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Biography

Seth C. Lewis (Ph.D., University of Texas at Austin) is Professor, Director of Journalism, and the founding holder of the Shirley Papé Chair in Emerging Media in the School of Journalism and Communication at the University of Oregon. He is a fellow with the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University, an affiliate fellow of the Information Society Project at Yale Law School, an affiliated faculty member of the University of Oregon's Agora Journalism Center and Center for Science Communication Research, and a recent visiting fellow at the University of Oxford's Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism. From 2020 to 2022, he served as the elected Chair of the International Communication Association's Journalism Studies Division, the world's largest scholarly group dedicated to the study of journalism.

Lewis is an internationally recognized expert on news and technology, with more than 10,000 citations to a body of work that includes nearly 100 journal articles and book chapters — in addition to the recent book News After Trump: Journalism's Crisis of Relevance in a Changed Media Culture, co-authored with Matt Carlson and Sue Robinson and published by Oxford University Press.

His research, which broadly addresses the social implications of emerging technologies, focuses on the digital transformation of journalism — from how news is made (news production) to how people make sense of it in their everyday lives (news consumption).

During the past decade, he has been a leader in studying innovations in digital journalism, both in examining developments in journalistic practice as well as in introducing new conceptual frameworks for making sense of change. In 2009, he co-organized one of the first major studies of journalists’ use of social media, in an article that has become one of the most-cited papers in the field (Lasorsa, Lewis, & Holton, 2012). Since that time, Lewis’ research has examined developments in digital audience analytics/metrics, open innovation processes, and computer programming and software development, as well as the role and influence of nonprofit foundations and other actors in shaping news innovation (see Google Scholar for a complete list of papers).

Lewis' present work in journalism studies focuses on three areas. First, he examines the lived experience of news in everyday life, seeking to understand how people make sense of truth, trust, and perceived media bias, particularly in an increasingly divisive political climate. Second, he studies threats to the press as an institution — including growing forms of harassment against journalists — with the aim of better understanding the consequences of journalism under duress and the evolving relationships between journalists and audiences (as evident in the new book News After Trump). Third, he explores the interplay of humans and machines in news and media work, with the aim of better assessing the social implications of algorithms, automation, and artificial intelligence.

In terms of contributions to theory and conceptual development, Lewis and colleagues have proposed a model for interpreting the boundaries of journalism (Carlson & Lewis, 2015) as well as the boundaries of journalism studies as a field of inquiry (Carlson, Robinson, Lewis, & Berkowitz, 2018). Lewis and colleagues also have developed a framework for envisioning the interplay of social actors and technological actants in media organizations (Lewis & Westlund, 2015), with an emphasis on what such approaches mean for fostering and evaluating innovation in media and journalism (Westlund & Lewis, 2014). Additionally, he and his collaborators have helped advance the emerging field of human-machine communication (HMC), focusing on its application to automation and journalism (Lewis, Guzman, & Schmidt, 2019) as well as "communicative AI" more broadly (Guzman & Lewis, 2019).

Lewis also has co-authored and co-edited several books, from the recent book News After Trump to the 2015 book Boundaries of Journalism: Professionalism, Practices and Participation (Routledge).

He is a two-time winner of the International Communication Association’s award for Outstanding Article of the Year in Journalism Studies — in 2016 for the article “Actors, Actants, Audiences, and Activities in Cross-Media News Work,” and in 2013 for “The Tension Between Professional Control and Open Participation: Journalism and its Boundaries,” as well as an honorable mention distinction in 2014 for “Open Source and Journalism: Toward New Frameworks for Imagining News Innovation.”

Lewis is on the boards of many journals, including New Media & Society, International Journal of Press/Politics, Journalism, Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, and Social Media + Society. He is a frequent reviewer for funding agencies around the world, has lectured at leading universities internationally, and has offered expert testimony to the UK House of Lords.

Previously, he was an associate professor and Mitchell V. Charnley Faculty Fellow at the University of Minnesota–Twin Cities, held a visiting appointment with Stanford University’s Program in Science, Technology & Society, and was a Fulbright Scholar to Spain. He has a Ph.D. from the School of Journalism at the University of Texas at Austin, an M.B.A. from Barry University, and a B.A. in Communications from Brigham Young University.

Born the second of nine children, he began working as a reporter when he was 16 — for The Outlook in Gresham, Oregon — and eventually became Assistant Sports Editor for The Miami Herald before he left full-time professional journalism to pursue an academic career.