Anne Johnston’s research interests include the media’s coverage of sex trafficking, political communication and gender representation in the media. She has authored articles and book chapters on news coverage of the global sex trade, political communication and research methodology. Her research has appeared in journals such as Feminist Media Studies, Political Communication, Journal of Communication, and Women’s Studies. She is the co-author of the 2001 book, "Videostyle in Presidential Campaigns: Style and Content of Televised Political Advertising." The book provides a comprehensive analysis of more than 1,200 televised presidential ads from 1952 to 1996.

She — with colleague Barbara Friedman — received a 2013 McCormick Foundation grant to develop a specialized reporting institute on covering sex trafficking. She is co-director of The Irina Project (TIP) which monitors media representations of sex trafficking and advocates for the responsible and accurate reporting of sex trafficking.


  • Ph.D., University of Oklahoma

  • M.A., University of Oklahoma
  • B.A., University of Central Florida


  • Kaid, L. L., & Johnston, A. (2001). Videostyle in presidential campaigns: Style and content of televised political advertising. NY: Praeger Publishers. (226 pages).
  • Johnston, A., Friedman, B., & Sobel, M.(under review for inclusion in edited book). Framing an emerging issue: How U.S. news media covered sex trafficking, 1998-2011. In T. St. Germain and N. Cárdenas (Eds.), Sex trafficking in the U.S.: Emerging issues in the research.
  • Friedman, B. & Johnston, A. (in press). Blame narratives: News discourses of sex trafficking. In C. Armstrong (Ed.), Media (dis)parity: Battle of the sexes. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books (a division of Rowman & Littlefield Publishers).
  • Johnston, A. (2013). What’s so positive about negative advertising? In C. J. Pardun (Ed.), Advertising and society: Controversies and consequences (2nd ed.). Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
  • Johnston, A., Friedman, B., & Shafer, A. (2012). What’s the problem and what can we do about it? Mass media explain the global sex trade. In T. Carilli and J. Campbell (Eds.), Challenging images of women in the media: Reinventing women's lives (pp. 49-64). Lanham, MD: Lexington Books (a division of Rowman & Littlefield Publishers).