Spring Research Colloquium

Wednesday, May 3, 2017 -
8:30am to 4:45pm

Freedom Forum Conference Center (Carroll 305)


Spring Research ColloquiumThe UNC School of Media and Journalism will celebrate the outstanding ongoing research at the school in its annual Spring Research Colloquium May 3 at the Freedom Forum Conference Center.

Seth C. Lewis, an associate professor at the University of Oregon and an expert on the digital transformation of news and media work, will deliver the keynote address. The schedule will also feature research presentations from current MJ-school graduate students and a lunchtime panel discussion with MJ-school doctoral alumni.




  • 8:15 a.m. - Breakfast
  • 9 a.m. - Keynote address by Seth C. Lewis
  • 10 a.m. - Research presentations, moderated by Cathy Packer: Professional Issues: Views from the Field
  • 11:15 a.m. - Research presentations, moderated by Rhonda Gibson: Scandals, Crimes, Populist Anger, and "Fake News"
  • 12:15 p.m. - Lunch
  • 1 p.m. - Ph.D. alumni panel: "My first job was a great one, and/but ..."
  • 2:45 p.m. - Research presentations, moderated by Allison Lazard: Health Communication: Practical, Policy, and Legal Implications
  • 3:45 p.m. - Research presentations, moderated by Adam Saffer: Scholarship in Law, Public Relations, and Science Communication
  • 4:45 p.m. - Adjourn; happy hour to follow

Keynote speaker

Seth C. LewisDr. Seth Lewis is the founding holder of the Shirley Papé Chair in Electronic Media at the University of Oregon. Before moving to Oregon in 2016, he was in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Minnesota. He has had visiting appointments with the Yale Law School and at Stanford, and is a former U.S. Fulbright scholar to Spain. His doctorate is from the University of Texas at Austin.

A prolific researcher, Lewis has explored the social implications of digital media technologies for the dynamics of media work and innovation. His present work focuses on the interplay of humans and machines in news; the changing dynamics among journalists, audiences and communities; and journalism boundaries. Drawing on a variety of methods, he has published some 50 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters, and co-edited the 2015 book "Boundaries of Journalism: Professionalism, Practices and Participation."

He began his career as a 16-year-old reporter for The Outlook in Gresham, Oregon, and has worked as a journalist for several news organizations, including as assistant sports editor at The Miami Herald.

Lunch panel

Five recent alumni of the MJ-school Ph.D. in Mass Communication program will discuss job-seeking strategies for doctoral students:

Brooke McKeever Jessica Gall Myrick Rebecca Ortiz Brendan Watson Bartosz Wojdynski

Brooke Weberling McKeever ’11 (Ph.D.)
Master of Mass Communication Coordinator
Associate Professor
College of Information and Communications
University of South Carolina

Jessica Gall Myrick ’13 (Ph.D.)
Assistant Professor
The Media School
Indiana University

Rebecca R. Ortiz ’12 (Ph.D.)
Assistant Professor
S.I. Newhouse School Of Public Communications
Syracuse University

Brendan R. Watson ’12 (Ph.D.)
Assistant Professor
College of Communication Arts and Sciences
Michigan State University

Bartosz W. Wojdynski '08 (M.A.), '11 (Ph.D.)
Assistant Professor
Grady College of Journalism & Mass Communication
University of Georgia


Research legacy at the MJ-school

Over the last 50 years, our school has been at the forefront of inquiry into the nature of communication and how changing media technologies and practices affect our lives as citizens in a democracy, as human beings with health needs and as consumers in a competitive marketplace.

During the 1960s and 1970s, our researchers originated the concept of the agenda-setting function of the press, which would become one of the most influential models in the history of the field. Our forward-looking faculty taught generations of students to incorporate social science methods and computation into news reporting in the 1980s, anticipating the shift to data-driven journalism by 30 years. Our school was also at the forefront of scholarship on media history and the legal institutions required for robust democracy, as well as in the study of the effects of media exposure on our attitudes, emotions and behaviors. Also in the 1980s, our researchers helped mold the field of health communication, spurring a national movement to study the power of the media to help people live longer and healthier lives.

Today, faculty and graduate student researchers are carrying this legacy into a future marked by rapid technological change. Together, we are helping to reinvent the theoretical and methodological tools that communication scholars use for understanding the world. We analyze digital flows of social influence, the impact of Internet architecture in health communication and ways that social media shape our understanding of self and society. We work to understand the conditions under which media businesses succeed. Our guidance has helped to enable businesses to thrive, whether serving communities of 400 people or countries of a billion people. We work on global issues, such as human- trafficking, climate change and disease prevention, by helping journalists and scientists communicate effectively with audiences. We examine national issues such as Internet privacy by mapping the state of media and American democracy. We are at the forefront of psychological and behavioral research involving digital media, and we translate our findings into applications that serve the industry and society as a whole.

For more on research at the UNC School of Media and Journalism, visit mj.unc.edu/research.