Seth C. Lewis (Ph.D., University of Texas at Austin) is the founding holder of the Shirley Papé Chair in Emerging Media in the School of Journalism and Communication at the University of Oregon. For 2019-2020, he is on research leave at the University of Oxford as a visiting fellow with the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism. He is also a fellow with the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University, an affiliate fellow of the Information Society Project at Yale Law School, and Vice Chair of the Journalism Studies Division of the International Communication Association.
His research focuses on the social implications of emerging technologies, with an emphasis on what such dynamics mean for journalism—for how news is made and how people make sense of it in their everyday lives.
During the past decade, he has been a leader in studying innovations in digital journalism, both in examining developments in journalistic practices as well as in introducing new conceptual frameworks for making sense of change. In 2009, he co-organized one of the first studies of journalists’ use of social media, in an article that has become the most-cited paper in the 20-year history of Journalism Studies (Lasorsa, Lewis, & Holton, 2012). Since that time, Lewis’ research has examined innovations and dynamics in areas such as digital audience analytics/metrics, open innovation processes, and computer programming and software development, as well as the role and influence of nonprofit foundations in shaping news innovation (see Google Scholar for a complete list of papers).
Lewis' present work in journalism studies focuses on three areas. First, he examines the lived experience of news in everyday life, seeking to understand how journalism might better serve social needs and address inequalities. Second, he studies threats to the press as institution, including harassment of journalists, toward better understanding the consequences of journalism under duress and evolving relationships between journalists and audiences. Third, he explores the interplay of human and machine in news and media work, with the aim of better assessing the social implications of algorithms, automation, and artificial intelligence.
From a conceptual standpoint, Lewis and colleagues have proposed a model for interpreting the boundaries of journalism (Carlson & Lewis, 2015) as well as the boundaries of journalism studies as a field of inquiry (Carlson, Robinson, Lewis, & Berkowitz, 2018). Lewis and colleagues also have developed a framework for envisioning the interplay of social actors and technological actants in media organizations (Lewis & Westlund, 2015), with an emphasis on what such approaches mean for fostering and evaluating innovation in media and journalism (Westlund & Lewis, 2014). Additionally, he and his collaborators have advanced the emerging study of human-machine communication to consider its application to automation and journalism (Lewis, Guzman, & Schmidt, 2019) as well as "communicative AI" more broadly (Guzman & Lewis, 2019).
In all, Lewis has published some 60 journal articles and book chapters, and is co-editor (with Matt Carlson) of the book Boundaries of Journalism: Professionalism, Practices and Participation (Routledge, 2015). He is a two-time winner of the International Communication Association’s award for Outstanding Article of the Year in Journalism Studies — in 2016 for the article “Actors, Actants, Audiences, and Activities in Cross-Media News Work,” and in 2013 for “The Tension Between Professional Control and Open Participation: Journalism and its Boundaries,” as well as an honorable mention distinction in 2014 for “Open Source and Journalism: Toward New Frameworks for Imagining News Innovation.”
Lewis is on the boards of many journals, including New Media & Society, International Journal of Press/Politics, Journalism, Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, and Social Media + Society. He is a frequent reviewer for funding agencies around the world, and has lectured at leading universities internationally.
Previously, he was an associate professor and Mitchell V. Charnley Faculty Fellow at the University of Minnesota–Twin Cities, held a visiting appointment with Stanford University’s Program in Science, Technology & Society, and was a Fulbright Scholar to Spain. He has a Ph.D. from the School of Journalism at the University of Texas at Austin, an M.B.A. from Barry University, and a B.A. in Communications from Brigham Young University.
Beginning as a 16-year-old reporter for The Outlook in Gresham, Oregon, Lewis worked as a journalist for several news organizations, including as Assistant Sports Editor for The Miami Herald.
- Personal homepage
- Citations and papers (Google Scholar profile)
- Papers on Academia.edu
- Papers on ResearchGate
PhD, University of Texas at Austin
MBA, Barry University
BA in Communications, Brigham Young University
[Selected journal publications; please see Google Scholar for a complete list of papers]
Zamith, R., Belair-Gagnon, V., & Lewis, S. C. (forthcoming). Constructing audience quantification: Social influences and the development of norms about audience analytics and metrics. New Media & Society.
