractions, and the platform will be largely abandoned by 2017, say researchers at Princeton University.

The forecast of Facebook’s impending doom was made by comparing the growth curve of epidemics to those of online social networks. Scientists argue that, like bubonic plague, Facebook will eventually die out.

The social network, which celebrates its 10th birthday on 4 February, has survived longer than rivals such as Myspace and Bebo, but the Princeton forecast says it will lose 80% of its peak user base within the next three years…

…”Ideas, like diseases, have been shown to spread infectiously between people before eventually dying out, and have been successfully described with epidemiological models,” the authors claim in a paper entitled Epidemiological modelling of online social network dynamics.

Facebook punches back:

In keeping with the scientific principle “correlation equals causation,” our research unequivocally demonstrated that Princeton may be in danger of disappearing entirely…

…[Trends suggest] that Princeton will have only half its current enrollment by 2018, and by 2021 it will have no students at all, agreeing with the previous graph of scholarly scholarliness. Based on our robust scientific analysis, future generations will only be able to imagine this now-rubble institution that once walked this earth.

Read through for Facebook’s assorted charts and graphs to back its claims.

The Princeton paper is available via arXiv (PDF)

Why We Should Read, Scientifically Speaking
Via The Independent:

The new research, carried out at Emory University in the US, found that reading a good book may cause heightened connectivity in the brain and neurological changes that persist in a similar way to muscle memory.
The changes were registered in the left temporal cortex, an area of the brain associated with receptivity for language, as well as the the primary sensory motor region of the brain.
Neurons of this region have been associated with tricking the mind into thinking it is doing something it is not, a phenomenon known as grounded cognition - for example, just thinking about running, can activate the neurons associated with the physical act of running.
“The neural changes that we found associated with physical sensation and movement systems suggest that reading a novel can transport you into the body of the protagonist,” said neuroscientist Professor Gregory Berns, lead author of the study.
“We already knew that good stories can put you in someone else’s shoes in a figurative sense. Now we’re seeing that something may also be happening biologically.”

Image: One of the dozens of standalone libraries promoting literacy in Bogota, Columbia. Via Bilingual Librarian: the Paradero Para Libros Para Parques are “often open during the weekend and while in service they offer regular library services. Patrons can check books out, and the person staffing the PPP organizes activities (mainly for children), is available to answer questions, and often help children with their homework.”

Why We Should Read, Scientifically Speaking

Via The Independent:

The new research, carried out at Emory University in the US, found that reading a good book may cause heightened connectivity in the brain and neurological changes that persist in a similar way to muscle memory.

The changes were registered in the left temporal cortex, an area of the brain associated with receptivity for language, as well as the the primary sensory motor region of the brain.

Neurons of this region have been associated with tricking the mind into thinking it is doing something it is not, a phenomenon known as grounded cognition - for example, just thinking about running, can activate the neurons associated with the physical act of running.

“The neural changes that we found associated with physical sensation and movement systems suggest that reading a novel can transport you into the body of the protagonist,” said neuroscientist Professor Gregory Berns, lead author of the study.

“We already knew that good stories can put you in someone else’s shoes in a figurative sense. Now we’re seeing that something may also be happening biologically.”

Image: One of the dozens of standalone libraries promoting literacy in Bogota, Columbia. Via Bilingual Librarian: the Paradero Para Libros Para Parques are “often open during the weekend and while in service they offer regular library services. Patrons can check books out, and the person staffing the PPP organizes activities (mainly for children), is available to answer questions, and often help children with their homework.”

Short Enough to be Interesting
Summers come. Summers go. And this summer we were fortunate to have Kat and Gabbi join us for our summer internship program.
We’re getting smarter about these things. Where we previously brought people in and threw them into our general mix, Jihii made sure we did things differently. Differently means we basically said, What interests you? What subject do you want to do a deep dive in to? Let’s talk about that and hone your focus. Got it? Now go.
Kat chose the evolution of college newspapers for her research. Gabbi chose the evolution of documentary film and its distribution as hers. We, hopefully, challenged them on their assumptions and provided additional ideas on how they should and could follow up on their topics. My personal hope is that they learned as much from us as we learned from them. Because, really, we learned a lot from them.
I also thank them for being guinea pigs of a sort. This is, after all, the first time we said, Whatever you want, let’s do it. And it was great.
But it succeeded because they are nerdlings.
Total. Geeky. Nerdlings.
Very different from each other, to be sure, but very connected in their geeky passion for the topics they covered.
So I give a giant hat tip to the both of them, apologize that I wasn’t completely present at the beginning of the summer when all this started but absolutely look forward to collaborating in the future.
Moving forward, Kat will be tumbling with us. Gabbi, less occasionally as she’s off to Australia for a study abroad… which we’re jealous of. If you’re in that neck of the woods give her a warm hello.
Most importantly though, thank you both. Time moves too quick but, Gabbi and Kat, you are most wonderful. — Michael
Image: Part of a note included by Jihii in her departing gift to to Kat and Gabbi: Letters to a Young Journalist by Sam Freedman. The quote is generally attributed to an anonymous Texas newspaper editor.

