2018 Research Symposium - The Golden Age of Data: Big Data and Media Analytics

Research Symposium Chair: Don A. Grady gradyd@elon.edu

The Research Symposium will take place in Las Vegas during BEA2018 on Sunday, April 8

Submission Deadline: December 1, 2017 (the submission site opens in mid-July)

Big data and analytics now make it possible for media researchers and professionals to quantify media content and audience usage. Today, legacy and new media producers have replaced intuition with new ways of understanding audiences through data analytics that inform the creation, distribution, and marketing of media content. Audience usage data are streamed instantaneously from computers and mobile devices, and by traditional media, such as broadcast radio and television, that infuse and enhance their distribution with online platforms.  New computational procedures allow content producers the opportunity to analyze large amounts of data, consider nuanced patterns of audience consumption, link datasets to generate actionable insights, and visualize data in ways that guide decision making.

Understanding audiences is integral to creating and distributing media messages. The study of media analytics requires conceptual knowledge of the role of a broad range of media, skills in research methods and report writing, understanding of the tools (hardware and software) of technologies that make analytics possible, familiarity with descriptive and predictive statistical procedures, a strategic mindset to provide insights and apply findings, and a responsive ability to make media content more accessible to users. Analytics also enable communications researchers to ask meaningful questions and to develop and test hypotheses that drive the evolution of communication theories.

Media analytics resides within the broader interdisciplinary field of data science, which considers the explosion of data in all its forms in disciplines such as computer science, mathematics, statistics, business and political science. This symposium will consider a narrower range of topics that specifically impact media professions and academic programs.  Some academic programs have addressed these topics by integrating analytics in existing courses, introducing new courses, or by expanding curricular offerings to include new majors, minors or concentrations that specifically address media analytics.

Faculty, graduate and undergraduate students are invited to submit research studies, theoretical and thoughtful descriptive works (4000-word limit, inclusive) relevant to one of the following topics:

Curriculum and Instruction: Teaching Legacy and Social Media Analytics
Chair: Ann Hollifield, Professor, Grady College of Journalism and Mass, Communications, University of Georgia
This session will focus on teaching traditional media measurement and social media analytics. Submissions are encouraged that focus on the development of courses (knowledge and skills), introduction of core analytics concepts, the selection and use of various media platforms, analytic tools, dashboards and, statistical packages, consideration of the value and selection of metrics and performance indicators that address audience engagement, and the use of metrics to guide content and storytelling.

Analysis and Interpretation: Researching Content and Audiences using Media Analytics
Chair: Jessica Pucci, Ethics & Excellence Professor of Practice, Cronkite School of Journalism & Mass Communication, Arizona State University
This session will focus on the use of media analytics to answer meaningful questions, to help drive content creation, and to engage with audiences. Other relevant topics include: sources and characteristics of data, methods of collecting, storing and managing data, interpreting results, gauging the success of news, information, entertainment and persuasive messages, and considering access, privacy and ethical responsibilities, such as hacking and fake news.

Reporting and Using Results: Presenting and Visualizing Media Analytics Data
Chair: Dianne Finch, Assistant Professor, School of Journalism & Mass Communication, Kent State University
This session will focus on methods for reporting, strategies for demonstrating relationships between words and data, and using results to drive decision making. Visualization is an increasingly important tool in analytics to help summarize large quantities of data, represent trends, and track the influence of individuals in social networks.  Topics include applying results to gauge the impact of messages, developing strategies for competitive media environments, and writing and presenting media analytics in visual form.

Student Poster Competition: Various Media Analytics Topics (graduate and undergraduate)
Chair: Amanda Sturgill, Associate Professor, School of Communications, Elon University
Graduate and undergraduate students may submit papers for consideration directly to the student poster competition. In addition, student papers not accepted for presentation in one of the topic areas above will also be considered in the poster competition, which will provide a certificate of participation and a prize for the top poster for submitted manuscripts.  Topics for the poster session may include any topic pertinent to understanding, monitoring, reporting, visualizing and interpreting data, and engaging audiences using traditional media analysis, and online and social media analytics.

