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Homero Gil de Zúñiga – A Brave New Digital World for Traditional Journalism and Politics, Understanding the Effects of Social Network Sites and Citizen Journalism

Thursday, October 14, 2010
12:30 pm


Sherrerd Hall, 3rd floor open space
Princeton, NJ 08544 United States + Google Map

Food and discussion begins at 12:30 pm. Everyone invited.

The contribution of professional journalism to democratic citizenship has been well-established by previous research. Academics point out that traditional news consumption activates people’s engagement civically and politically, as well as it facilitates the democratic process. The development of new information technologies, based on user-generated news and the exchange of information via social networks, begs the question of whether citizen journalism and social network sites play a similar role. Relying on originally collected US national data in 2008/2009, results show that after controlling not only for demographic variables but also for traditional media use, the use of traditional sources of information online and individuals network size, seeking information via SNS or citizen journalism venues positively predicts peoples’ civic and political – online and offline – participatory behaviors. Taken together, these findings suggest that new information technologies may represent a unique path to citizenship and that it may complement the democratic role of professional and traditional journalism.


Homero Gil de Zúñiga, Ph.D. in Politics at Universidad Europea de Madrid (2006) and Ph.D. in Mass Communication at University of Wisconsin – Madison (2008), is assistant professor at University of Texas – Austin. He’s been participant of the National Communication Association’s Doctoral Honors Seminar (2005) and the Summer Doctoral Program in the Oxford Internet Institute at the University of Oxford (2006). Currently he serves as appointed Nieman Journalism Research Fellow at Harvard University.

Professor Gil de Zúñiga heads the CJCR research unit (Community, Journalism and Communication Research) in the School of Journalism at UT, focusing on all forms of new technologies and digital media and their effects on society. In particular, he investigates the influence of Internet use in people’s daily lives as well as the effect of such use on the overall democratic process.

He has published about 20 articles in a diverse number of peer-reviewed journals illustrating his research framework including Journal of Information Technology & Politics, Communication Research, IT & Society, New Media & Society, Journalism: Theory, Practice & Criticism, Mass Communication & Society, Computers in Human Behavior, Human Communication Research, Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly or Comunicación y Ciudadanía among others.

Professor Gil de Zúñiga has received a number of grants and awards totaling over $60,000 and has presented his work at professional associations and Universities around the globe (i.e, USA, Spain, Canada, Mexico, Malaysia, Cuba, United Kingdom, Germany or Colombia).

Homero Gil de Zúñiga