Short Enough to be Interesting

Summers come. Summers go. And this summer we were fortunate to have Kat and Gabbi join us for our summer internship program.

We’re getting smarter about these things. Where we previously brought people in and threw them into our general mix, Jihii made sure we did things differently. Differently means we basically said, What interests you? What subject do you want to do a deep dive in to? Let’s talk about that and hone your focus. Got it? Now go.

Kat chose the evolution of college newspapers for her research. Gabbi chose the evolution of documentary film and its distribution as hers. We, hopefully, challenged them on their assumptions and provided additional ideas on how they should and could follow up on their topics. My personal hope is that they learned as much from us as we learned from them. Because, really, we learned a lot from them.

I also thank them for being guinea pigs of a sort. This is, after all, the first time we said, Whatever you want, let’s do it. And it was great.

But it succeeded because they are nerdlings.

Total. Geeky. Nerdlings.

Very different from each other, to be sure, but very connected in their geeky passion for the topics they covered.

So I give a giant hat tip to the both of them, apologize that I wasn’t completely present at the beginning of the summer when all this started but absolutely look forward to collaborating in the future.

Moving forward, Kat will be tumbling with us. Gabbi, less occasionally as she’s off to Australia for a study abroad… which we’re jealous of. If you’re in that neck of the woods give her a warm hello.

Most importantly though, thank you both. Time moves too quick but, Gabbi and Kat, you are most wonderful. — Michael

Image: Part of a note included by Jihii in her departing gift to to Kat and Gabbi: Letters to a Young Journalist by Sam Freedman. The quote is generally attributed to an anonymous Texas newspaper editor.

This is a Brain
This describes the brain and what’s happening. 

The State of the News Media 2013 →

onaissues:

Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism released their annual report on American journalism this week.  The report paints a bleak picture of the  news landscape, citing “a continued erosion of news reporting resources” and detailing “a news industry that is more undermanned and unprepared to uncover stories, dig deep into emerging ones or to question information put into its hands.” You can view the full report online. 

On Slate, Matthew Yglesias counters the findings of the report. He argues, “American news media has never been in better shape. That’s just common sense. Almost anything you’d want to know about any subject is available at your fingertips.” He criticizes The State of the News Media Report for focusing  on the challenges related to monetizing digital content and selling ads and ignoring the variety and depth of news available today online. 

FJP: On our ever expanding reading list.

latimes:

Twitter is not the world: Or America, for that matter. In a new study from Pew Research, reactions to events on Twitter often are detached from society’s reactions as a whole. While Pew found that Twitter consensus moves back and forth from liberal to conservative, what really sticks out is just how much more negative Twitter discussions can be.

For both [presidential] candidates, negative comments exceeded positive comments by a wide margin throughout the fall campaign season. But from September through November, Romney was consistently the target of more negative reactions than was Obama.

And as always, it’s important to understand the limitations of Twitter’s reach.

The overall reach of Twitter is modest. In the Pew Research Center’s 2012 biennial news consumption survey, just 13% of adults said they ever use Twitter or read Twitter messages; only 3% said they regularly or sometimes tweet or retweet news or news headlines on Twitter.

Read Pew’s full study here (or follow them on Tumblr, which will hopefully be proven to be more positive than Twitter).
Photo: Yasuyoshi Chiba / AFP

latimes:

Twitter is not the world: Or America, for that matter. In a new study from Pew Research, reactions to events on Twitter often are detached from society’s reactions as a whole. While Pew found that Twitter consensus moves back and forth from liberal to conservative, what really sticks out is just how much more negative Twitter discussions can be.

