CLEMSON  — Clemson University communication studies students and WYFF News 4, the top-rated television station in South Carolina’s largest media market, are joining forces this semester to monitor social media conversations throughout the fall general election season.

Clemson communication studies students tour WYFF News 4 television station

Bruce Barkley, WYFF News 4 news director, provides Clemson communication studies students a tour of the station’s Greenville headquarters

Thirteen communication studies students are working alongside professor Joseph Mazer in the College of Arts, Architecture and Humanities’ Social Media Listening Center (SMLC). Mazer, the director of the SMLC and associate chair of the department of communication studies, is leading the team of students in his social media senior capstone seminar.

The partnership, a first of its kind between Clemson University and a television station, is designed to bring fresh insight to what voters say about the candidates, their platforms and the overall election.

“Students will use the SMLC to deliver information to voters that is deeper than facts and figures seen in campaign advertisements,” Mazer said. “Our partnership with WYFF News 4 will provide voters with a 21st century window on the election, but, most importantly, put our students at the center of it all.”

Clemson Communication Studies Studies at WYFF

Communication studies students visit the WYFF News 4 studios. Nigel Robertson, WYFF News 4 anchor/reporter (left); Elizabeth Catalano; Sam McBride; Ackelia Vassell; Payton Shiver; Christal Selmeyer; Liz Ravaioli; Kathryn Andreoli; Victor Quintero; Kerianne Pacheco; Alex Orr; Romy Koelzer; Hannah DeFrank; Wallace Mack; Joseph Mazer, assistant professor of communication studies; and Jennifer Mihalic, WYFF News 4 executive producer for special projects.

Mazer’s class met with WYFF News 4 executives at the station’s Greenville headquarters in early September to finalize the partnership and develop story ideas.

“WYFF News 4 believes this partnership ultimately will help voters to be better informed and more prepared as they make key decisions about the future of their state,” said Bruce Barkley, WYFF News 4 news director. “At WYFF News 4, we call our election coverage ‘Commitment 2014’ and our partnership with Clemson University truly reflects that commitment.”

WYFF News 4 will showcase students’ social media analysis work throughout the semester, with featured reports airing weekly on the NBC affiliate’s nightly newscasts. Clemson students are using Salesforce Marketing Cloud’s Radian6 software to listen, measure and engage in more than 150 million sources of social media conversations across the Web. They will capture publicly available data from Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, blogs, online communities and mainstream news outlets.

Clemson communication studies students with WYFF 4 news anchor/reporter Nigel Robertson

Nigel Robertson, WYFF News 4 anchor/reporter, discusses Commitment 2014 with Clemson communication studies students

Nigel Robertson, WYFF News 4 anchor and reporter, will lead the station’s “Commitment 2014” coverage.

“I am extremely excited to be working with Clemson’s SMLC for the general election,” Robertson said. “The months leading up to the election will allow us to add a unique social media angle to our coverage as we highlight online conversations among people in the Upstate and across the nation.”

The partnership will culminate on election day Nov. 4 with WYFF News 4 reporting live from Clemson’s SMLC in Daniel Hall. The center offers a 152-inch video wall that will vividly display social media content to convey sentiment, share of voice and trend information related to general elections in both Carolinas and Georgia.

“The traditional town hall format of discussing politics is changing before our very eyes,” said Wallace Mack, a senior communication studies major. “Social media is the new ‘town hall’ and our job is to make this new virtual chatter accessible for as many people as possible.”

The Social Media Listening Center is a collaborative initiative between Clemson Computing and Information Technology, the College of Architecture, Arts and Humanities and the College of Business and Behavioral Science.


Clemson University
Ranked No. 20 among national public universities, Clemson University is a major, land grant, science-and engineering-oriented research university that maintains a strong commitment to teaching and student success. Clemson is an inclusive, student-centered community characterized by high academic standards, a culture of collaboration, school spirit and a competitive drive to excel.

WYFF News 4
WYFF News 4. Live. Local. Breaking News. WYFF is an NBC-affiliated television station located in Greenville, South Carolina. The station is owned by the Hearst Television subsidiary of the Hearst Corporation. WYFF is headquartered on Rutherford Street in northwest Greenville.