Seth Lewis

Seth Lewis profile picture
  • Title: Professor and Shirley Papé Chair in Emerging Media
  • Additional Title: Director of Journalism
  • Phone: 541-346-7342
  • Office: 235 Allen Hall
  • City: Eugene
  • Interests: digital journalism, journalism studies, emerging media, news communities, algorithms and automation, media sociology, media work, social media
  • Website: Website
  • Research Website: Research
  • Curriculum Vitae

Biography

Seth C. Lewis (Ph.D., University of Texas at Austin) is Professor, Director of Journalism, and the founding holder of the Shirley Papé Chair in Emerging Media in the School of Journalism and Communication at the University of Oregon. He is 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 a recent visiting fellow at the University of Oxford's Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism. He is Chair of the International Communication Association's Journalism Studies Division, the world's largest group dedicated to the study of journalism.

Lewis' research focuses on the social implications of emerging technologies, with emphasis on what such dynamics mean for journalism—from how news is made (news production) to how people make sense of it in their everyday lives (news consumption).

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 major 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 and other actors 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 people make sense of truth, trust, and perceived media bias, particularly in an increasingly divisive political climate. Second, he studies threats to the press as an institution — including growing forms of harassment against journalists — with the aim of better understanding the consequences of journalism under duress and the evolving relationships between journalists and audiences. Third, he explores the interplay of humans and machines in news and media work, with the aim of better assessing the social implications of algorithms, automation, and artificial intelligence.

In terms of contributions to theory and conceptual development, 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 helped advance the emerging field of human-machine communication (HMC), focusing on 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). Along with co-authors Matt Carlson and Sue Robinson, he has a forthcoming book with Oxford University Press on journalistic relevance in the Trump era and beyond.

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, has lectured at leading universities internationally, and has offered expert testimony to the UK House of Lords.

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.

Born the second of nine children, he began working as a reporter when he was 16 — for The Outlook in Gresham, Oregon — and eventually became Assistant Sports Editor for The Miami Herald before he left full-time professional journalism to pursue an academic career.

Education

PhD, University of Texas at Austin
MBA, Barry University
BA in Communications, Brigham Young University

Publications

[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.

Lewis, S. C., Sanders, A. K., & Carmody, C. (2019). Libel by algorithm? Automated journalism and the threat of legal liability. Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, 96(1), 60–81.

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 frameworkNew 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 ConceptJournalism 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 AnalysisThe 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 EthicsDigital Journalism.

Lewis, S. C., & Westlund, O. (2015). Actors, actants, audiences, and activities in cross-media news work: A matrix and a research agendaDigital 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 NetworkDigital Journalism, 2(3), 383-393. doi:10.1080/21670811.2014.895504

Westlund, O., & Lewis, S. C. (2014). Agents of Media Innovations: Actors, Actants, and AudiencesThe 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 AudiencesJournalism 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 sitesDigital 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 JournalismCommunication 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 InnovationMedia, 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 MethodsJournal 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 OrganizationsNew 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 BoundariesInformation, 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 InnovationMass 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 CrisisJournalism 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 SpaceJournalism 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 ChallengeInternational Journal of Communication, 5, 1623-1648.

Holton, A., & Lewis, S. C. (2011). Journalists, Social Media, and the Use of Humor on TwitterThe 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 BehaviorJournalism: 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 NewspapersJournalism 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