USC Graduate Fellowship Spotlight – Graduate School Endowed college scholarships and Annenberg Fellowship

USC Graduate Fellowship Spotlight – Graduate School Endowed college scholarships and Annenberg Fellowship

[Music] in today’s world when breaking news happens people are increasingly turning to social media to get information my name is Alex Levitt and I have received a graduate school endowed fellowship and Annenberg college scholarships I basically studied the Internet the particular research that I’m focusing on from my dissertation is looking at a website called reddit and how people collaborate on breaking news situations Retta is a social news site there are millions of people that visit the site every day people submit links people vote and download so

I’ve collected a huge range of data from reddit over the past seven years I have about 2 billion server log messages right now so what I’ve done is essentially set up a database which is optimized to do searching across all of the texts and I’m using that just generally understand how people use reddit and what role News plays for them on the site a good example would be like an earthquake in Los Angeles you’re sitting at home you’re maybe watching Netflix in bed and then suddenly your house starts shaking so you can go on Los Angeles’s subreddit which is a community dedicated to things that happen in the city and maybe you see a post about an earthquake that happened what’s interesting though is

that maybe there are six and then twelve and then 24 posts because people are checking in saying hey did you feel that in a matter of an hour you have hundreds of comments hundreds of uploads and suddenly everyone’s collaborated on a breaking news event before it has even hit the local airwaves and then the next day you see on the news hey we had an earthquake but you already knew about it five ten minutes after it happened I’ve done over 50 interviews with different people on reddit I’m finding specific instances where people collected information to read the breaking news event and talking to them about

what their mindset was at the time how they got involved how they collaborated with other people and specifically needs more journalistic questions what kind of sources they were looking at how they verified the information and what kind of value that had as news if we can understand how people are doing these new forms or collaboration we can hopefully change those platforms in different ways to make that collaboration and coordination better in the future