The 2018 BEA Research Symposium will sponsor:
– Paper Competitions (for faculty and graduate students)
– Student Poster Competition (graduate and undergraduate categories)
Note: The Student Paper Competition offers monetary awards for 1st ($300), 2nd ($200) & 3rd ($100) place and are also eligible for publication in an edited volume with Routledge. 

 

Research Submission Information
  1. Please indicate the author(s) status: (faculty, graduate student, undergraduate student)
  2. Please designate one of the three topic areas for faculty and graduate student or the graduate and undergraduate Student Poster Competition. Student papers that are not accepted for one of the three topic categories will automatically be considered for the Student Poster Competition.
  3. You may submit different papers for each of the topic categories above. However, conference organizers reserve the right to select papers to ensure greater representation in published proceedings.
  4. Papers must be written using APA Style.
  5. Papers accepted and presented in the three topic area are also eligible for publication in the BEA Routledge book series, contingent on standard revision procedures.
About the BEA Symposium Scholars

Symposium Chair: Don A. Grady, Ph.D., is an associate dean and associate professor in the School of Communications at Elon University.  He has numerous years of administrative leadership, teaching and professional experience in broadcast journalism, radio and television.  He regularly teaches a senior capstone research course, oversees the publication of an online undergraduate research journal, and helped to guide the development of an undergraduate major in media analytics.  He has given numerous workshops, presentations, and regularly published articles on the assessment of student learning. Grady is a twice elected representative on the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications.

Dianne Finch has taught data mining and visualization to graduate students at Elon University, and incorporated the topic into various journalism courses at Kent State University¾where she focused on environmental data. Finch is currently developing an interactive data visualization site to accompany her book, “Big Data in Small Slices,” slated for publication later in 2017. Her journalism career started at the AP as a news data editor following a career in IT and computer programming. Finch, who holds a master’s in journalism from Columbia University, covered science, health and finance for Bloomberg News, public radio and other outlets.

Ann Hollifield is the Thomas C. Dowden Professor of Media Research in the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia. She is cofounder and director of UGA’s Graduate Certificate Program in Media Analytics, which was launched in 2006 and now has alumni working for major media organizations and audience measurement companies around the world.  Her research and teaching focus on media economics and management, with emphasis on how competition and other market and organizational structures affect media viability.  She has been a consultant to DW Akademie, Germany’s largest media development NGO, and UNESCO on the development of globally applicable measures of media viability.  Current projects include research on emerging issues and techniques in media analytics.

Jessica Pucci is a professor of practice at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University, specializing in data analytics and audience engagement. She leads social media and analytics for Cronkite News, the news division of Arizona PBS, teaches courses in analytics and engagement, and leads the schools Digital Audiences curriculum. Previously, Pucci directed content strategy, brand journalism, social media and engagement for large national home-design and retail clients such as Bed Bath & Beyond; earlier, she spent a decade in consumer magazines, serving most recently as managing editor for DRAFT Magazine, where she directed editorial content, social media and audience growth. Pucci holds a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri, where her research focused on journalism ethics. She earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Wisconsin.

Amanda Sturgill is an associate professor of communications at Elon University where she teaches classes in journalism and media analytics. A Ph.D. graduate of Cornell University, her research interests include how news disseminates from traditional news outlets via social media, digital divides and media and religion.

About the BEA Research Symposium

Since its debut in 2008, the BEA Research Symposium has become a focal point of BEA’s research community and is held in conjunction with BEA’s annual convention each April. Past symposium chairs have included the most distinguished researchers in their field and have covered cutting-edge topics in the areas of media & the social self, sports, economics, media & morality, technopolitics, race and gender, and entertainment. The success of the Symposium launched the Electronic Media Research book series, published by Routledge. In addition to a paper competition, the day-long symposium has a series of presentations and panels led by senior scholars. Recent past symposium topics include: “Video games: A Medium that Demands Our Attention,” “Risk and Health Communication in an Evolving Media Environment,” and “Race and Gender in Electronic Media:  Challenges and Opportunities.”