Exploring the structure of relationships between news organizations, issues, and audience members is key to understanding the media system. The paper I’m posting here (just presented at ICA 2011, Boston) looks into a range of network types available to media researchers: inter-organizational, semantic, issue, hyperlink, and social graphs. It discusses important predictors of tie formation and dissolution – and the theoretical frameworks that can be used to explicate different structural properties. All of this is partly laying the groundwork for my dissertation which looks into predictors of content diversity and homogeneity in a network of media outlets.
[Update, Sep 2012] After receiving good feedback at ICA, I solicited Peter Monge‘s agreement to work with me on this project. Over the span of a year, we restructured and entirely rewrote the article. The revised version will be published in the 2012 Communication Yearbook of the International Communication Association.
“This paper looks into the network mechanisms that underlie the three major parts of a media system: the industry, the content and the audience. It identifies key theoretical frameworks which can explain the formation and dissolution of ties in each of the three areas. The theories and methods outlined in the text are derived from multiple fields: media studies, organizational communication, economics, sociology, and linguistics among others.
The first three sections of the paper outline the main types of networks that can be used to study the media: interorganizational (industry level), semantic (content level) and social (audience level). The last section lists five framework packages (or combined approaches) which, each from its own perspective, can be used to study all three parts of the media system through a network approach.”