Hodson awarded Insight Development Grant


Jaigris Hodson, assistant professor in the Office of Interdisciplinary Studies, has been awarded an Insight Development Grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. Her research project Election News, Local Information and Community Discourse: Is Twitter the New Public Sphere? was fully funded with the $54,260 grant.

Hodson, the principal investigator, notes that in an election year, the rights of the Canadian public to access political information at both a local and national level rise to the fore. Unfortunately, access to information is currently contested, as emerging technologies are challenged for their ability to take the place of declining local newspapers and television broadcasters, she says. This project examines whether Twitter is effective at providing locally-relevant political information during election time. Specifically it looks at whether small communities underserved by traditional media can use Twitter to access political information that is relevant to them, or if in contrast, the information available through Twitter is only relevant on a national level.

The project is a partnership between Hodson and April Lindgren, journalism, Ryerson University. It blends technology studies, critical political economy, journalism studies, and computer mediated linguistic analysis to take a multi-disciplinary approach to the study of online and traditional communication flows.