James G. Webster

James Webster's research focuses on media audiences. He’s interested in patterns of media use, how one measures that use, and the economic, political and social implications of audience behavior. He’s on the editorial boards of the Journal of Communication and the Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media. He has also worked as a consultant to audience measurement and media companies. For more information and copies of his work see his personal web site.


PhDMass Communication, Indiana University
MATelecommunications, Indiana University
BAPsychology, Trinity College, Hartford

Recent Publications

Webster, J. G. (2014). The marketplace of attention: How audiences take shape in a digital age. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Webster, J. G., Phalen, P. F., & Lichty, L. W. (2014).  Ratings analysis: Audience measurement and analytics (4th ed.).  New York: Routledge.  Second edition translated into Chinese in the TV Industry Management Series by Huaxia Publishing (Beijing), 2004.

Webster, J. G., & Ksiasek, T. B. (2012). The dynamics of audience fragmentation: Public attention in an age of digital media.  Journal of Communication, 62, 39-56.

Kim, S. J., & Webster, J. G. (2012). The impact of a multichannel environment on television news viewing: A longitudinal study of news audience polarization in South Korea. International Journal of Communication, 6, 838-856.

Taneja, H., Webster, J. G., Malthouse, E. C., & Ksiazek, T. B. (2012). Media consumption across platforms: Identifying user-defined repertoires.  New Media & Society, 14(6), 951–968.

Webster. J. G. (2011). The duality of media: A structurational theory of public attention. Communication Theory, 21, 43-66. Winner of the ASCoR McQuail Award for the best article advancing communication theory.

Webster, J. G. (2010). User information regimes: How social media shape patterns of consumption. Northwestern University Law Review, 104(2), 593-612.  Reprinted in K. B.Tripp (Ed.). (2011). Entertainment, publishing and the arts handbook.  Thomson Reuters.

Ksiazek, T. B., Malthouse, E. C., & Webster, J. G. (2010). News-seekers and avoiders: Exploring patterns of total news consumption across media and the relationship to civic participation. Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, 54(4), 551-568.

Ksiazek, T. B. & Webster, J. G. (2008). Cultural proximity and audience behavior: The role of language in patterns of polarization and multicultural fluency.  Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, 52(3), 485-503.

Webster, J. G. (2006). Audience flow past and present: Inheritance effects reconsidered. Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, 50(2), 323-337.

Yuan, E. &, Webster, J. G. (2006).  Channel repertoires: Using peoplemeter data in Beijing. Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, 50(3), 524-536.

Webster, J. G. (2005). Beneath the veneer of fragmentation: Television audience polarization in a multi-channel world. Journal of Communication. 55(2), 366-382. Reprinted in B. Gunter & D. Machin (Eds.). (2009). Media Audiences (Sage Benchmarks in Communication).


CS 355-0Audience Analysis
CS 455-0Current Issues in Audience Studies
MTS 525-0Understanding Media Markets: Users, Makers and Metrics


James G. Webster



Communication Studies


Frances Searle Building
2240 Campus Drive
Room 1-131
Evanston, IL 60208-2952



Graduate Programs:

Communication Studies; Media, Technology, and Society