Nick Hagar

Hello! I'm a data scientist at the New York Times. I have a PhD from Northwestern University, where I was part of the Computational Journalism Lab. In 2022, I worked as a contract research engineer at Meta, and I interned with Patreon's data science team.

I research how collective attention works in large, complex systems. I use data science and engineering to study how people discover information online, why things get popular, and what influences content creators. My first love is journalism, but I also study large social platforms (TikTok, Reddit, Facebook) and other attention markets (Netflix, Substack).

Before grad school, I worked in audience development and analytics at Fusion Media Group, Digiday, Pacific Standard and the Dallas Morning News. I've written for Pacific Standard, the Christian Science Monitor, McSweeney's Internet Tendency and others. I graduated from the Medill School of Journalism and am originally from Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Recent updates

  • ✈️ February 2024: Had a great time at Social Science Foo Camp!
  • 🗣️ January 2024: I presented my research on TikTok at Medill.
  • 🖋️ October 2023: Our NMS paper got a nice writeup in Nieman Lab and the RQ1 newsletter.


All my code is on GitHub. Some notable recent projects:


My latest (March 2024) blog post is up on Substack.

Most of what I write is peer-reviewed academic work, found on my Google Scholar profile or in my CV. Email for copies of paywalled work.

Before grad school, I worked in journalism and wrote for a handful of publications:


Sometimes I go on podcasts or write about my research for broader audiences. Somtimes other folks write about my work too. I'm at nhagar[at] if you'd like to get in touch.