James G. Webster

    James G. Webster (Ph.D., Indiana University) is a Professor of Communication Studies at Northwestern University. His primary research interest is media use. Early work focused on television audience behavior and program choice, but more recent studies examine how people consume media across digital platforms. He believes that all forms of media use are best understood within a theoretical framework that accounts for both individual user traits and the structural features of the media environment within which users operate. This approach to understanding audience behavior is described in his book, The Marketplace of Attention.

    Secondary areas of interest are audience measurement, media industries, and the social impact of new media. He has written, with Prof. Patricia Phalen and Prof. Lawrence Lichty, Ratings Analysis. It is the standard text on electronic media measurement, has been translated into Chinese, and is now in its fourth edition.

    From 1990 to 2005, Prof. Webster served as Associate Dean in Northwestern's School of Communication where he oversaw facilities planning, graduate education and helped create the doctoral program in Media, Technology and Society. He is on the editorial boards of the Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media and the Journal of Communication. He has recently served as a consultant to Nielsen, Turner Broadcasting, Toyota, and the Rudd Center at Yale University.