Guzman, A. L., & Lewis, S. C. (2019). Artificial intelligence and communication: A Human–Machine Communication research agenda. New Media & Society.
Lewis, S. C., Guzman, A. L., & Schmidt, T. R. (2019). Automation, Journalism, and Human–Machine Communication: Rethinking Roles and Relationships of Humans and Machines in News. Digital Journalism, 7(4), 409–427.
Watson, B. R., Peng, Z., & Lewis, S. C. (2019). Who Will Intervene to Save News Comments? Deviance and Social Control in Communities of News Commenters. New Media & Society.
Carlson, M., & Lewis, S. C. (2019). Temporal reflexivity in journalism studies: Making sense of change in a more timely fashion. Journalism, 20(5), 642–650.
Robinson, S., Lewis, S. C., & Carlson, M. (2019). Locating the “Digital” in Digital Journalism Studies: Transformations in Research. Digital Journalism, 7(3), 368–377.
Molyneux, L., Lewis, S. C., & Holton, A. E. (2019). Media work, identity, and the motivations that shape branding practices among journalists: An explanatory framework. New Media & Society, 21(4), 836–855.
Belair-Gagnon, V., Nelson, J. L., & Lewis, S. C. (2019). Audience engagement, reciprocity, and the pursuit of community connectedness in public media journalism. Journalism Practice, 13(5), 558–575.
Lewis, S. C. (2019). Lack of trust in the news media, institutional weakness, and relational journalism as a way forward. Journalism, 20(1), 44–47.
Nechushtai, E., & Lewis, S. C. (2019). What kind of news gatekeepers do we want machines to be? Filter bubbles, fragmentation, and the normative dimensions of algorithmic recommendations. Computers in Human Behavior, 90, 298–307.
Coddington, M., Lewis, S. C., & Holton, A. E. (2018). Measuring and Evaluating Reciprocal Journalism as a Concept. Journalism Practice, 12(8), 1039–1050.
Lewis, S. C., & Molyneux, L. (2018). A decade of research on social media and journalism: Assumptions, blind spots, and a way forward. Media and Communication, 6(4), 11-23.
Kim, J., Lewis, S. C., & Watson, B. R. (2018). The imagined audience for and perceived quality of news comments: Exploring the perceptions of commenters on news sites and on Facebook. Social Media + Society, 4(1), 2056305118765741.
Carlson, M., Robinson, S., Lewis, S. C., & Berkowitz, D. A. (2018). Journalism studies and its core commitments: The making of a communication field. Journal of Communication, 68(1), 6-25.
Molyneux, L., Holton, A., & Lewis, S. C. (2018). How journalists engage in branding on Twitter: individual, organizational, and institutional levels. Information, Communication and Society, 21(10), 1386–1401.
Lewis, S. C., & Usher, N. (2016). Trading zones, boundary objects, and the pursuit of news innovation: A case study of journalists and programmers. Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies, 22(5), 543-560.
Chyi, H. I., Lewis, S. C., & Zheng, N. (2016). Parasite or partner? Coverage of Google News in an era of news aggregation. Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, 93(4), 789-815.
Holton, A. E., Lewis, S. C., & Coddington, M. (2016). Interacting with audiences: Journalistic role conceptions, reciprocity, and perceptions about participation. Journalism Studies, 17(7), 849-859.
Lewis, S. C. (2015). Journalism in an era of big data: Cases, concepts, and critiques. Digital Journalism, 3(3), 321-330.
Lewis, S. C. (2015). Reciprocity as a key concept for social media and society. Social Media + Society, 1(1).
Zamith, R., & Lewis, S. C. (2015). Content Analysis and the Algorithmic Coder: What Computational Social Science Means for Traditional Modes of Media Analysis. The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science. (Published in a special issue, “Toward Computational Social Science: Big Data in Digital Environments.”)
Lewis, S. C., & Westlund, O. (2015). Big Data and Journalism: Epistemology, Expertise, Economics, and Ethics. Digital Journalism.
