Spring Research Colloquium with Sue Robinson

Thursday, December 3, 2020 -
8:00am to 4:00pm

Freedom Forum Conference Center

About the event

The UNC Hussman School of Journalism and Media will celebrate the outstanding ongoing research at the school in its annual Spring Research Colloquium on Thursday, Dec. 3 in the Freedom Forum Conference Center (305 Carroll Hall). The event was rescheduled from its original date of April 29.

Dr. Sue Robinson of the UW-Madison School of Journalism and Mass Communication is a top scholar in the area of changing roles of news and news organizations in communities will deliever the keynote address:

Networked News, Racial Divides: How Power and Privilege Shape Public Discourse In Progressive Communities

In recent research, Sue Robinson of the University of Wisconsin-Madison has explored the intense distrust of journalists and their journalism among marginalized communities and other publics while appreciating the norms of accountability and objectivity that can produce biased coverage. In this talk, she will demonstrate how highly networked and entrenched communication patterns reify problematic status quos and perpetuate unhelpful – and stagnant – journalistic practices. She will share how this research transformed her own mindset – and life – as a white academic and former mainstream journalist, changing the way she teaches journalism students, conducting research, and engaging in civic life by focusing on communication routines. Robinson suggests that the very concept of what we mean by “trust” and “engagement” in the information exchange of local communities must undergo a metamorphosis for journalists and community members alike.


Research Legacy at the Hussman 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.