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My mug


Illustration by Bill Plympton. Used with permission.

How long have I been here at SJSU?  Well, at times it seems like it's been about 10 minutes, but the 2023-24 school year is my 24th here at SJSU.  I've been a full professor since August 2015.  

I've taught everything from entry-level general education classes to upper-division writing classes to graduate seminars.  I've been co-adviser to the Spartan Daily, our award-winning venerable campus news outlet, since 2003. The Daily won the College Media Association's national Four-Year Daily Newspaper of the Year award in October 2021, and took national Best In Show honors at the Associated Collegiate Press national conventions in 2020 and 2021.  The Daily has also been named Best in California by the California News Publishers Association three times (2019, 2021, 2022) and twice by the California College Media Association (2020, 2022). 

Related to all of that, I won the College Media Association's national Distinguished Adviser Award in October 2022. 

I seem to be fairly popular with the students, though I'm not in the best position to judge that. For something slightly more objective, check out some of the names they call me.  

Before arriving at SJSU, I spent the preceding two years as a visiting professor at Butler University in Indianapolis, IN.  I served as faculty advisor for both the Butler Collegian student newspaper and the Butler online student paper, DawgNet. I also designed the Butler Journalism Department Web site and taught writing and mass communication classes there. Before that, from August 1996 through April 1998, I worked as a visiting professor at the University of Michigan in the Department of Communication Studies.

My fourth book, Navigating the News: A Guide to Understanding Journalism, was released by Peter Lang Publishing in August 2020. For more information about the book, click here. To order a copy from Amazon, click here.

My third book, Polls, Expectations and Elections: TV News Making in U.S. Presidential Campaigns, is available from Lexington Books. For more information about the book, click here. To order a copy from Amazon, click here.

My second book, Newswriting and Reporting: The Complete Guide for Today's Journalist, a reporting text co-authored with Chip Scanlan, is available from Oxford University Press.  My first book, Online Journalism: Reporting, Writing, and Editing for New Media, is available from Cengage Learning. To read all about it, click here.

My main research area is media and politics, with a specialty in public opinion. I'm also involved in learning and writing about non-political effects of the various mass media -- not just news and entertainment outlets, but also the persuasive media such as advertising and public relations, as well as the so-called “new media.”

I was born and raised in National City, CA, a suburb of San Diego. I graduated from the University of California at San Diego with a degree in Communication in June of 1988. I then spent all or part of six years as a writer and editor at daily newspapers, working my way up from sorting letters and pouring coffee to editing and paginating nightly on deadline. I worked first for the Blade-Citizen in Oceanside, CA, then later the Herald & Review in Decatur, IL, and then with the North County Times in Escondido, CA. I have won awards from the San Diego Press Club, the California Newspaper Publishers Association and the Illinois Press Association for my reporting. My political commentary has appeared in the New York Times, the Miami Herald, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and many other outlets. For two years, I wrote a weekly online column about media and politics called Unsubstantiated Facts.

As a graduate student, I received my Ph.D. from the Institute of Communications Research at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in October 1995. My academic work includes publications and works in progress that address many aspects of the reciprocal relationship between officials, voters and the media. My doctoral dissertation, “The Pulse of Expectations: News Making in Presidential Campaigns,” looks at the ways in which campaign reporting has become a day-to-day series of contests, with assorted image-related hoops for candidates to jump through.  (This was also the beginning of the work that would eventually result in my third book -- see above.)

My publications and academic works are listed in my curriculum vitae.