Faculty Experts

At the SOJC, our faculty boast a diverse range of professional and academic expertise, from immersive media and artificial intelligence to corporate social responsibility, civic engagement, and science communication. Their groundbreaking research and innovative practice in the field puts them on the leading edge of the rapidly evolving creative and media industries.

The SOJC faculty members listed here are established experts in their fields and available for media interviews and related requests.

Jesse Abdenour

Assistant Professor, Journalism
Academic Areas: broadcast news, investigative journalism, documentary filmmaking, copyright law

Jesse Abdenour is an expert in broadcast news, investigative journalism, documentary filmmaking, and copyright law. Before becoming a professor, he spent eight years working as a television news anchor and reporter and has produced several documentary films.

Mitchell Block

Professor, Jon Anderson Chair of Documentary Studies and Production
Academic Areas: documentaries, filmmaking, producing, film distribution and marketing, copyright and fair use

Mitchell Block is an academic and professional expert in film distribution and production, documentaries and documentary shorts, animated shorts, live-action films, the film and TV industry, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the economics of filmmaking, independent filmmaking, festivals, theatrical production and distribution, and film and television education. In addition, he has experience making films in China, consulting for the media giant 10Cents and teaching at China colleges and universities. At the University of Oregon, he is a professor of documentary films.

Block has worked with an international base of clients in filmmaking, producing and marketing. He helped create the Pakistan, El Salvador film academies and the American branch of BAFTA in Los Angeles. He has created five film festivals, four of which continue to operate. He was one of the original program consultants at the US Film Festival/Sundance Film Festival. He has lectured on film throughout the Pacific Rim and in Russia and Iceland. He continues to make documentary and short films and his work was selected to be included on the Librarian of Congress National Film Registry. His short film, NO LIES was selected by the critics of Indiewire Magazine as one of the “Eight Best Short Films of All Time in 2019.”

Christopher Chávez

Associate Professor, Media Studies and Advertising
Academic Areas: popular culture, television, advertising trends, race and ethnicity

Christopher Chávez is an expert in media studies and how it relates to popular culture, advertising, and issues of race and ethnicity. Chris’ research focuses on marginalized communities. He has written extensively about the lack of Latinos in music, television and film, and LGBTQ-targeted advertising. In the past, Chris has commented on the Cover Oregon campaign, how advertisers are dealing with the legalization of marijuana, and changing television practices.

Nicole Dahmen

Associate Professor, Journalism and Visual Communication
Academic Areas: visual communication, graphic design, social media, photojournalism, commemorative journalism, news design, publication design, visual ethics, visual identity, iconic photographs, media technology, eye-tracking

Nicole Dahmen is an expert in visual communication. Her research focuses on ethical and technological issues in visual communication, with an emphasis on photojournalism in the digital age. Visual media coverage of political campaigns, military conflict, natural disasters, and social issues are some examples of topics where her expertise would be valuable.

Donna Davis

Associate Professor, Strategic Communication Master's Program Director
Academic Areas: Virtual Reality (VR), Digital Embodiment, Tech Equity and Inclusion, Digital Social Capital

Donna Davis is an expert in virtual reality (VR), digital embodiment, tech equity and inclusion, and digital social capital. At the University of Oregon, she is an associate professor and director in the Strategic Communication Master’s Program. Her ethnographic research focuses on the potential uses of social virtual worlds, gamification, and other emerging social media, with a special interest in marginalized and vulnerable communities.

Andrew DeVigal

Director of Agora Journalism Center, Chair in Journalism Innovation and Civic Engagement, Professor of Practice
Academic Areas: journalism innovation, community-centered journalism, media collaboration, civic engagement

Andrew DeVigal is an Emmy award–winning storyteller with expertise in journalism innovation, community-centered journalism, media collaboration, and civic engagement. The latest report he co-authored, "Assessing Oregon’s Local News & Information Ecosystem 2022," focuses on the role of local news in the civic health of communities. DeVigal holds the endowed chair in journalism innovation and civic engagement and is the director of the Agora Journalism Center, the forum for the future of local news and civic health at the UO SOJC.

