Tag Archives: Ph.D.

Saranaz Barforoush Successfully Defends Dissertation

Saranaz Barforoush - courtesy Wilson Institute.

COLLEGE PARK, Md. (June 13) – Congratulations to Dr. Saranaz Abdollahzadeh Barforoush, who successfully defended her dissertation in Knight Hall. The title of her dissertation is: Tyrants, Thugs, Fanatics & Charmers: U.S. Media Coverage of the Leaders of China & Iran. Dr. Barfouroush will be joining the University of British Columbia in Vancouver in the fall.

Her Committee included:
Dr. Susan Moeller, Journalism – Committee Chair
Dr. Mark Feldstein, Journalism
Dr. Sarah Oates, Journalism
Dr. Linda Steiner, Journalism
Dr. Shibley Telhami, Anwar Sadat Professor for Peace and Development
Dept. of Government and Politics – International Relations (Dean’s Representative)

Stanton Paddock Successfully Defends Dissertation

Dr. Stanton Paddock defends his dissertation on April 20, 2017 in Knight Hall.

COLLEGE PARK, Md. (April 21) – Congratulations to Dr. Stanton Paddock, who successfully defended his dissertation in Knight Hall Thursday, April 20. The title of his dissertation is, “The Institutionalization of Photojournalism Education:  Bringing the Blue-Apron Ghetto to American Schools of Journalism.”

The dissertation committee for Dr. Paddock includes:

  • Dr. Ira Chinoy, Journalism – Committee Chair
  • Dr. Linda Steiner, Journalism
  • Dr. Kalyani Chadha, Journalism
  • Dr. Helen Kalson Cohen, Education
  • Dr. Daryle Williams, History – Dean’s Representative

Ph.D. Candidate Wells Named Arkansas Assistant Professor

Rob Wells

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Merrill College Ph.D. candidate and popular journalism adjunct lecturer Rob Wells will be heading to Fayetteville, Arkansas and the Lemke Department of Journalism this fall. As an Assistant Professor, he’ll be teaching data journalism as well as developing new classes there. Another Merrill College Ph.D. graduate – Ray McCaffrey – is the director of the Ethics Center in the Lemke Department of Journalism at Arkansas.

We had an opportunity to talk with Wells about his upcoming job and what he has learned here as a Ph.D. student in the Philip Merrill College of Journalism:

1) Tell me about the new job and what you’ll be doing.

I will be teaching data journalism at the Lemke Department of Journalism in Fayetteville, a very nice town in the northwestern corner of Arkansas.  The department has a mix of journalism, advertising and public relations students, which I find interesting because of the different perspectives students bring to class. This will be a basic data journalism class examining how to use spreadsheets, data visualization and relational databases, and will draw material and concepts I’ve developed in my business journalism classes. I will also be teaching the graduate level communications theory class, which is very exciting since this is at the intersection of history, philosophy, culture and journalism. I will be able to drop some Plato and Aristotle and Marx on the students and make their heads explode – which is exactly what happened to me here and at St. John’s College when I read this material. I am very, very excited about this class as well.

2) You’ve been working on a new online statistics course for journalists – how challenging has that been? Why online?

Professor Deborah Nelson and I have developed a statistics class for journalism students. It will fulfill their analytic reasoning requirements in the general education sequence. This covers all of the material in your basic college statistics class but the examples and context are for journalists. I intend to cover a variety of typical reporting problems that involve statistics, from medical studies to sports scores to crime rates to economics news. The whole idea is that journalism students need to improve their numerical literacy, or nummeracy. Being well-versed in basic statistics  is a very powerful reporting tool. You can really turn the tables on a company or a government agency if you have your statistical chops down. I’ve seen this done before. I will develop this class over the summer and, yes, it will be challenging to present it in an engaging way. We are doing it online because it is about time we do it online! The material lends itself to an online presentation. If we get this right, hopefully we can scale it up.

3) What have you learned as a Ph.D. student here at Merrill College? What should a student know coming in about the program?

This is tough to answer in a concise format. I learned how to become a much more effective teacher and how to experiment in the class. I learned the power of collaborating with awesome colleagues like Sandy Banisky, Sean Mussenden, and Deborah Nelson, and how that can make the classes so interesting and special for the students. My Ph.D. cohort ally Pallavi Guha and I figured out the immense amount of talent and resources available here for teacher training and professional development. That was a surprise and a welcome benefit of the program. The Ph.D. process is daunting and I was grateful to have allies like Pallavi, James Gachau and Carole Lee as members of my cohort – we worked through the problems and supported each other a lot. We edit each others’ papers and discuss presentation strategies. I could not have finished this program without those guys. The major thing is you have to go out and make the program work for you. There are general guidelines but you have to work really hard to find a dissertation committee that makes sense, find relevant classes, and reach out to a wide range of faculty both within and outside Merrill College. I was also glad I had experience in management before coming here, because so much of this involves working with your dissertation committee and telling them what you need and figuring out how to align your work with their schedules. My committee – Sarah Oates, Kalyani Chadha, Mark Feldstein. Ira Chinoy and David Sicilia – has been very demanding but also very supportive. Linda Steiner isn’t on my committee but was always ready to help me. I am surprised by their energy and commitment, and hope to reciprocate when I advise master’s students.

