Chew, Egan paper wins first place in BEA competition

Fiona Chew, professor of television, radio and film, and Beth Egan, associate professor of advertising, worked on a paper that won first place in the Open Paper Competition for the Broadcast Education Association (BEA) Research Division this year. The paper was co-authored by Egan and Chew with Chilukuri K. Mohan, Sanup Araballi, Dongqing Xu and Amanda Qi Ni.

The paper, “Developing an ad viewing retention model for TV comedy through machine learning,” will be presented at the virtual annual conference in April. This paper presents a model for audience prediction which can potentially be used to predict audience retention at various levels of ad clutter allowing networks to curate commercial breaks to optimize the viewer experience.

This is Chew and Egan’s second BEA win with a paper they worked on together. In 2019, their paper “TV Program-Ad Genre Congruence and Ad Avoidance: Applying Neural Networks to Assess Effects” took top place in the BEA’s research division.

This research was funded by a CUSE Grant and is an interdisciplinary collaboration between the Newhouse School and the College of Engineering and Computer Science, with data provided by Comscore. 

Horn abstract to be published in book on post-COVID sports

Brad Horn, professor of practice in public relations, wrote the abstract, “Protecting Athlete Welfare in MLB’s Restart in Real-World Conditions,” which has been accepted as a chapter in the Common Ground Research publication, “Restart—Sport After the COVID-19 Lockdown.” The book has a projected publish date of late 2021.

Ortiz co-authors journal article on advertising organic food with alumna

Rebecca Ortiz, assistant professor of advertising, and Jessica Beyer ’19, co-authored the paper, “How explaining the nature and benefits of organic food in advertising for processed products may increase purchase intent.” The paper was published by the Journal of Food Products Marketing.

New book examines social media’s impact on American politics

A new book edited by three Syracuse University professors, “Democracy in the Disinformation Age: Influence and Activism in American Politics,” will be released this spring from Routledge. It is currently available for pre-order.  

Democracy in the Digital Age

The book’s editors are Regina Luttrell, assistant dean of research and creative activity and assistant professor of public relations at the Newhouse School; Jon Glass, professor of practice in magazine, news and digital journalism at the  Newhouse School; and Lu Xiao, associate professor at the School of Information Studies.  

The book examines the impact of social media on American politics, spanning topics like activism in the digital age, fake news, online influence, messaging tactics, news transparency and authentication, and consumers’ digital habits. 

Chapters explore how and why social media became a powerful factor in politics; user vs. corporate responsibility in stemming the proliferation of hate speech and disinformation; computational techniques for measuring and assessing social media’s societal impact; and other important topics related to the combining of social media and politics. 

“Given the state of the world today, where misinformation is fueled by social media, filter bubbles and constant disruptions, our book comes at just the right time, sending a powerful message,” Luttrell says. “Bringing together some of the most well-known researchers in the field, this book will provide a stronger understanding of the core issues we face today and steer us toward an improved understanding aimed at a better democracy.” 

Newhouse doctoral alumna Jiyoung Lee G’19 and media studies alumna Teri Del Rosso G’12 were contributing authors. Laura Angle ’20, an alumna of Newhouse’s graphic design program, designed the book cover.  

The book was supported by the CUSE (Collaboration for Unprecedented Success and Excellence) Grant program, which seeks to encourage interdisciplinary collaborations in order to grow the research enterprise and enhance scholarship at Syracuse University.   

Brown paper on defamation liability for robot speakers accepted for ICA 2021 conference

Nina Brown, assistant professor of communications, had her paper, “Assigning legal liability for defamation when the speaker is a robot,” accepted to the Communications Law & Policy division of the International Communication Association’s 2021 conference.

TRAC releases new ‘quick facts’ tools for immigration data

The Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) has released new ‘quick facts’ tools for anyone looking for data on immigration courts and detention.

TRAC’s quick tools provide the most recent data TRAC has assembled on a variety of topics, from the current immigration court backlog to ICE’s most recent detention statistics. The tools include easy-to-understand data in context and provide quotable descriptions.

Future of news production the focus of NSF planning grant

Two researchers from Syracuse University are part of a team that received a $130,000 planning grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) Future of Work at the Human-Technology Frontier.

The project, “Planning to study automation and the future of news production,” brings together an interdisciplinary group of scholars to look at the impact of technology on journalists and journalism.

Kevin Crowston

Kevin Crowston, distinguished professor of information science and associate dean for research at the School of Information Studies, is principal investigator. Keren Henderson, assistant professor of broadcast and digital journalism at the Newhouse School, is also part of the team. Other team members include Jeffrey Nickerson, professor at Stevens Institute of Technology’s School of Business, and Lydia Chilton, assistant professor of computer science at Columbia University’s Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science.

“The future work of journalists is great topic for our study because journalism has long been shaped by new technologies, from the printing press to the telephone to TV to the web, but guided by strong professional norms and values,” Crowston says. “We’re looking forward to understanding how this interplay shapes the use of smarter machines that can share part of the work.”

Keren Henderson

Henderson is conducting a qualitative case study of a large market local television newsroom. “Under which circumstances do local television journalists embrace technological innovations to improve their ability to inform the public, including professional storytelling across platforms?” Henderson asks.

“Journalists today are understandably concerned about how automation is used as a means of replacing human workers,” says Henderson. “Our team is approaching this research with the journalists’ best interests in mind. We want to help members of the Fourth Estate to do their best work.”  

The planning grant supports the researchers as they develop a proposal for sustained research on the future of news production that may be supported by a large-scale grant from NSF. Their work would consider technologies such as natural language processing, crowdsourcing, information visualization and artificial intelligence. The planned work includes refining the project vision and theoretical framework, recruiting field sites and an advisory board, conducting pilot research to identify relevant technologies and impacts and planning of convergent research activities.

TRAC report: Trump leaves Biden 1.3m case backlog in immigration courts

The Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) has released a new report detailing the state of the immigration court backlog left by the Trump administration:

From TRAC: “When President Donald Trump assumed office, 542,411 people had deportation cases pending before the Immigration Courts. At the start of 2021, that number now stands at 1,290,766—nearly two and a half times the level when Trump assumed office just four years ago. TRAC’s detailed report provides a baseline for understanding and evaluating immigration changes likely to be implemented by the Biden administration.”

Brown research on deepfakes published

Nina Iacono Brown, assistant professor of communications, published the paper “Deepfakes and the Weaponization of Disinformation” in the Journal of Law and Technology at the University of Virginia Law School. The article was judged one of the best law review articles related to entertainment, publishing and/or the arts published that year and selected for inclusion in the 2020 edition of the Entertainment, Publishing and the Arts Handbook, an anthology published annually by Thomson Reuters (West).

Luttrell research on social and digital media practice in public relations education accepted for presentation

Associate dean of research and creative activity and assistant professor of public relations Regina Luttrell‘s research, “Connecting Pedagogy to Industry: Social and Digital Media Practice as Research in Public Relations Education,” has been accepted for presentation at the  International Public Relations Research Conference (IPRRC) this March.