University of Southern California
Annenberg School for Communication


Research Areas

Communication Ecology and ICTs

In our examination of communication processes, we take a communication ecology point of view. This means that we situate the examination of one mode of communication in context of all relevant modes of communication. This approach is particularly evident in our study of new information/communication technologies (ICTs) and in our studies of geo-ethnic media.

A communication ecology approach comes closer to the reality of everyday life where people select new, traditional, and/or geo-ethnic media and interpersonal modes of communication from all of the options they have available to them. For example, we ask people to think about all of the ways they go about gaining understanding or getting information about their community, their health, etc. and to tell us which ways are most important to them. In this way, their responses are in context of their communication ecologies.

People construct different communication ecologies to achieve different goals. For example, when finding health information is the goal, a different set of communication preferences will be generated than when the goal is to figure out where to get the best buys or how to stay on top of the local community.

Research Team

- Bill Loges

- Deborah Neffa Creech

- Elisia Cohen

- Holley Wilkin

- Joo-Young Jung

- Katherine Ognyanova

- Matthew D. Matsaganis

- Minhee Son

- Neta Kligler-Vilenchik

- Sandra Ball-Rokeach

- Yong Chan Kim



Books Sturken, M., Thomas, D. & Ball-Rokeach, S. J., Eds (2004). Technological visions: The hopes and fears that shape new technologies. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.
Published Papers Ball-Rokeach, S.J., & Lin, W.Y. (2004). Positioning Ethnic Chinese Television and the Internet in the Lives of Chinese Immigrant Populations: A Case Study. A Research Report to ETTV. Communication Technology and Community Program. Los Angeles: University of Southern California, Annenberg School for Communication. Ball-Rokeach, S.J., & The Metamorphosis Project Research Team, (2000). The globalization of everyday life: Visions and reality. Metamorphosis Project White Paper. Communication Technology and Community Program, Annenberg School for Communication, University of Southern California. Broad, G. M., Ball-Rokeach, S., Ognyanova, K., Picasso, T., Stokes, B., Villanueva, G. (2013). Understanding the communication ecologies of community organizers to bridge communication research and community action. Journal of Applied Communication Research, 41(4), 325-345. doi: 10.1080/00909882.2013.844848 Cheong, P. H. & Wilkin, H. A. (2005). Digital divide(s) among Hispanic immigrants and Internet connections for health information seeking. In M. Allen & M. Convalso (Eds.), Internet Research Annual, 2, 175-188. Cohen, E.L., Ball-Rokeach, S.J., Kim, Y. C., & Jung, J. Y. (2003). Storytelling September 11th: A multilevel perspective. In A.M. Noll, (Ed.), Crisis communications: Lessons from September 11 (pp. 31-45). Chicago: Rowman & Littlefield. Gibbs, J., Ball-Rokeach, S.J., Jung, J. Y., Kim, Y. C., & Qiu, J. (2004). The globalization of everyday life: Vision and reality. In M. Sturken, D. Thomas, & S.J. Ball-Rokeach (Eds.), Technological visions: The hopes and fears that shape new technologies. Temple University Press. Giles, H., Katz, V. S. & Lambert, P. (2006). Language attitudes and the role of community infrastructure: A communication ecology model. Moderna Språk C(1), 38-54. Hayden, C., & Ball-Rokeach, S.J. (2007). Maintaining the digital hub: Locating the community technology center in a communication infrastructure. New Media and Society, 19(2), 237-259. Jung, J. & Villi, M. (2017). Newspapers and cross-level communications on social media: A comparative study of Japan, Korea, and Finland. Digital Journalism. doi: 10.1080/21670811.2017.1335605 Jung, J.-Y., Ball-Rokeach, S. J., Kim, Y.