Moody College > News > Improving Digital News

Improving Digital News

Engaging News Project Relaunches as Center for Media Engagement

The Engaging News Project — a media research and outreach initiative in the Moody College of Communication —  is expanding and renaming itself as the Center for Media Engagement. With additional funding provided by Moody College, the Center for Media Engagement will expand its research focus to other areas of media while continuing to release high-impact research and tools to improve digital news both commercially and democratically.

Talia Stroud

Associate professor of
communication studies and journalism

Talia Stroud, associate professor of communication studies and journalism, will serve as director of the center. In addition to continuing its work in journalism, the center will seek to expand its research and partnerships to other industries, including information technology, advertising and marketing and health care.

The Center for Media Engagement will also enlist researchers based at universities across the country, including The University of Texas at Austin, the University of Alabama, the University of Kansas and Purdue University.

 “Becoming the Center for Media Engagement is a major milestone for our researchers and staff, and we are grateful to the Moody College for this incredible opportunity,” Stroud said. “We look forward to expanding our research team and bringing in new perspectives on how to create a vibrant media ecosystem that effectively empowers the public.”

We look forward to expanding our research team and bringing in new perspectives on how to create a vibrant media ecosystem that effectively empowers the public.

The Engaging News Project began in 2012 with a simple idea: What if academics could play a role in improving digital news? Since then, the team of researchers and staff have met with hundreds of journalists, released several tools and researched dozens of topics that directly affect the news industry.  Some of the project’s most successful work includes its research on comment sections, homepage design, clickbait headlines and the “respect” button. Its quiz tool (available for free at mediaengagement.org/quiz-creator) has been used by more than 60 news organizations across the country.

“Through its innovative research and partnerships, the Engaging News Project has proven to be invaluable to news organizations seeking to foster robust, successful journalism in a new media landscape,” said Jay Bernhardt, dean of Moody College. “As the Center for Media Engagement, Dr. Stroud and her colleagues will provide research-driven solutions to engage digital audiences across various sectors and media.”

The Center for Media Engagement has received support from funders including the Democracy Fund, Hewlett Foundation, Rita Allen Foundation, Knight Foundation, McCormick Foundation, Lenfest Institute for Journalism, Santa Clara University, American Press Institute, Google, Facebook, the Moody College of Communication and The University of Texas at Austin.

The Center for Media Engagement, part of the Moody College of Communication at the University of Texas at Austin, provides researchbased techniques for engaging digital audiences in commercially viable and democratically beneficial ways. Learn more at mediaengagement.org.

Nick Hundley

Chief Content Officer


For more information, contact:

Kathleen Mabley at 512-232-1417