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News Media Initiative


An integral part of the RIT School of Media Sciences News Media Initiative is research. RIT faculty, along with students from the Media Sciences Graduate Program, target areas of research that are of vital importance to the news media industry. Areas of research include the analysis of news media business and distribution models, trends in online and print publication, as well as news media typography and design.

To enhance the graduate research experience, the School of Media Sciences has also developed a Graduate Concentration in News Media Management and Technology. This concentration offers courses in multimedia publishing, digital news systems management, media distribution and transmission, as well as media law.

Published RIT Research and Articles:

  • Payment Models for Digital News Content in the US (2011)
    Dr. Patricia Sorce, Ph.D., administrative chair of the RIT School of Print Media and Director of the RIT Printing Industry Center
    Howard Vogl, M.S. Visiting Professor
    Haizhen Zhang, Graduate Student, School of Print Media, RIT

    The economic recession of 2008 and the growth of digital delivery of content has changed the revenue streams in the newspaper industry. For example, some news publishers favor charging readers for online content, while others do not. Those who have already built the pay wall and those who plan to build one in the near future can use several methods to do so. The purpose of this research was to assess the payment models for digital content in news organizations that publish a daily newspaper in the US.
  • Does Print Size Matter for Reading? A review of findings from vision science and typography
    Journal of Vision, August 2011, Volume 5, No. 8
    Gordon E. Legge  (University of Minnesota) and Charles A. Bigelow
    (RIT School of Print Media)

    The size and shape of printed symbols determine the legibility of text. In this paper, the authors focus on print size because of its crucial role in understanding reading performance and its significance in the history and contemporary practice of typography. They present evidence supporting the hypothesis that the distribution of print sizes in historical and contemporary publications falls within the psychophysically defined range of fluent print size—the range over which text can be read at maximum speed. The authors provide new data on the distributions of print sizes in published books and newspapers and in typefounders' specimens, and consider factors influencing these distributions. The article discusses theoretical concepts from vision science concerning visual size coding that help inform our understanding of historical and modern typographical practices. While economic, social, technological, and artistic factors influence type design and selection, we conclude that properties of human visual processing play a dominant role in constraining the distribution of print sizes in common use.
  • RIT Media Independent News Model for Rapid Publishing (2009)
    Michael Riordan, M.S., Lecturer

    This paper presents a model for a news production system optimized for multi-channel publishing outcomes, including a nearly instantaneous newspaper, website and GPS-synchronized publishing feed displayed via Google Earth. Customized modules of open-source software were created to bridge between proprietary hardware and software commonly used in publishing.
  • Evaluating the Viability and Usefulness of a Distribution Center for Commercial and Newspaper Printers (2010)
    Twyla J. Cummings, Ph.D., Paul & Louise Miller Distinguished Professor

    The primary objectives of this research: To introduce the distribution center concept to a select number of print service providers. This will cover physical as well as e-distribution centers; To determine if print service providers are offering any or all of the services outlined in the proposed distribution center model. If so, where are they offered in the company and how are they structured? Are they managed in an organization similar to the model?; To test the validity and viability of the model.
  • A Qualitative Study of Future High Value News Media Audiences (2010)
    Howard Vogl, Visiting Professor

    Considerable quantitative research has been done on news media audiences. However, there is a lack of deep understanding of the portion of the audience that, in the near future, will be of high value to newspaper organizations and their advertisers.  A high value component of the future news media audience is college students. They have above average education levels, which will correspond to above average income and more discretionary spending. Therefore, the goal of this research is to conduct a qualitative analysis of this high value component of the news media audience.
  • Open Publishing Guide - Development: Phase 2 (2009-10)
    Patricia Albanese, Gannett Distinguished Professor
    Matthew H. Bernius, Visiting Assistant Professor

    In 2008, the Open Publishing Lab enlisted students as well as faculty to produce an informative publishing resource entitled “The Open Publishing Guide."  During this time, we developed the foundation of the site. In 2009-2010 we propose to further develop, refine, and evaluate the usefulness of the content, features and tools of the site. Furthermore, we would like to propose a method for on-going maintenance of the site.
  • Typographic Expressiveness of Print Compared to Screen (2009-10)
    Charles Bigelow, Melbert B. Cary Distinguished Professor
    Hye-Jin Nae, Assistant Professor
    Adam Smith, Assistant Professor

    The objective is to test the hypothesis that print provides greater typographic expressiveness than the web. In particular, we will investigate higher-order measures of expressiveness or “personality” using a technique called the “semantic differential,” pioneered by Osgood et al. (1957) and implemented specifically for typefaces by Wendt (1968), Shaikh (2005) and others.
  • An Examination of Business and Workflow Models for US Newspapers (2008-09)
    Twyla J. Cummings, Ph.D., Paul & Louise Miller Distinguished Professor
    Howard Vogl, Visiting Professor
    Claudia Cristina Alvarez Casanova, Graduate Student
    Javier Rodriguez Borlado, Technical Director, Tajamar Graphic Arts and Technical Institute

    The newspaper industry is being redefined by changes of historic proportions. This redefinition has resulted in a disruptive shift within the core audience of newspapers. The primary goal of this research study was to answer the following research questions:  To acquire a unified understanding of the traditional and emerging newspaper publishing business models for large, medium, and small newspapers, and to assess what newspapers are doing to change their business strategies; To understand the prepress and production workflows for newspapers, to evaluate how they compliment and interfere with each other, and to determine if there are differences based on size of the newspaper; To review audience analysis for the various print and on-line newspaper products.  To achieve these objectives, an extensive survey of five different newspaper organizations was conducted. In addition, the survey was supported by in-depth secondary research.
  • The Open Publishing Guide: Creating a Self-Publishing Website Using Open Source Content Management Tools (2008-09)
    Patricia Albanese, Gannett Distinguished Professor
    Matthew H. Bernius, Visiting Assistant Professor
    Sean Conklin, RIT Student
    Alvin Crespo, RIT Student
    Rachael Gootnick, Associate Content Manager, Open Publishing Lab

    The goal of the RIT Open Publishing Guide project is to create a web-based repository of information about self-publishing, including publishing tutorials. As this was primarily a production-based project as opposed to research, this report will focus on the process taken to develop the final website. It will discuss the steps necessary to produce a website of the scope and scale of the Open Publishing Guide, provide an overview of the production methodology, discuss the process by which content was acquired for the site, explore the web platform used to deliver the content, and, finally, outline the high level production workflow of the site. This report will be of use to those interested in deploying large scale, dynamic, websites and individuals interested in consumer-focused, Internet print-on-demand services.