The relaunched Center for Media Engagement hopes to learn how audiences interact with media in fields outside journalism, center director Talia Stroud said.
The Moody College of Communication announced last Monday that the Center for Media Engagement, a research initiative that studies media and audience engagement, will succeed the Engaging News Project, which launched in 2012. Stroud said she hopes the center will broaden its research beyond the news media and look at other fields such as advertising and health care.
“Our hope is that we can think about media engagement in all the places that media engagement could happen,” Stroud said. “Engagement means working with your audiences and thinking about how you’re serving them in different ways.”
Stroud said she sees media engagement as a necessary tool in today’s changing media environment, where news organizations still need to learn the best ways to engage with audiences.
“There’s so much work that needs to be done to find out what the best practices are,” Stroud said. “They’re going to change over time — what works this year might not work two years from now. There’s a tremendous need for organizations like this that can help news organizations navigate these new techniques and what works and what doesn’t.”
Communication studies junior Alex Purcell, an undergraduate research assistant for the center, said she looks forward to researching new technology.
“If we’re going to promote being progressive on campus, we should definitely be reading the news and keeping up with what’s going on,” Purcell said. “I’m also interested in how people get the news, especially in this era of fake news.”
Undergraduate research assistant Brooke Decker said her knowledge of news engagement has helped her explain to those around her how to interpret news.
“I think it’s your civic duty to inform yourself and others around you and be really mindful of what news sources you’re seeking out,” journalism junior Decker said. “I think it’s very crucial for everybody to engage with news whether you’re a journalist or not.”
Decker said she hopes the relaunch will cause more people to be aware of the center and its research.
Research conducted by the center will remain relevant for years to come, Stroud said.
“Relaunching as the Center for Media Engagement demonstrates that this is an established entity and that it has some long-term plans,” Stroud said.