Paramveer Dhillon earns Gordon B. Davis Young Scholar Award
INFORMS, The Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences, has awarded University of Michigan School of Information assistant professor Paramveer Dhillon the Gordon B. Davis Young Scholar Award. The Information Systems Society (ISS) recognized Dhillon for his research efforts to better understand the impact of the internet on the production and consumption of online news.
The Gordon B. Davis Young Scholar Award is named after one of the founders of the information systems discipline. The award recognizes early-career researchers who are on a trajectory to making outstanding intellectual contributions to the information systems field.
"It's really amazing to receive this Young Scholar Award," says Dhillon. "It provides more visibility to the societally important research that we are doing to impact newspapers."
Nominees for the award are kept anonymous, and Dhillon says he was not aware of his nomination until he received the award. "It was a pleasant surprise when I heard the news," he notes.
Through a lens of machine learning and artificial intelligence, Dhillon's research focuses on understanding how users consume online news and how the internet has impacted the economics of news production. He points out that newspapers (especially regional ones) all over the country are in decline and new models need to be developed to sustain journalism in the internet era.
"In the pre-internet era, newspapers had a monopoly over users' attention: it was just TV, radio, and newspapers," he notes. While newspapers used to support high-quality journalism with print advertising, Dhillon explains that the internet changed all that. Many local newspapers have not been able to sustain themselves and have folded.
Dhillon sees failing newspapers as a bigger societal problem that needs to be solved. He says a quote from Thomas Jefferson resonates with him: were it left to me to decide if we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without the government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.
To understand how to better sustain journalism in this internet-dominant era, Dhillon uses machine learning and artificial intelligence to uncover solutions. "I am trained as a methodologist, and I want to use statistics and data science for social good," he notes, adding that this is the type of work that aligns nicely with the mission of UMSI.
"I want to apply all these methods that I have developed to promote societal good, and what better social good than helping sustain journalism and struggling newspapers?"
- Sarah Derouin, Public Relations Specialist, UMSI