23/07/2019 - 10h02

Research at Northwestern University to focus on digital transformation and journalism

Marcelo Fontoura to spend six months in doctoral internship in USA


Photo: Personal archive

The PhD student in the Graduate Program in Communications, Marcelo Fontoura, went to Northwestern University, USA, for a doctoral research internship. Fontoura also serves as a faculty in the School of Communications, Arts and Design (Famecos), and his research is embraced by the priority theme The World in Motion: Individuals and Society. In his investigation, he is looking at journalism and digital transformation. “More specifically, I’m looking at the expansion of the interdisciplinary borders of journalism and how, in the digital environment, this profession connects more with certain areas”, he says.

Fontoura searched for American institutions whose research perspectives were similar to his. Northwestern is known for its relevance in the area of Communications and has a hands-on lab for creating journalism tools, Knight Lab. “In addition, I’ve always checked the publications of my US advisor, Professor Pablo Boczkowski. Because I have studied his work intensively, I was even more motivated to apply for this institution”, he adds.

During his internship, he will conduct ethnographic research at Hearken, a company based in Chicago and one of the objects of research. The company enjoys good reputation with the Silicon Valley and intends to change the relationship between the media and its audiences. It is also intent on developing technologies to empower the public’s decision-making in the information process.

“I will be able to study them closely and see how they work and how they relate to the premises of my work. In addition, I will work on my dissertation and learn different insights from different areas, such as Computational Journalism, through courses and workshops”, he says.

The way Fontoura sees it, taking part in such a diverse and advanced academic environment is such a unique opportunity. The researcher points out that, in addition to the research itself and involvement with the advisor, he will also be attending a number of events and lectures. That is going to be an ideal moment to do networking activities, meet new researchers and learn about methodologies and opportunities.


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