My research is informed by my professional experience as a journalist as well as my long-standing interest in technology, computer programming, and digital data, and applies a scholarly lens to the changing natures of journalism and how we study it. Specifically, my research explores three distinct but interconnected streams: (1) the reconfiguration of journalism, (2) the development of digital research methods, and (3) the mediation of public and foreign affairs.
The first stream is driven by the following overarching question: How is journalism changing and being changed by the adoption of new information technologies, the proliferation of technology-oriented actors in newsrooms, and a greater emphasis on data? I have explored this stream of research by looking at how news innovators are reimagining the intersection of journalism and technology, and specifically networked discursive spaces on news sites, as well as how sourcing practices are evolving in an era of networked digital media. In addressing this question, I have turned to theories pertaining to news innovation, boundary objects, and the public sphere. Additionally, I have participated in the study of the grassroots group Hacks/Hackers and the concept of "hacker journalism." I recently explored the extent and nature of the impact audience metrics are having on the presentation of news content. This stream has been particularly useful in furthering scholars’ understanding of the social role and impact of technology on professional media practice and products.
The second stream is primarily methodological in nature and focuses on the development and refinement of research methods in mass communication research. It is driven by the following organizing question: What does the emergence of computational social science mean for mass communication research, and how can researchers leverage computational methods to tackle novel questions and engage in more rigorous work? My work in this area has been largely influenced by my experiences conducting empirical research and my computer programming expertise. Specifically, I have conceptually explored the method of content analysis in an era of large datasets and amidst a turn toward computational social science, focusing on the development of a hybrid approach that harmonizes computational and manual applications of content analysis. I recently developed a computational approach for automatically capturing and analyzing aesthetic features of "liquid" online content, focusing on assessing changes on the homepages of various news organizations. These works have been particularly useful in helping scholars understand how computational methods can be effectively used to enhance traditional approaches to mass communication research. I have also conducted research looking at how changes in media use impact the quality of research using traditional methods.
The third stream is focuses on public and international affairs are mediated, and is driven by the following organizing question: How do news media interpret and disseminate news content pertaining to foreign affairs? This work is primarily influenced by theories of gatekeeping, agenda-setting, and framing, and often incorporates a comparative framework crossing boundaries. Among this work are cross-national comparisons of the news coverage of climate change, the 2011 Egyptian revolution, and immigration, as well as the exploration of the key contextual determinants of foreign nation visibility and the constituents of the U.S. 'elite press.' These studies have advanced scholarly understanding of the mediation of public and foreign affairs and its implications for public understanding, as well as the impact of macro-level factors on media content.
- Zamith, R. (2017). A Computational Approach for Examining the Comparability of ‘Most-Viewed Lists’ on Online News Sites. Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1177/1077699017714223
- Lewis, S. C., & Zamith, R. (2017). On the Worlds of Journalism. In P. J. Boczkowski & C. W. Anderson (Eds.), Remaking the News: Essays on the Future of Journalism Scholarship in the Digital Age (pp. 111–128). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
- Zamith, R. (2016). On Metrics-Driven Homepages: Assessing the relationship between popularity and prominence. Journalism Studies. Advance online publication. https://dx.doi.org/10.1080/1461670X.2016.1262215
- Zamith, R. (2016). Capturing and Analyzing Liquid Content: A computational process for freezing and analyzing mutable documents. Journalism Studies. Advance online publication. https://dx.doi.org/10.1080/1461670X.2016.1146083
- Zamith, R., & Lewis, S.C. (2015). Content Analysis and the Algorithmic Coder: What Computational Social Science Means for Traditional Modes of Media Analysis. ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 659(1), 307-318. https://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0002716215570576
- Watson, B.R., Zamith, R., Cavanah, S., & Lewis, S. C. (2015). Are Demographics Adequate Controls for Cell Phone-Only Coverage Bias in Mass Communication Research? Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, 92(3), 723-743. https://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1077699015589187
- Zamith, R., & Lewis, S. C. (2014). From Public Spaces to Public Sphere: Rethinking Systems for Reader Comments on Online News Sites. Digital Journalism, 2(4), 558–574. https://dx.doi.org/10.1080/21670811.2014.882066
- Hermida, A., Lewis, S. C., & Zamith, R. (2014). Sourcing the Arab Spring: A Case Study of Andy Carvin’s Sources During the Tunisian and Egyptian Revolutions. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 19(3), 479–499. https://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jcc4.12074
- Lewis, S. C., Zamith, R., & Hermida, A. (2013). Content Analysis in an Era of Big Data: A Hybrid Approach to Computational and Manual Methods. Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, 57(1), 34–52. https://dx.doi.org/10.1080/08838151.2012.761702
- Zamith, R., Pinto, J., & Villar, M. E. (2013). Constructing Climate Change in the Americas: An Analysis of News Coverage in U.S. and South American Newspapers. Science Communication, 35(3), 334–357. https://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1075547012457470
- Zamith, R. (2013). Just Off the Wire: AP's and AFP's Coverage of Immigration in France and the United States. In G. Dell'Orto & V. Birchfield (Eds.), Reporting at the Southern Borders: Journalism and Public Debates on Immigration in the US and EU (pp. 84–100). New York: Routledge.
- Bennett, S., & Zamith, R. (2013). A (More) Humanitarian Take: Al-Jazeera English and Arabic's Coverage of Immigration in the West. In G. Dell'Orto & V. Birchfield (Eds.), Reporting at the Southern Borders: Journalism and Public Debates on Immigration in the US and EU (pp. 126–138). New York: Routledge.
- Villar, M. E., Concha, M., & Zamith, R. (2012). Health Beliefs and Attitudes of Latino Immigrants: Rethinking Acculturation as a Constant. Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health, 14(5), 885-889. https://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10903-012-9579-5
- Villar, M. E., & Zamith, R. (2011). Comparing Frequency of Online News Coverage, Worldwide Mortality and Perceived Risk of Leading Diseases and Injuries: Challenging Paradigms in the New Media Landscape. Journal of Health & Mass Communication, 3(1-4), 191-204.
For a complete, up-to-date list of conference presentations, book chapters, and workshops, please see my Curriculum Vitae