Guns in America, News and Public Opinion

Wednesday, 23 March 2022, 9:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. on Zoom

Through this talk, Guo will discuss her recent work that examines the impact of mainstream and partisan media exposure on individuals’ political opinions and social media expression regarding an important and highly polarized issue in the United States: gun violence. Specifically, this project uses the state-of-the-art machine-learning model Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers (BERT) to examine 25 news medias’ coverage of gun violence and then pairs the results with a two-wave panel survey conducted during the 2018 U.S. midterm elections. Despite the continuing attacks on the mainstream media and the public’s declining faith in the press, the research findings consistently suggest that mainstream media are more powerful than partisan media in shaping audience opinions and encouraging actions, thus contributing to a more informed and active public. The presentation will also discuss the importance of combining computational techniques and traditional social science research methods to examine and advance communication theories. Finally, she will introduce an open-sourced tool OpenFraming AI, which enables researchers with little to no computational background to conduct computational research of “big data.”

LEI GUO is Associate Professor in the Division of Emerging Media Studies at College of Communication, Boston University. Her research focuses mainly on the development of media effects theories, emerging media and international communication, and computational social science methodologies. Dr. Guo’s research has been published widely in leading peer-reviewed journals including the Journal of Communication, Communication Research, and Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly. Her co-edited book The Power of Information Networks: New Directions for Agenda Setting introduces a new theoretical perspective to understand media effects in this emerging media landscape. 

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Organized by Centre for Media and Communication Research and Research Postgraduate Studies Program, School of Communication and Film