For both [presidential] candidates, negative comments exceeded positive comments by a wide margin throughout the fall campaign season. But from September through November, Romney was consistently the target of more negative reactions than was Obama.

And as always, it’s important to understand the limitations of Twitter’s reach.

The overall reach of Twitter is modest. In the Pew Research Center’s 2012 biennial news consumption survey, just 13% of adults said they ever use Twitter or read Twitter messages; only 3% said they regularly or sometimes tweet or retweet news or news headlines on Twitter.

Read Pew’s full study here (or follow them on Tumblr, which will hopefully be proven to be more positive than Twitter).

Photo: Yasuyoshi Chiba / AFP

Help an Iranian Researcher Out
A few days ago, Iman Miri, a researcher from Tehran, reached out to us and asked that we help him promote a research project he’s conducting about technology and the media.
He’s trying to research media habits and if you’d like to participate in the survey for his research, fill out the English questionnaire here or the Farsi questionnaire here.
It doesn’t take more than 5-10 minutes of your time to fill out

Help an Iranian Researcher Out

A few days ago, Iman Miri, a researcher from Tehran, reached out to us and asked that we help him promote a research project he’s conducting about technology and the media.

He’s trying to research media habits and if you’d like to participate in the survey for his research, fill out the English questionnaire here or the Farsi questionnaire here.

It doesn’t take more than 5-10 minutes of your time to fill out

Words and phrases are fundamental building blocks of language and culture, much as genes and cells are to the biology of life. And words are how we express ideas, so tracing their origin, development and spread is not merely an academic pursuit but a window into a society’s intellectual evolution.

Predicting the Future via New York Times Archives →

Well, not just the Times, scientists are also digging through Wikipedia among many other sites.

Via GigaOm:

Researchers at Microsoft and the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology are creating software that analyzes 22 years of New York Times archives, Wikipedia and about 90 other web resources to predict future disease outbreaks, riots and deaths — and hopefully prevent them.

The new research is the latest in a number of similar initiatives that seek to mine web data to predict all kinds of events. Recorded Future, for instance, analyzes news, blogs and social media to “help identify predictive signals” for a variety of industries, including financial services and defense. Researchers are also using Twitter and Google to track flu outbreaks.

Technology Review outlines how it can work.

The system provides striking results when tested on historical data. For example, reports of droughts in Angola in 2006 triggered a warning about possible cholera outbreaks in the country, because previous events had taught the system that cholera outbreaks were more likely in years following droughts. A second warning about cholera in Angola was triggered by news reports of large storms in Africa in early 2007; less than a week later, reports appeared that cholera had become established. In similar tests involving forecasts of disease, violence, and a significant numbers of deaths, the system’s warnings were correct between 70 to 90 percent of the time.

See Kira Radinsky and Eric Horvitz, Mining the Web to Predict Future Events (PDF).

Researching Journalism, Ethics and Technology

We received a question some time ago from theinsightfulmouse which went like this:

I am planning an undergraduate thesis on the effects of technology on journalism ethics and looking to narrow my topic. Do you all have any ideas or suggestions of interesting, complex issues to research relating to journalism, ethics and technology?

Well, insightful mouse, there is a universe of interesting questions in the realm of journalism ethics, especially regarding online journalism. We’ll offer you some starting points for research rather than fleshed out ideas, because those will very much depend on your personal interests and investments.

You might like to search our Tumblr archive for ethics posts. We’ve written, for example, about the ethics of  news vs. reviews, privacy on social media, linkingcuration, and Instagram, all of which are debates that have since developed and could use more digging. Also see our transparency tag, which is something that you can deep dive into for a number of questions. Other great places to explore for ideas are the Public Editor’s Journal over at the NY Times, and Poynter’s Everyday Ethics.

Very useful (and fun, if you geek out over this stuff like me) is reading the ethics guidelines of various news organizations (here is a great list), many of which address online journalism. NPR has a great ethics handbook in which the visual journalism section deals with issues of digital attribution and manipulation (not necessarily the most compelling research topic, but useful to bookmark if you’re a journalist). Finally, and arguably the mecca of these questions, can be found in this discussion that Poynter hosted on journalism ethics in the digital age, on which a book is also in the works—I wrote a reaction here. The people involved are also key people you might want to reach out to help focus your ideas.

You did ask this question some time ago, so if you’ve already narrowed down a topic, do share it with us! —Jihii

Have a question for us? Ask.