Drury professor earns Top Research Paper award at a prestigious journalism symposium

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., April 24, 2013 — An examination of the Christian Science Monitor’s shift in focus from print to online earned Drury Assistant Professor of Communication Dr. Jonathan Groves the Top Research Paper award at last weekend’s International Symposium on Online Journalism. Dr. Groves and his co-author Carrie Brown-Smith, a professor at the University of Memphis, spent weeks studying the Christian Science Monitor and its employees as the news organization worked to engage with its readers in a digital space.

Dr. Jonathan Groves

“The Monitor is important to study because it was one of the first major print publications to cut its daily publication and focus on the Web,” Groves said. “The successes and struggles of the organization are valuable for all legacy news organizations trying to remain relevant in the digital age.”

The International Symposium on Online Journalism is an annual conference at the University of Texas at Austin that brings together writers, editors and educators to discuss this new form of journalism.

The winning paper’s abstract:

40 Million Page Views is Not Enough: An Examination of the Christian Science Monitor’s Evolution from SEO to Engagement by Jonathan Groves, Drury University, and Carrie Brown-Smith, University of Memphis

This longitudinal study, based on four weeks of newsroom observation over three years and more than 60 interviews, examines how one digitally-focused news organization, the Christian Science Monitor, has struggled to develop a more engaged audience. Using Napoli’s model of audience behavior, which tracks engagement from awareness and interest to active participation, this paper offers lessons for scholars and news practitioners alike interested in the future of news. It also expands upon research on conversational and participatory journalism to understand journalists’ evolving relationships with their increasingly active audience.