Hanako A. Smith, PhD Candidate

Academic Profile

Hanako is a PhD candidate in the Communication and Culture program at York University and X University in Canada. She received an MSSc in Media Management from the University of Tampere, Finland, focusing on audience engagement and the Canadian broadcast television industry. She obtained her BA from McMaster University in Communications.

Hanako has a strong background in methods (both quantitative and qualitative) and has a passion for condensing research into comprehensive theoretical framework, and summarizing her research by building concise and applicable models.

She completed comprehensive examinations on the topics of creativity and automation, domestication of ICTs, and co-creation and ICTs. Her dissertation is focused on patient experiences of virtual healthcare in Ontario. Hanako has also worked as a graduate researcher with the Audience Lab and the Explanatory Journalism Project at X University’s Creative School, where she worked with industry partners to understand challenging questions related to audience research, digital communication, and human-computer interaction. 


  • PhD, Communication and Culture, Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies, York University, Toronto, Canada, Sept 2016 – Current 
    • Foundations in: creativity & automation, domestication of ICTs, co-creation of ICTs
  • M.SSc., Media Management, Journalism and Communications program, University of Tampere, Tampere, Finland, Sept 2011 – May 2015.
    • THESIS: From bunny ears to smart phones: The development of broadcast technology and policy, audience viewing trends and measurement methods throughout the history of television in Canada.  
    • Foundations in: Media and society, media organisation, media economics, audiences and products, management in practice, and research methods
  • B.A., Communications, Faculty of Humanities, McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada,  Sept 2007 –  April 2011. 
    • Foundations in: Qualitative and quantitative methodology, communications theory, Canadian media policy

Continuing Education

  • Data Analytics: Basic Methods, The Chang School, June 2019-August 2019
    • Fundamental concepts and techniques of data analytics using R 
  • TCPS 2: CORE, March 19, 2019
    • Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans Course on Research Ethics
  • Certificate in Learning & Wellness, York University, Toronto, January 2019 – March 2019
    • Certificate presented by York University Faculty of Graduate Studies and Learning Skills Services
  • Senior Record of Completion, York University, Toronto, January 2017 – February 2019 
    • Certificate presented by York University Teaching Commons for recognition of commitment to teaching and learning 
  • Teaching in Focus, York University, Toronto, December 5, 2018. 
    • York University Teaching Commons 6th Annual Conference
  • TA Certificate in Teaching, York University, Toronto, January 2017 – April 2017.
    • SEDA (Staff and Educational Development Association) and EDC (Educational Developers Caucus) accredited program
  • Marking and Grading Workshop, York University, Toronto, January 2017.
    • Review of marking and grading principles, such as types of formative and summative grading practices, validity and reliability issues, and strategies for grading with rubrics.  
  • Workshop: Trust of News, Information and Users in the Digital Age, Ryerson University, Toronto, July 2017.  
  • Introduction to Course Design Workshop, York University, Toronto, July 2017.
    • Foundations in: Integrated curriculum design model as a framework for evaluation.
    • Identified and developed assessment tasks to align with learning outcomes.
  • Digital Media Skills Certificate, OCAD University, Toronto, June 2015 – Aug 2015.
    • Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop 


  • Course Director, COMN 3770, York University, January 2021 – May 2021
    • Developed syllabus for, and running weekly lectures for COMN 3779: Global Youth Cultures in an online format, created and graded evaluation assignments
  • Teaching Assistant, SOSC 1000, York University, September 2021 – May 2022
    • Managed remote tutorials for 50 students for SOSC 1000: Introduction to Social Sciences. Graded assignments, ran Zoom meetings, and managed online group discussions
    • Course director: Dr. Merouan Mekouar
  • Teaching Assistant, SOSC 2560, York University, September 2020 – May 2021
    • Attended/reviewed weekly lectures (asynchronous and synchronous) and led one 0.5h long tutorial over Zoom per week for SOSC 2560: Ideology and Everyday life, graded assignments and presentations
    • Course director: Dr. John Simoulidis
  • Guest lecturer, RTA912, Ryerson University, March 18, 2020
    • Guest lecturer on YouTube use in Canada for RTA912: Media Audiences
    • Course director: Dr. Donna Gall
  • Teaching Assistant, COMN 2200, York University, September 2016 – May 2020 
    • Attended weekly lectures and led two 1h long tutorials per week for COMN 2200: Policy, Politics and the Media, graded essays and exams. 
    • Course directors: Dr. Wade Rowland, Dr. Tokunbo Ojo, and Dr. Derek Hrynyshyn    
  • Teaching Assistant, COMN 3571, York University, January 2017 – May 2017
    • Attended weekly lectures and led two 1h long tutorials per week for COMN 3571: Television as Culture, graded essays, presentations, and exams
    •   Course director: Dr. Kevin Dowler


Project Coordination

  • Explanatory Journalism Impact & Uptake, January 2020 – present
    • Project coordination of the Ryerson theme under the Global Journalism Innovation Project, a SSHRC Partnership Grant supported research project conducted by UBC, uOttawa, Queensland University of Technology, and Ryerson University. 

