PhD Candidate at Northwestern University

New Article in JMCQ and Some Thoughts on Westworld

Over a year ago, I started working with Northwestern Professor Dan Lewis on an article about whether undergraduates are growing less or more civically engaged. He had compiled an impressive dataset that comprised surveys completed by undergrads throughout their college careers, looking at their offline and online civic engagement. He asked if I'd be interested in helping him make sense of the findings, and I was more than happy to do so.

That article ended up a finalist for AEJMC's Presidential Call, and was recently published by Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly (online first, in print sometime this year). It's the highest profile journal I've been published in so far, and I couldn't be happier about it.

It was also a great collaboration. In addition to working with Dan, I got to work with my good friend Ryan Lei. It was my first time co-authoring something with another student, and I'm glad to say not the last. Ryan and I are already working on another article about mobile news consumption, which I'll hopefully have an update about soon.

More importantly, over the holidays I saw Arrival and also watched all of the first season of Westworld. The former was a big disappointment, and the latter was awesome. In both cases, it comes down to the ability to stick the landing. Arrival's ending is terrible the same way Interstellar's ending is terrible. You can see the writers backing themselves into a corner, then struggling to get out of it. Westworld, on the other hand, gets better as it goes. It's thoughtfully assembled, meaning the twists surprise, but also ring true within the reality of the show. When I started watching it I thought I'd stick it out because of the terrific music and acting, but by the end of it I was totally invested in the story and thrilled by the ending.

Jacob NelsonComment