Lewis, S. C., & Westlund, O. (2015). Actors, actants, audiences, and activities in cross-media news work: A matrix and a research agenda. Digital Journalism, 3(1), 19-37. doi:10.1080/21670811.2014.92798
Lewis, S. C., & Usher, N. (2014). Code, Collaboration, and the Future of Journalism: A Case Study of the Hacks/Hackers Global Network. Digital Journalism, 2(3), 383-393. doi:10.1080/21670811.2014.895504
Westlund, O., & Lewis, S. C. (2014). Agents of Media Innovations: Actors, Actants, and Audiences. The Journal of Media Innovations, 1(2), 10-35. doi:10.5617/jmi.v1i2.856
Lewis, S. C., Holton, A. E., & Coddington, M. (2014). Reciprocal Journalism: A Concept of Mutual Exchange Between Journalists and Audiences. Journalism Practice, 8(2), 229-241. doi:10.1080/17512786.2013.859840
Zamith, R., & Lewis, S. C. (2014). From public spaces to public sphere: Rethinking systems for reader comments on online news sites. Digital Journalism, 2(4), 558-574. doi:10.1080/21670811.2014.882066
Hermida, A., Lewis, S. C., & Zamith, R. (2014). Sourcing the Arab Spring: A Case Study of Andy Carvin’s Sources on Twitter During the Tunisian and Egyptian Revolutions. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 19(3), 479-499. doi:10.1111/jcc4.12074 Download
Lee, A., Lewis, S. C., & Powers, M. J. (2014). Audience Clicks and News Placement: A Study of Time-Lagged Influence in Online Journalism. Communication Research, 41(4), 505-530. doi:10.1177/0093650212467031
Lewis, S. C., & Usher, N. (2013). Open Source and Journalism: Toward New Frameworks for Imagining News Innovation. Media, Culture & Society, 35(5), 602-619. doi:10.1177/016344371348549
Lewis, S. C., Zamith, R., & Hermida, A. (2013). Content Analysis in an Era of Big Data: A Hybrid Approach to Computational and Manual Methods. Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, 57(1), 34–52. doi:10.1080/08838151.2012.76170
Aitamurto, T., &Lewis, S. C. (2013). Open Innovation in Digital Journalism: Examining the Impact of Open APIs at Four News Organizations. New Media & Society, 15(2), 314-331. doi:10.1177/1461444812450682
Lewis, S. C. (2012). The Tension Between Professional Control and Open Participation: Journalism and its Boundaries. Information, Communication & Society, 15(6), 836-866. doi:10.1080/1369118X.2012.674150
Lewis, S. C. (2012). From Journalism to Information: The Transformation of the Knight Foundation and News Innovation. Mass Communication and Society, 15(3), 309-334. doi:10.1080/15205436.2011.611607
Chyi, H. I., Lewis, S. C., & Zheng, N. (2012). A Matter of Life and Death? Examining How Newspapers Covered the Newspaper Crisis. Journalism Studies, 13(3), 305-324. doi:10.1080/1461670X.2011.629090
Lasorsa, D. L., Lewis, S. C., & Holton, A. E. (2012). Normalizing Twitter: Journalism Practice in an Emerging Communication Space. Journalism Studies, 13(1), 19-36. doi:10.1080/1461670X.2011.571825
Lewis, S. C. (2011). Journalism Innovation and Participation: An Analysis of the Knight News Challenge. International Journal of Communication, 5, 1623-1648.
Holton, A., & Lewis, S. C. (2011). Journalists, Social Media, and the Use of Humor on Twitter. The Electronic Journal of Communication / La Revue Electronic de Communication, 21(1-2).
Gil de Zúñiga, H., Lewis, S. C., Hinsley, A. W., Valenzuela, S., Lee, J. K., & Baresch, B. (2011). Blogging as a Journalistic Practice: A Model Linking Perception, Motivation, and Behavior. Journalism: Theory, Practice, Criticism, 12(5), 586-606. doi:10.1177/1464884910388230
Lewis, S. C., Kaufhold, K., & Lasorsa, D. L. (2010). Thinking about Citizen Journalism: The Philosophical and Practical Challenges of User-Generated Content for Community Newspapers. Journalism Practice, 4(2), 163-179. doi:10.1080/14616700903156919
Areas of Expertise
- Journalism studies
- Media innovation
- Emerging technologies
- Social media
- Digital culture
- Technology and society