Research efforts in advertising focus on technology — cellular phones, for example — as a vehicle for advertising to various populations and markets. Dr. Linwan Wu investigates the ways communication technologies and different features of digital media influence consumers’ responses to strategic communications and the emotional aspect of advertising persuasion. Dr. Taylor Wen conducts research in consumer psychology and media effects in the context of marketing, health, and risk communications. Her research identifies multiple aspects of consumer emotions, including mixed emotions, context- and ad-induced emotions, and psychophysiological measurement of emotions — eye-tracking and fMRI. Dr. Carol Pardun’s innovative advertising research examines the relationships between advertising and society, including the advertising strategy of electronic cigarette companies.
Media and Civil Rights History
The school hosts a biennial Media and Civil Rights History Symposium, which brings together civil rights and media historians to share scholarly knowledge on the vital relationship between civil rights movements and various types of public communication in the modern world. We also honor a scholar with the Farrar Media and Civil Rights History Award at the symposium. The award recognizes the best journal article or chapter in an edited book on the historical relationship between media and civil rights published during the previous two years. Dr. Kenneth Campbell's research addresses First Amendment legal history, media coverage of lynchings, and representation of African Americans in the media, including news, advertising, and entertainment programming.
Our faculty are some of the world’s leading experts on ethics and theories in public relations, relating to the reputations of organizations and the relationships they maintain with strategic publics and stakeholders. Groundbreaking research is being conducted on how public relations professionals handle crises, the role strategic communication plays in nonprofit or health care organizations, and the crucial role of organization-public relationships in modern strategic management. Our faculty publish research in top-tier journals, and have numerous research award winners, Hall of Fame members, and industry board members. They take leading roles in generating new knowledge and texts in public relations. Dr. Shannon Bowen’s "Overview of the Public Relations Function" (Business Expert Press), is in use in journalism schools as well as business schools and top MBA programs around the country. Dr. Holly Overton conducts public relations research relating to corporate social responsibility and sustainability communication. She has also examined psychological factors of information processing and engagement among publics, nonprofit public relations, and the persuasive impact of messages. Overton also serves as faculty director of the collaborative research efforts of the Public Relations/Strategic Communications Research Group in which doctoral students in the school conduct cutting-edge research in public relations and strategic communications.
Science and Health Communication
Recent risk-related faculty publications deal with media coverage of smoke-free public policies, the representation and influence of psychological depression in entertainment media and coverage of health-related topics on local news web sites. Science communication works address disaster communication on the Internet, media representations of genetically modified food as a public policy issue, and news media coverage of the Food and Drug Administration. Our graduate students also take part in such work through the Science and Health Communication Research Group. Dr. Brooke McKeever studies health communication with an emphasis on advocacy, campaigns, and mobilization strategies. Dr. Robert McKeever focuses on the processes and effects of health communication, particularly as applied to pro-social topics like mental health advocacy, persuasive health messages, and the ways individuals interact with information about health topics in online environments. Dr. Mo Jang conducts research on science communication in digital environments. He focuses on controversial topics like climate change, fake news, environment, and vaccine-autism links.
Visual communications faculty look at the vital role of visual media in the public sphere, technical and ethical topics of importance to photojournalists, and the notion of visual values. Faculty work with students on international projects driven simultaneously by research and outreach to develop graphic and web communications. Creative projects, such as documentary films, put into practice elements of visual communication focused on research. Dr. Tara Mortensen studies photojournalism professionalism in the era of citizen photography. In particular, she focuses on changes in the visual landscape, professional threat, and visual stereotyping.
Our mass communication researchers conduct research in a wide variety of topics related to news media, from sports and social media to politics and current events. Dr. Ran Wei’s work focuses on mass communication processes and the effects of media messages. He has researched such topics as media use and political participation, the effects of election polls and political attack ads, uses and gratifications of new media, media messages as cultural values, and media institutions and journalistic practices in Greater China. Dr. Kevin Hull researches the business of television news and sports communication, particularly the ways sports broadcasters engage viewers, organizations, and athletes using social media. Dr. Leigh Moscowitz examines the cultural production of news and the politics of media representation, particularly in the areas of gender, class, race, and sexuality. She is the author of The Battle Over Marriage: Gay Rights Activism Through the Media and co-author of Snatched: News Coverage of Child Abductions in U.S. Media and Coming Out of the Locker Room: Gay Athletes in the Media.
Want to see specific faculty interests? Visit our Faculty Research and Areas of Interest webpage.