Bartosz Wojdynski named Jim Kennedy Professor of New Media

Grady College has named Bartosz Wojdynski a Jim Kennedy Professor of New Media.

Wojdynski is an associate professor of journalism and director of the Digital Media Attention and Cognition Lab, which conducts eye-tracking research to evaluate effective message design and media consumption.

“Bart is known for his groundbreaking research on consumers’ understanding of sponsored news stories and the influence of news design on consumers’ visual attention,” said Charles N. Davis, dean of Grady College. “Bart came to Grady with the goal of establishing a leading eye-tracking research laboratory dedicated to the study of visual attention to digital media. He has accomplished this, and his collaborative research has made significant contributions in health communication and advertising.”

The professorship is supported and named for James C. Kennedy, the chairman of Cox Enterprises.

Wojdynski studies the effects of digital media design on attention and cognition, focusing on native advertising, online misinformation and the role of images in information processing. He is particularly interested in the role that visual attention to message elements plays in shaping understanding, emotional reactions and persuasiveness of content.

Wojdynski uses a computer inside his eye-tracking laboratory. (Photo: Dorothy Kozlowski)

In the DMAC Lab, Wojdynski and student research associates measure, in real time, consumers’ attention and emotional responses, and examine the relationship between these factors and consumers understanding and attitudes. This process can provide a more detailed understanding of message effects than post-exposure questions alone.

Wojdynski has presented his research at a number of national and international conferences, and his papers have been published in journals including Journalism, Journal of Advertising, Media Psychology, the Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology, and Computers in Human Behavior, among others.

He teaches undergraduate and graduate-level courses in multimedia journalism, data visualization, experimental design and psychological effects of communication technology.

“To serve as a Kennedy Professor of New Media is a great honor,” Wojdynski said. “Jim Kennedy endowed these professorships in the spirit of supporting innovation, research and outreach related to the changing media landscape, and these same goals underlie my own research program as well as the work that my student lab members and I conduct in the DMAC.”

Wojdynski expects the professorship will allow him to pursue more ambitious interdisciplinary experiments in digital media attention with institutional partners, as well as help ensure that student researchers have access to the state-of-the-art training and materials and that research findings reach the audiences that need them.

Grady College has four Jim Kennedy Professors: James Hamilton, Karen King and Karen Russell and Wojdynski.