A constant connector and bridge builder, DeVigal’s leadership at the school has led to industry-recognized initiatives such as Gather, a platform to support community-minded journalists, and the Doers Gathering, a toolkit to drive community-driven solutions addressing pressing local issues. Prior to joining UO, DeVigal was the multimedia editor at The New York Times, where he directed the multimedia team and conceived and produced ground-breaking story forms and processes that continue to shape the industry today.

Maxwell Foxman

Assistant Professor, Media Studies with a Focus on Games Studies
Academic Areas: play, gamification, immersive media

Maxwell Foxman is an expert in play, gamification, and immersive media. His research focuses on the use of games, game production, and play in nongame contexts, including journalism, politics, and social media. His most recent work focuses on early adopters of virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and other immersive headsets, for which he scrutinized the tools, general practices, and media coverage related to the technology. Foxman also studies the mainstreaming and culture of games journalism.

Tim Gleason

Professor Emeritus, Journalism
Academic Areas: communication ethics, journalism ethics, communication law, news editorial

Tim Gleason is an expert in communication law, communication ethics, and journalism ethics. At the University of Oregon, he is a professor emeritus of journalism specializing in communication law and ethics. His research focuses on public access to information and the definition of a “journalist.” Tim served as dean of the School of Journalism and Communication from 1997 through 2013, and from 1998 through 2021 he directed the Ancil Payne Award for Ethics in Journalism.

Peter Laufer

Professor, James N. Wallace Chair in Journalism
Academic Areas: conflict zones, ethics, organic food, borders

Peter Laufer is an expert in ethics, especially related to organic food and GMO labeling, borders, migration, reporting in conflict zones, and journalistic integrity. At the University of Oregon, he is the James N. Wallace Chair of Journalism and the co-director of the UNESCO Crossings Institute for Intercultural Dialogue and Conflict-Sensitive Reporting. He is an award-winning broadcaster, documentarian, and journalist. His career takes him all over the world. He covered the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and the wars in Central America for NBC Radio, and reported for CBS Radio as the Berlin Wall fell. Peter has authored several books on a range of topics, including an investigative book on the lack of reliability with organic labeling titled “Organic: A Journalist's Quest to Discover the Truth behind Food Labeling.”

Regina Lawrence

Professor, Associate Dean of SOJC Portland, Research Director of Agora Journalism Center, Editor of Political Communication
Academic Areas: political communication; journalism civic engagement; gender and politics; the role of media in politics, policy, and public discourse

Regina Lawrence is a nationally recognized authority on political communication, journalism civic engagement, gender and politics, and the role of media in politics, policy, and public discourse. Her latest research focuses on the role of local news in the civic health of communities. She has written a number of books, including When the Press Fails: Political Power and the News Media from Iraq to Katrina, which was awarded the Doris A. Graber Outstanding Book Award from the Political Communication section of the American Political Science Association. Her first book, The Politics of Force: Media and the Construction of Police Brutality, is being re-issued by Oxford University Press.

Seth Lewis

Associate Professor, Shirley Papé Chair in Emerging Media
Academic Areas: social media, media innovation, emerging technologies, technology and society, digital culture, robot journalism, big data, algorithms

Seth Lewis is an expert in social media, media innovation, emerging technologies, technology and society, and digital culture. A former journalist turned PhD, Seth’s research explores the digital transformation of journalism. He can also speak about robot journalism and journalism in an era of big data.

Ed Madison

Assistant Professor, Journalism
Academic Areas: journalism, media, political journalism, journalism education

Ed Madison is an expert in journalism and media and the SOJC’s media partnership coordinator. Ed was a founding producer at CNN and spent 27 years as an executive producer/director of network television, film, and commercial projects. He is currently the faculty adviser for NW Stories and OR Magazine, principal investigator for the National Science Foundation-funded My STEM Story project, and director of the Journalistic Learning Initiative.

Gabriela Martínez

Associate Professor, Media Studies
Academic Areas: international communication, political economy of communication, telecommunication, human rights, collective memory and the media, Latin America, immigration

Gabriela Martínez is an expert in international communication, the political economy of communication, human rights, and social movements. An internationally award-winning documentary filmmaker, Gabriela has produced, directed, or edited more than a dozen ethnographic and social documentaries.

