Alumna Qun Wang, Ph.D. ’20, has won two prestigious awards for her doctoral dissertation, “Normalization and Differentiation in Google News: A Multimethod Analysis of the World’s Largest News Aggregator.” The Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication has named her the recipient of the Nafziger-White-Salwen Dissertation Award, and the International Communication Association Journalism Studies Division awarded her an honorable mention in the 2020 Outstanding Dissertation in Journalism Studies Award.
Wang, who graduated from SC&I with a doctoral degree in January 2020, and will begin a tenure-track faculty position at Fordham University in the fall of 2020, said her dissertation “is a timely study that responds to the ongoing conversation about the role of digital platforms and the future of journalism with important implications for policymaking and the development of the news ecosystem in the digital age.”
“From an idea to a doctoral dissertation, it took years for this project to grow,” Wang said. “I’m so honored and humbled that the study received recognition from AEJMC and ICA. I want to share these honors with my family, my advisor Susan Keith, and committee members Philip Napoli, Matthew Weber, and Seth Lewis. It wouldn’t have been possible without their support along the way.”
The AEJMC’s Nafziger-White-Salwen Dissertation Award is 36 years old, and Wang is the first Rutgers alumna to be named the recipient. According to the AEJMC, The Nafziger-White-Salwen Dissertation Award is an AEJMC-wide award that “provides recognition for the best Ph.D. dissertation in the field of mass communication research excellence.”Wang will receive the Nafziger-White-Salwen Dissertation Award at the AEJMC’s conference which will be held virtually from August 6-9, 2020.
The ICA’s Outstanding Dissertation in Journalism Studies Award recognizes doctoral dissertation research that “explains, enlightens, inspires, and improves the practice and study of journalism and communication.” This year, the award received “inspiring and ambitious dissertations coming from eight different countries.” During the 2020 ICA conference, held virtually this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Award Committee chair commented that Wang’s dissertation was “a very innovative and well-researched dissertation that makes substantial contribution not only to the field of journalism studies but more generally to communication theory.”
Describing her dissertation, Wang said, it “is a multi-method analysis of Google’s news aggregation service, in terms of its history, evolution, and influence over the past two decades. The dissertation examines the origin of Google News, the evolution of its homepage, international disputes between Google and news publishers; Google’s news-related technologies and algorithms; and Google’s systematic initiatives in the news area. Based on the multi-dimensional analysis and drawing on normalization and differentiation frameworks, this dissertation proposes a new theoretical model to conceptualize Google’s development in the news area and its relationship with the news industry. Through the analysis of Google, this dissertation makes empirical and theoretical contributions to better understand the changing media and technology environment in the twenty-first century.”
Explaining the many ways earning her doctorate at SC&I has benefitted her, and how her experience at Rutgers will impact her career in the future, Wang said, “My Ph.D. years at SC&I have taught me how to be an academic with commitment to research, teaching, and service. I look forward to continuing this commitment in my new role as an assistant professor at the Department of Communication and Media Studies at Fordham University, where I’ll teach courses about journalism, technology, and communication.”