-C., & Matei, S. (2007). ICTs and communities in the 21st Century: Challenges and perspectives. In C. Ciborra, R. Mansell, D. Quah, & R. Silverstone (Eds.), Oxford Handbook of Information and Communication Technologies (pp.561-580). Oxford: Oxford University Press. Kim, Y. C., Jung, J. Y., & Ball-Rokeach, S. J. (In Press). Ethnicity, place, and communication technology: Effects of ethnicity on multi-dimensional Internet connectedness. Information Technology and People, 20(3). Kim, Y.C., Jung, J., Cohen, E., & Ball-Rokeach, S.J. (2004). Internet connectedness before and after September 11, 2001. New Media and Society, 6(5), 612-632. Loges, W.E. and Jung, Joo-Young (2001). Exploring the Digital Divide: Internet connectedness and age. Communication Research, 28(4), 536-562. Matei, S., & Ball-Rokeach, S. J. (2002). Belonging across geographic and Internet spaces: Ethnic area variations. In B. Wellman & C. Haythornthwaite (Eds.), The Internet in everyday life. UK: Blackwells. Matei, S., & Ball-Rokeach, S.J. (2001). Real and virtual social ties: Connections in the everyday lives of seven ethnic neighborhoods. American Behavioral Scientist. 45(3), 550-564. Matei, S., & S.J. (2003). The Internet in the communication infrastructure of urban residential communities: Meso or macro--linkage? Journal of Communication, 53(4), 642-657. Villanueva, G., Broad, G.M., Gonzalez, C., Ball-Rokeach, S.J., Murphy, S. (2016). Communication Asset Mapping: An Ecological Field Application Toward Building Healthy Communities. International Journal of Communication 10(2016), 2704-2724 Wilkin, H. A., Ball-Rokeach, S. J. , Matsaganis, M. D., & Cheong, P. H. (In Press). Comparing the communication ecologies of geo-ethnic communities: How people stay on top of their community. Journal of Electronic Communication. Wilkin, H.A., Ball-Rokeach, S.J., Matsaganis, M.D., & Cheong, P.H. (In Press). Comparing the communication ecologies of geo-ethnic communities: How people stay on top of their community. Journal of Electronic Communication.
Papers in Preparation Ball-Rokeach, S. J., The digital divide. [In] W. Donsfach (Ed.), Blackwell International Encyclopedia of Communication. Ball-Rokeach, S.J. & The Metamorphosis Project Team. The well-connected community: A new tool for planning to use the Internet to build community Ball-Rokeach, S.J. Communication ecologies: Observing new immigrants negotiations of identity. Paper to be presented at the International Communication Association conference, Singapore 2010. Kim, Y.K. & Ball-Rokeach, S. J., New immigrants, the Internet, and civil society. In A. Chadwick & P. Howard (Eds.), The Handbook of Internet Politics. New York: Routledge.
Papers Presented at Professional Meetings Ball-Rokeach, S. J., Cheong, P. H., & Wilkin, H. (2003). Tapping Into Virtual Resources: Newer and Older Media in Health Promotion. Paper presented at the Virtual Learning in Health Communication Conference, Annenberg School for Communication, Los Angeles. Ball-Rokeach, S. J., Cheong, P. H., Wilkin, H. A., & Matsaganis, M. D. (2004). A Map to the Multiethnic Communication Landscape of Los Angeles Immigrant Communities, Old and New. Paper presented at the International Communication Association Conference, New Orleans. Ball-Rokeach, S. J., Kim, Y., Loges, W. E., & Jung, J. (2001). Measuring Ecological Relationships Between the Internet and Individuals: Revisiting the Internet Connectedness Index. Paper presented at the International Association of Mass Communication Research and International Communication Association Joint Conference on The Digital Divide. Austin, TX. Ball-Rokeach, S.J. (2000). The Internet Connectedness Index: Going beyond the digital divide to long term issues of inequality. Paper presented at The London School of Economics/Annenberg School Conference on Globalization, London. Ball-Rokeach, S.J., & Gonzalez, C. (2010). Communication Ecologies: Observing New Immigrants Negotiations of Identity. Paper to be presented at the International Communication Association conference, Singapore 2010. Ball-Rokeach, S.J., Gonzalez, C., Son, M., Kligler-Vilenchik, N. (2012). Understanding Individuals in the Context of Their Environment: Communication