Kelli Matthews

Senior Instructor of Public Relations
Academic Areas: social media, public relations, brands, crisis management, athletes

Kelli Matthews is an expert in social media use among teens and young adults, and she trains individuals and organizations on the art of social media. In the SOJC, she is director of the Portland Experience internship program. Her research analyzes trends in social media and crisis communication strategies for businesses and brand management. Among her many classes, she trains incoming athletes how to build a brand and effectively represent themselves and the university through social media.

Juan-Carlos Molleda

Edwin L. Artzt Dean, Professor of Public Relations
Academic Areas: public relations, international business, global corporate public relations management

Juan-Carlos Molleda, PhD, is a public relations expert whose research focuses on global corporate public relations management. Juan-Carlos has authored more than 41 refereed publications, 20 book chapters, and 55 conference research papers. He has more than 21 years of experience teaching and researching public relations and communication management, serving as the public relations department chair in the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications before coming to the SOJC. In addition to his outreach to the professional community, he is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Institute for Public Relations and a founding member of its Commission on Global Public Relations Research, the Latin American liaison of the Public Relations Society of America’s Certification in Education for Public Relations, and a member of The LAGRANT Foundation Board of Directors. Between 2007 and 2013, he also held leadership positions in the Public Relations Division of the International Communication Association.

Ellen Peters

Professor, Philip H. Knight Chair, Director of Center for Science Communication Research
Academic Areas: science communication, judgment and decision making, numeracy, affect and emotion, adult aging, COVID-19 communication

Ellen Peters is an academic expert in decision-making and the science of science communication. Her primary research interests are how people judge and decide, and how evidence-based communication can boost comprehension and improve decision-making in health, financial, and environmental contexts. She is especially interested in the basic building blocks of human judgment and decision making—such as emotions and number abilities—and their links to effective communication techniques. These processes are also central to the effects of adult aging in decision-making as well as to public policy issues, such as how to communicate about the health effects of smoking or the pros and cons of cancer screenings and treatments. She is also interested in methods to increase number ability, a.k.a. numeracy, to improve decision-making and, in turn, health and financial outcomes.

As the director of the Center for Science Communication Research at the University of Oregon, Ellen explores how policy makers, physicians, and other experts can enhance public understanding of science and technology by advancing the science of science communication.

Whitney Phillips

Assistant Professor, Digital Platforms and Ethics
Academic Areas: Political Communication, Digital Cultures, Media Ecologies, Media Ethics, Online Ethics, Rightwing Media Cultures, Moral Panics, Conspiratorial Belief, Narrative and Identity

Journalism professor Whitney Phillips studies where political communication, interpersonal communication, and information dysfunction collide. Her research shows that, while we need to be plugged into the news cycle, we also need to consider issues of citizen wellbeing and mental health, since nothing shuts down engaged citizenship faster than stress and overwhelm. Equally critical is interpersonal communication; According to her research, we need to focus on strategies for having difficult conversations about issues that make us angry and people we fundamentally disagree with. 

Recent Media:
Satanic panic is making a comeback, fueled by QAnon believers and GOP influencers (NBC News, Sept. 14, 2022)
January 6, Trump and the rise of America's dangerous 'shadow gospel' (NBC News, July 21, 2022)
Before massacre, Uvalde gunman frequently threatened teen girls online (Texas Tribune, May 28, 2022)

Damian Radcliffe

Professor, Carolyn S. Chambers Professor in Journalism
Academic Areas: social media, news media trends, community journalism, media policy, hyperlocal

Damian Radcliffe is an expert in news media trends, social media, community journalism, and media policy. As an experienced digital analyst, consultant, journalist, and researcher, he can speak to media policy and the media landscape in the United Kingdom, United States, and Qatar. His research focuses on the use of social media and wider trends in local media, technology, the business of media, and journalism innovation. Damian is also honorary research fellow at Cardiff University’s School of Journalism, Media, and Culture Studies, and a fellow of the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures, and Commerce.

Hollie Smith

Assistant Professor, Science and Environmental Communication
Academic Areas: science communication and media

Hollie Smith is an expert in science communication and media. Smith’s research focuses on how the media covers scientific and environmental issues, the effects of that coverage on decision-making behavior, and how innovative trainings can improve scientific understanding through media. Her work is largely collaborative and has a focus on advancing knowledge in a way that will yield practical application and results. Smith primarily works on the issues of climate change, alternative energy, and public policy.

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