Social Networks in Media

“When I attend journalism conferences around the country, everyone seems to have some sort of connection to Carolina,” said Josh Barker, Roy H. Park Doctoral Fellow at the UNC Hussman School of Journalism and Media. “The faculty is supportive rather than restrictive. There are open door policies with everybody, so I feel like I can walk into any professor’s office and never be turned away.” 

Inspired by faculty and classes within the Hussman School, Barker has begun a research project that analyzes the effects that social networks have on the way people interpret media. Since beginning this project, Barker has received a 2019 National Institutes of Health (NIH) “seed” grant to use network methods to study how the structure and composition of a young adult’s social environment might be associated with attitudes about using e-cigarettes. 

“Basically, the way that we talk about media and the way that we talk about health campaigns has largely been shaped by psychology,” said Barker. “If we can figure out a way that people process information, we can see how people respond to persuasive messages or advertisements or public health campaigns and have a better sense of what certain media efforts are going to do.”

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