Schieffer Media Insights Lab Offers Digital Analysis Tools

Dustin Hahn, Ph.D., the director of the Lab shows students some of the Lab’s capabilities.

The Bob Schieffer College of Communication will display the features of its new  Schieffer Media Insights Lab during an open house from 2 to 4 p.m. Nov. 10 in Moudy South 165. Guests are invited to explore the lab, where students and faculty learn to use high-end software tools to track trends and improve digital communication messages and campaigns.

Dean Kristie Bunton emphasized the importance of having a dedicated media insights lab as Schieffer College continues to be future-focused.

“More and more of our media is consumed online,” she said. “To have this lab dedicated to learning how we can effectively and ethically communicate in the digital space and what data can tell us about who we are is vital to our continued study of communication.”

The lab leverages industry-leading social media listening platforms through partnerships with Brandwatch and Sprinklr for AI-powered collection, visualization and evaluation of big data. At the same time, innovative iMotions tools measure effects of online media on audiences’ real-time emotions through automated coding in the program’s facial expression analysis module.”

The multi-function lab space allows in-house or online programs, workshops, seminars and demonstrations. The flexible space allows for customized work environments, livestreaming through a 75-inch interactive touchscreen display, and display of component widgets and visuals on its six-screen ultra-high-definition display panels.

Schieffer Dean’s Ambassador Emma Francis ’25 uses the Lab touch screen to look at Brandwatch data.

For all its technological innovation, the lab is truly built on the expertise of Schieffer College faculty. Undergraduate and graduate students get real-world experience in data analytics of social and digital media audiences while advancing research about contemporary issues.

A passion project for Schieffer College faculty, the lab grew from a summer 2022 task force chaired by Julie O’Neil, Ph.D., associate dean for graduate studies and administration. Faculty members from all four departments created the blueprint for the lab, she said. “It’s truly exciting to see our shared vision come to fruition,” said O’Neil.

O’Neil uses the lab “to teach students how to analyze social conversations, influencers, audiences and network connections that relate to organizations, brands and issues,” she said.

Dustin Hahn, Ph.D., the lab’s inaugural faculty director, echoed his excitement in the lab’s launch.

“This resource further distinguishes the Schieffer College from others around the nation,” he said. “Our Schieffer Media Insights Lab is positioned to help faculty and students learn more about what is happening in the digital and social media world by analyzing big data more quickly and with AI-powered insights about emotions and sentiment than could reasonably be done by independent investigators.”

For instance, Hahn, whose research focuses on sports fanship, has used the lab’s tools to understand how college football fans create and react to messages about their favorite teams.  Learn more here: Running the Numbers: Following the Data Flow of Frog Football.