Scholars to present research on topics such as virtual reality, media economics and viral news

Academic research covering a wide spectrum of online journalism — including using virtual worlds to tell stories, omnipresent journalism, the journalistic use of Twitter and journalists’ views on information security — will be presented at the International Symposium on Online Journalism (ISOJ).

Two panels, one each on Friday, April 15, and Saturday, April 16, will present the results from eight peer-reviewed studies and also provide an opportunity to question the scholars about their research. The research will also be available in the latest issue of the #ISOJ Journal to be released at the symposium, and on the #ISOJ Journal website.

Amy Schmitz Weiss, ISOJ research chair
Amy Schmitz Weiss, ISOJ research chair

“This year was quite competitive and we have an excellent set of eight papers for this year’s ISOJ,” said Amy Schmitz Weiss, the ISOJ research chair and associate professor at San Diego State University.

“This year’s research component of the ISOJ features research work in virtual reality and immersive storytelling, the evolution of digital native news organizations, media economics issues for the industry and digital security concerns for journalists.

“I am very excited to see our researchers present at this year’s ISOJ. We have a stellar group of scholars this year.”

Rosental Alves, ISOJ founder and chair, and a professor at the School of Journalism, University of Texas at Austin, is equally proud of the research component at the 17th annual ISOJ.

“During the first years, ISOJ was a professional, industry-oriented conference. Since 2005, we have had this peer-review process that selects the best research papers to be presented at the conference and published in the #ISOJ Journal,” Alves said. “We became a bridge connecting the online journalism industry with relevant scholarly research.”

Schmitz Weiss will chair the research panel starting at 4:45 p.m. U.S. Central Standard Time (CST) on Friday, April 15. Scholars taking part in this panel, and the titles of their articles, include:

• James Breiner, University of Navarra, “The economics of accountability journalism: What price is right?”

• Susan McGregor and Elizabeth Anne Watkins, Columbia University, “’Security by obscurity’: Journalists’ mental models of information security.”

• Leonard Witt, Farooq Kperogi, Claire Bohrer, and Solomon Negash, Kennesaw University, and Gwenette Writer Sinclair, CEO/Owner, 1 Virtual World Development, “Journalism: How one university used virtual worlds to tell true stories.”

• Jeremy Littau, Lehigh University and Mi Rosie Jahng, Hope College, “Interactivity, social presence, and journalistic use of Twitter.”

On Saturday, April 16, from 11:30-12:45 p.m. CST, Kathleen McElroy, an assistant professor at Oklahoma State University, will chair the second academic panel, focusing on the following research.

• Lu Wu, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, “Did you get the buzz? Are digital native media becoming mainstream?”

• Zhaoxi Liu, Trinity University, “Toward omnipresent journalism: A case study of the real-time coverage of the San Antonio Spurs’ 2014 NBA championship game.”

• Danielle Kilgo and Vinicio Sinta, University of Texas at Austin, “6 things you didn’t know about headline writing: Sensational form in viral news of traditional and digitally native news organizations.”

• Hans Meyer and Burton Speakman, Ohio University, “Quieting the commenters: The Spiral of Silence’s persistent effect on online news forums.”

The #ISOJ Journal is a terrific resource for scholars and professionals interested in online journalism. In nearly 17 years, the #ISOJ Journal has established itself as a free repository of unique research into the evolution of online journalism, not only in the United States but also around the world. The website offers videos and transcripts of academics’ presentations stretching back to 1999, as well as slide presentations from 2004 to 2016. In addition, PDF versions of the past nine #ISOJ Journals can be downloaded for free.

Research panel
Jane Singer, Joseph Yoo, Terry Britt, and Fiona Martin speak at the 2015 ISOJ on the University of Texas-Austin campus, Apr. 17, 2015. (Gabriel Cristóver Pérez/Knight Center)

Academics’ studies can also be easily accessed on the #ISOJ Journal website, another valuable database for research.

In addition to the two research panels, ISOJ will once again offer a “research breakfast” starting 8 a.m. CST on Saturday, April 16.

Chaired by Pablo Boczkowski, a professor and director of the Master of Science in Leadership for Creative Enterprises at Northwestern University, the discussion over juice and breakfast tacos in the Blanton Museum of Art will tackle this subject: “Trends in online journalism research.”

Joining Boczkowski will be the following scholars: Avery Holton, an assistant professor at the University of Utah, talking about virtual reality and its uses in research and teaching; Paula Poindexter, an associate professor in the School of Journalism at the University of Texas at Austin, discussing “Millennials and mobile”; the topic to be addressed by Josh Scacco, an assistant professor at Purdue University, will be “Engaging the news”; and finally, Elanie Steyn, an associate professor at the University of Oklahoma, will tackle the subject of “Innovation in global journalism education.”

The 17th annual ISOJ will take place April 15-16 at the Blanton Museum of Art on the campus of the University of Texas at Austin.