University of Minnesota


DTC Seminar Series

Data Science, Digital Archives and Media Research


Matthew S. Weber
Cowles Endowed Fellow for Media Management
Hubbard School of Journalism and Mass Communication

Wednesday, February 6, 2019
3:30 p.m. reception
4:00 p.m. seminar

401/402 Walter Library

Matthew S. Weber

Data science is often described as the intersection of social science and computer science scholarship. This talk will present research at the intersection of these two domains of work, focusing on the ways in which digital archives are increasingly being utilized in media research. Dramatic changes in the news media industry in recent decades have occurred in tandem with the evolution of the Web. Archived webpages are a critical source of data for understanding the current state of the news media industry, as well as how the industry has changed over time. A 2012 U.S. survey by the nonprofit Educopia found that most U.S. newspaper respondents maintain digital news records for fewer than five years, without ensuring the longevity of such records; similar trends are echoed in the EU and elsewhere. In turn, although many local news outlets do preserve content and have created their own archives, many of these archives exist in isolation from one another and are challenging for others to access. This presentation will discuss the challenges that exist with regards to the archiving and accessing large-scale dynamic data, and will discuss a number of technical approaches to engaging in research in this area based on recent research analyzing trends in local news media.


Matthew Weber is an Associate Professor in the Hubbard School of Journalism and Mass Communication and is the Cowles Endowed Fellow of Media Management. Matthew is a computational social scientist and an expert on organizational change in news media. He has conducted a number of large-scale longitudinal studies examining change strategies employed by media organizations. He has also examined how news media organizations evolve through changes in media production as well as changes in hiring patterns. His recent work focuses on local news organizations and changes in pattern of local news dissemination. More broadly, Matthew focuses on processes of organizational change and adaptation; this includes a focus on understanding how policy and policymaking processes impact organizational change and information ecosystems. From a methodological perspective, Matthew is leading an initiative to provide researchers with improved access to social media datasets, including development of new tools for research. His work is funded by the National Science Foundation, William T. Grant Foundation, Institute of Museum and Library Services, and others. Matthew’s work has been widely published in leading academic journals, as well as in the popular press. Matthew received his PhD in 2010 from the Annenberg School of Journalism and Communication at the University of Southern California.

Contact Information

Digital Technology Center

499 Walter Library, 117 Pleasant Street SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455

P: (612) 624-9510

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