Ecology as a Concept and Method. Paper presented at the International Communication Association conference in Pheonix, AZ. Cohen, E.L., Ball-Rokeach, S.J., Jung, J.Y., & Kim, Y.C. (2002). Civic actions after September 11th: Exploring the role of multi-level storytelling. Paper presented to the Communications Conference, New York. Gibbs, J., Ball-Rokeach, S., Kim, Y., & Jung, J. (2000). The Globalization of Everyday Life: Visions and Realities of Social Justice in the Internet Age. Paper presented at the Rochester Institute of Technology Conference on "Social Justice, Peace, and International Conflict Resolution: Civic Discourse beyond the Millennium", Rochester, NY. Katz, V. & Matsaganis, M. (2007). A Communication Ecology Approach to Theory and Method in Understanding Community Media. Paper presented at the OurMedia-NuestrosMedios VI International Conference. Sydney. Katz, V. (2007). Personal technologies for communal purpose: A study of adolescent Latinos and new communication technologies. Paper presented at the National Communication Association Annual Convention, Chicago. Katz, V.S., Ang, A. & Suro, S. (2010, August). An ecological approach to understanding U.S. Latinos' health communication behaviors, access, and outcomes. Presented to the American Sociological Association Annual Conference (Atlanta, GA). Kim, Y.C. & Ball-Rokeach, S.J. (2004). Communication infrastructure theory: An ecological approach to civic engagement in the contemporary urban environment. Voice and Citizenship Conference, University of Washington. Kim, Y.C., Ball-Rokeach, S.J., Jung, J. Y., & Cohen, E.L. (2002). Internet connectedness in a crisis: Connectors connected more after September 11th. Paper presented to the Convention Chair Sponsored Special Session, Broadcast Education Association Convention, Las Vegas. Kim, Y.C., Jung, J. Y., Cohen, E.L., & Ball-Rokeach, S. J. (2003). Internet connectedness before and after September 11th: High connectors connect more. Paper presented at the International Communication Association Conference, San Diego. Kim, Y.C., Jung, J.Y., Ball-Rokeach, S.J., Loges, W.E. (2002). Ethnicity, place, and communication technology: Geo-ethnic effect on multi-dimensional Internet Connectedness in urban communities. Paper presented at the International Communication Association Conference, Seoul, Korea. Lin, W. Y. (2007). When the alternative goes mainstream: The competition between ethnic TV and the Internet. Paper presented at the annual conference of the International Communication Association, San Francisco. Matsaganis, M., & Katz, V. (2007). A Communication Ecology Approach to Understanding Community Media, Place, and Ethnicity. Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication. Reno. Ognyanova, K. (2011). Appropriation of News Media Content: A Key Mode of Online Participation. Presented at the International Communication Association annual conference, Boston, MA. Wilkin, H. A., Ball-Rokeach, S. J., Matsaganis, M.D., & Cheong, P. (2007). Comparing the communication ecologies of geo-ethnic communities: How people stay on top of their community. Paper presented at the meeting of the International Communication Association. San Francisco.
Dissertations Broad, G.M. (2013). Food is the medium: Food movements, social justice & the communication ecology approach Jung, J.Y. (2003). Internet connectedness and its social origins: An ecological approach to communication media and social inequality. Dissertation Abstracts International, 64 (09), 3126. Qui, L. (2004). (Dis)connecting the Pearl River Delta: The transformation of a regional telecommunications infrastructure, 1978--2002. Dissertation Abstracts International, 65 (07), 2411. Wilkin, H.A. (2006). Diagnosing communication connections: Reaching underserved communities through existing communication ecologies. Dissertation Abstracts International, 67 (06).
Other Presentations Katz, V.S. & Matsaganis, M. (2011, May). Broadband internet and ethnic media: Opportunity or threat? Presentation at the Ford Foundation Digital Diversity Experts Workshop (New York, NY).