Two of the highlights of our conference programming were the presentation of our Top Faculty and Top Student papers. Tom Arenberg and Wilson Lowrey of the University of Alabama received the Top Faculty Paper award for their study entitled “The Impact of Web Metrics on Community News Decisions: A Resource Dependence Perspective.” From the study abstract:
This comparative case study of two community news organizations takes a Resource Dependence approach to assess impact of audience metrics on news decisions, and on mechanisms underlying these decisions. Findings show that the organization that more strongly emphasizes metrics publishes fewer in-depth civic-issue stories, and metrics are more likely to influence newsworthiness. However, reporters’ expertise with strategies for increasing numbers may actually free reporters for enterprise work. Findings also suggest effects from community size.
(From left) Outgoing COMJIG Head Marcus Funk and COMJIG Research Chair Rich Johnson present the Top Faculty Paper Award to Wilson Lowrey and Tom Arenberg.
Burton Speakman of Ohio University received the Top Student Paper award for his study entitled “Technology and the Public: The Influence of Website Features on the Submission of UGC.” From the study abstract:
Web 2.0 creates a situation where the Internet increasingly focuses on submissions of content from non-professionals and interaction between the masses as a method of creating dedicated audiences. Community newspapers work within this rapidly changing media market and one must follow their audience online, despite any reservations about if the web provides a hospitable economic environment. This study examines how community newspaper websites choose to engage in gatekeeping as it relates to UGC. Despite changes in technology gatekeeping continues to occur on community newspaper websites. Furthermore, it provides clarity about what type of audience submitted content is more likely published at community media.
Burton Speakman (center) receives the Top Student Paper Award from COMJIG Research Chair Rich Johnson (left) and outgoing COMJIG Head Marcus Funk.
Abstracts for other research papers presented at COMJIG panels can be found here.