Freelance Research

  • YouTube Watchtime 2019 (Regional Data), January 2020
    • Produced data tables and visualizations using SPSS for Google’s YouTube division about the regional breakdown of data collected by the original Watchtime 2019 study 
  • Agency 59, March 2017-August 2017
    • Conducted literature review and resulting white paper, Profile of Canadian Small Business Owners, developed study design, planned and operated focus groups, planned mass scale survey/questionnaire, analysis of focus group

Graduate Research Positions

  • Encore+, August 2019-November 2019
    • Produced data descriptions, analysis, and data visualizations using Sysomos and Google Sheets for an Audience Lab study about the Encore+ YouTube channel, commissioned by the CMF
  • YouTube Watchtime 2019, February 2019-May 2019
    • Produced data descriptions, analysis, and resulting charts using SPSS and Adobe Illustrator for a joint project between Ryerson University’s FCAD Audience Lab and YouTube/Google on the economic impact of YouTube on the Canadian media ecosystem
  • Junction 59, June 2018-November 2018 
    • Developing and conducting research for a MITACS Accelerate grant awarded project, Media/Communication Repertoires of Canadian Small Business Owners 
  • CBC x Ryerson University’s Audience Lab, Sept 2017 – May 2018
    •  Developed study methodology and background research for project entitled Millennials, Amazon Alexa, & the News. Oversaw recruitment of participants, lead focus groups, and analysed survey data. Spearheaded writing of final report deliverable to CBC. 
  • Participatory Campus Planning, Ryerson, Nov 2016 – March 2017
    • Planned and moderated focus groups, Acted as temporary project coordinator 

Undergraduate Research Positions

  • Research Assistant, Virtual Hamilton, Ryerson University, June 2015 – October 2015
    • In preparation: conducted focus groups/expert interviews/analysis/transcription  
  • Research Assistant, hitchBOT, Ryerson University, June 2015 – October 2015 
    • Public engagement in arts and science projects for kids 


  • Lead Administrator/Registrar, Canadian Cheer Brands, Jan 2013 – April 2017
    • Ensure that all communications and media are up to date on all digital outlets, event coordination, customer service, account management, social media analytics 
  • Digital Community Engagement, Cheer Evolution, Sept 2010 – May 2012
    • Crafted copy and artwork for digital outlets, community relations through social media


Research Skills

  • Proficient transcription skills, qualitative coding and analytical skills
    • Atlas.TI & NVIVO
  • Highly experienced in conducting expert interviews and focus groups
  • Data analysis & visualizations
    • R, SPSS Statistics, Microsoft Excel, Google Sheets, Apple Numbers

Creative Proficiencies

  • Competent in Adobe Creative Suite, basic HTML & CSS
  • Proficient in Microsoft Office Suite, Apple iWork, Google for Work, and various CMS
  • Accomplished in team building and leadership, crisis communications, project management, office management, organization, and multitasking


  • Graduate Research Assistant (Encore+ 2019) 
    • Used Sysomos to obtain dataset of tweets that engaged with Encore+ YouTube channel’s Twitter account, used NVIVO to analyse and create visualizations of the datatset
    • Conducted a comparator analysis qualitatively and statistically, to the extent possible without access to proprietary data.
    • Analysed entire team’s findings to craft an overall storyline for final report 
  • Researcher and Co-Author (Watchtime 2019)
    • Used SPSS to analyse large dataset obtained by Ryerson University’s FCAD Audience Lab and YouTube/Google to create data descriptions, analysis, and visualizations for a unique and novel report that is the first of its kind to analyze survey responses from both YouTube users and creators. 
  • Mitacs Accelerate Internship (Junction 59)
    • Used SPSS to analyse large dataset obtained by Junction 59 on Canadian small business owners’ media and purchasing habits to develop new segments of small business owners
    • Developed protocol for and conducted interviews and focus groups to create robust qualitative dataset that compliments the quantitative findings from the SPSS analysis 
    • Coordinated research goals with both academic (Ryerson University) and industry (Junction 59) partners and ensured updates about the joint project were sent in a timely fashion 
  • Graduate Research Assistant (FCAD Audience Lab)
    • Hire and supervise undergrad and masters level research assistants 
    • Worked with industry clients to create unique research studies for clients to better understand their audiences 
    • Developed proprietary and novel methods for lab use to study millennials
    • Managed a team of research assistants that conducted literature reviews, recruited participants, moderated focus groups, developed reports 
    • Data analysis and development of results into whitepapers and academic papers
  • Freelance Research (Agency 59)
    • Conducted literature review and wrote resulting white paper on small business segmentation methods, IT adoption rates of small businesses, and developing a new segmentation model for marketing to small business owners/decision makers.  
    • Proposed study design to develop a new small business segmentation model
    • Developed protocol for and conducted interviews
    • Developed mass scale questionnaire
  • Research Assistant (Participatory Campus Planning)
    • Developed protocol for and moderated focus groups, aided in editing various proposals/applications, acted as temporary project coordinator  
  • Master’s Thesis
    • How television content, production, distribution, consumption and audience measurement trends have developed over time in Canada
    • Specifically focused on broadcast and audience measurement technology development, audience viewing trends, and Canadian television broadcasting policy
    • Recognizes the need for third party audience measurement systems to catch up to multi-platform, non-scheduled viewing trends in order to continue providing standardized ratings to determine content value
  • Research Assistant (Virtual Hamilton)
    • Aided in website launch and conducting focus groups, transcribed expert interviews, supplied video documentation of Virtual Hamilton’s first charrette, made recommendations for social media integration into the Virtual world, created copy for blog
  • Research Assistant (hitchBOT)
    • Aided in crisis communications, researched and made recommendations for a more “child-friendly” hitchBOT for the 2.0 model rebuild.

