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Media Disruption: Using Web Archives to Understand Change in the News Industry

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Media Disruption: Using Web Archives to Understand Change in the News Industry

Over the course of the past 25 years, numerous technologies has been associated with major disruption in the US news industry. The advent of the World Wide Web was one of the first major technologies to impact the news industry, followed by Web 2.0 technologies, social media and mobile platforms. Using extensive collections of archived Web data, this talk presents research on the evolution of the traditional print newspaper industry into an online news ecosystem by examining change across the news media system. A series of snapshots are examined, including the emergence of online news on the early Web, and the more recent efforts of the online news industry to adapt to mobile and social platforms.

Findings from this research underscore the stark differences in the structure of early online news media as compared to the industry as it stands today, but also point to the impact of critical resources (employees, access to knowledge, capital) on the growth of online news media and the capacity to adapt. This research is one of the first studies to leverage a large dataset of archived Web pages in order to analyze the adaptation process. More than 5 million webpages, covering more than 25,000 unique websites, were analyzed as part of this research.

Thus, in addition to discussing changes in the news industry, this lecture further outlines the challenges and opportunities for using archival Internet data in research. The study of news media provides a strong case study for the importance of Web archiving, and the research presented demonstrates the validity of social science research that incorporates archival Web analysis as a core tool for digital scholarship.

Matthew S. Weber Biography:

Matthew Weber is an Assistant Professor in the Rutgers School of Communication and Information, and Co-Director of Rutgers’ NetSCI Network Science research lab. Matthew’s research examines organizational change and adaptation in response to new information communication technology. His recent work focuses on the transformation of the news media industry in the United States in reaction to new forms of media production. This includes a large-scale longitudinal study examining strategies employed by media organizations for disseminating news and information in online networks. He is also leading an initiative to provide researchers with access to the Internet Archives (archive.org) in order to study digital traces of organizational networks. Matthew utilizes mixed methods in his work, including social network analysis, archival research and interviews. His research has been published in leading academic journals, including Journal of Communication and American Behavioral Scientist, and his work is supported by a number of organizations, including the National Science Foundation and the William T. Grant Foundation. Matthew received his PhD in 2010 from the Annenberg School of Journalism and Communication at the University of Southern California.

This event is open to the public. Attendees without a valid GWorld card will need to show a government-issued ID at the front desk to sign into the Gelman building.  

Event Date and Time: 
Friday, September 16, 2016 -
12:00pm to 1:30pm
Event Location: 
Gelman Library, Room 219
Event Type: 
Event Format: 
RSVP Required: 
No RSVP required for this event
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