Publications & Conferences

  • Smith, H., Fischer, L., Fortin, K., and Zeller, F. (2022). Regional News Frames of Health. Presentation at the 2022 annual meeting of the Canadian Communications Association at Canadian Congress for Social Sciences and Humanities, Online.
  • Berkowitz, I., and Smith, H. (2020). YouTube listicle: Top ten benefits the platform contributes to Canada’s media ecosystem. CMF Trends.
  • Smith, H., Pavliuc, A., Coppins, H., Raza, S., Zeller, F., and Davis, C. (2020 – Postponed to 2021). The living labs approach: Connecting with audiences in a real-world setting. Presentation conducted at the 2020 annual meeting of the Canadian Communications Association at Canadian Congress for Social Sciences and Humanities, in London, Ontario, Canada
  • Davis., C. and Smith, H. (2020 – Postponed). Media and Communication Repertoires of Canadian Micro-enterprise Owner-Managers: a segmentation study using Latent Class Analysis. Presentation conducted at the meeting of World Media Economics and Management Conference (WMEMC) 2020, in Rome, Italy.
  • Berkowitz, I., Davis, C., and Smith, H. (2019). Watchtime Canada: How YouTube connects creators and consumers [White paper].
  • Pavliuc, A., Smith, H., Coppins, H., Raza, S., Zeller, F., and Davis, C. (2019). Experience Sampling Method in a Living Labs approach: How to connect with millennials in a real-world setting. Presentation conducted at methods@manchester Methodological Innovations to Meet 21st Century Challenges Conference 2019, in Manchester, UK.
  • Smith, H. (2018).  From bunny ears to smart phones: The development of broadcast technology, audience viewing trends, and content production strategy throughout the history of television in Canada. Presentation conducted at the meeting of International Association of Media and Communication Research 2018, Portland, Oregon.
  • Smith, H. (2017).  From bunny ears to smart phones: the development of broadcast technology, audience viewing trends, and content production strategy throughout the history of television in Canada.  In Smith, H. (Chair), Broadcasting, identity and policy.  Panel conducted at the meeting of Connecting Canada, Connecting the World, York University, Toronto.
  • Smith, H.  (2017).  Measurement of digitally segmented/online audiences in Canada.  In MacLennan, A. (Moderator), Sound, Broadcasting, Design and Measurement.  Panel conducted at the meeting of the Broadcast Education Association, Las Vegas, NV.  
  • Smith, D. H., Zeller, F., Eyles, J., Eyles, E., Dwyer, L. J., and Smith, H. (2016). Using 3D social worlds to enhance participatory urban planning. Social Media & Society Conference, 11-13 July, London, UK. 


Watchtime Canada 2019

Co-author of Watchtime Canada 2019 report which reviewed use of YouTube by Canadian audiences and content creators. Received reviews from multiple online news outlets.


Member of the hitchBOT research team during its unfortunate demise in Philadelphia which was highlighted by numerous Canadian and American news outlets: online, in print, and televised.


  • Social Media & Society International Conference 2019, Ryerson University 2019
    Volunteer Coordinator & Reviewer
  • IAMCR 2019, Universidad Complutense de Madrid 2019
  • Digitally Engaged Learning, 2018, York University 2018
  • Connecting Canada, Connecting the World 2017, York University 2017
    Co-Chair & Volunteer
  • Social Media & Society International Conference 2017, Ryerson University 2017
  • Out of the Cold 2016/2017
    Kitchen crew/clean up for community dinner program

Grants & Awards

  • President’s Letter, 2019
    From Ryerson University’s President & Vice Chancellor Mohamed Lachemi regarding the completion and success of the Watchtime Canada 2019 report
  • Mitacs Accelerate, 2018
    $15,000 grant for the study of media/communication repertoires of Canadian small business owners
  • Graduate Development Fund Grant, 2017 – 2022
    Awarded annually by York University
  • York Doctoral Fellowship, 2017 – 2022
    Awarded annually by York University
  • SEDA Supporting Learning Award, 2017
    Staff and Educational Development Association
    Canadian Media Research Consortium Travel Grant, 2017
    Awarded by York University 2017
  • McMaster Exchange Scholarship, 2009
  • McMaster Honour Award, 2007
  • Cheerforce Wolfpack Program Award, 2007
    In recognition of community contribution and dedication to sport