About Rob Wells

Rob Wells is the former deputy bureau chief for Dow Jones Newswires/Wall Street Journal in Washington, D.C., where he oversaw 22 reporters who covered real-time business, economics and financial news in the nation’s capital. Prior to this, he was a business reporter for Dow Jones, Bloomberg News and The Associated Press. He holds a master’s degree in liberal studies from St. John’s College in Annapolis, where he studied philosophy, literature, history and political science. His 2015 paper on business journalism and financial history, “A Strong Sense of Outrage: Stan Strachan, the National Thrift News and the Savings and Loan Crisis” was awarded top student paper at the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communications in 2015.

He was a 2012 Reynolds Visiting Professor at the University of South Carolina, Columbia, a program sponsored by the Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism.

He is currently finishing his dissertation.

Merrill Ph.D. Candidate Tanya Lokot Talks “The Truth About Trolls”

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – “Truth and Trolls” took center stage during the Internet Governance Forum USA 2015 Conference in Washington, D.C. July 16. Merrill College Ph.D. candidate Tanya Lokot was a featured member of the panel (center photo above), which looked at ways of “Dealing with Toxic Speech while Protecting Free Speech Online.”

The panelists discussed the current state of online discussions, the difficulty of controlling those who “troll” and asked, “Are there better ways to preserve freedom of speech and civility online? Are there ways to use the Internet to fact-check posts and to ostracize or shame trolls? How could hate speech laws end up limiting free speech online?”

Other members of the panel included:

  • Greg Barber – Director of Digital News Project, The Washington Post
  • Jennifer Hanley – Director of Legal and Policy, Family Online Safety Institute
  • Courtney Radsch – Director of Committee to Protect Journalists

Screenshot 2015-07-18 09.49.18

A Storify was created to provide a focused review of the panel discussion:


About Tetyana (Tanya) Lokot

Tanya Lokot has an M.A. in journalism from National University Kyiv Mohyla Academy in Kyiv, Ukraine (2004) and a B.A. in management from International Christian University (2002). Upon receiving her M.A., she became AssistantProfessor and Head of New Media Sequence at Mohyla School of Journalism (NaUKMA,Kyiv, Ukraine) and has taught Radio News Production and New Media and Online Journalism courses for masters-level students. Tetyana has worked as journalist for radio, online and print media, most recently covering technology; she has also served as Development Director at Media Reform Centre, a Ukrainian media NGO. She has also acted as media trainer in projects for Westminster Foundation for Democracy and USAID Parliamentary Development Project in Ukraine. Tetyana has been a Consultant in Eastern Europe markets and social media for Webbmedia Group. In this capacity she has served on the judging panel for the ONA 2011 Online Journalism Awards (Non-English entries). She has also conducted new media trainings in Belarus newsrooms for ICFJ. As of 2012, Tetyana is in charge of researching the Ukraine chapter for the Freedom House “Freedom on the Net” report. Her research interests include: online protests, digital activism and political participation online, impact of internet communities on political decisions, social media platforms and social/political change, post-Soviet online spaces.

About the Internet Governance Forum USA

The Internet Governance Forum USA (IGF-USA) is a multistakeholder effort to illuminate issues and cultivate constructive discussions about the future of the Internet. It provides a domestic forum in the US to engage civil society, government, technologists, research scientists, industry and academia, helping to create partnerships, coalitions and dialogues that demonstrate best practices and help move policy forward.

Regional and national IGF meetings are taking place globally, including gatherings in East Africa, Europe (EuroDig), Latin America, the Caribbean, West Africa, Spain and Italy. These events are organized on a local level and have no formal ties to the global IGF, however the UN’s IGF Secretariat recognizes the importance of the regional and national events and reports from these meetings are shared at the international gatherings.

Koliska Defends Ph.D. Dissertation

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Dr. Michael Koliska successfully defended his Ph.D. dissertation today at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism.

Koliska’s  dissertation was titled, “Transparency and Trust in Journalism: An Examination of Values, Practices, and Effects” and included an analysis of some 27 interviews across a wide spectrum of journalists.

The dissertation committee included:

  • Professor , Linda Steiner, Journalism – Committee Chair
  • Professor, Sarah Oates, Journalism
  • Asst. Professor, Kalyani Chadha, Journalism
  • Assoc. Professor, Rosellina Ferraro, Marketing
  • Professor, Jeffrey Lucas, Sociology – Dean’s Representative

Koliska has already secured a tenure track assistant professorship at Auburn University’s School of Communication and Journalism.

More about Michael Koliska

Michael Koliska worked as radio reporter for the last 10 years in Germany, the US and China. He has a MA degree in Sociology and English from Magdeburg’s Otto-von-Guericke University in Germany, where he worked for a private radio station, a local newspaper and then Germany’s largest broadcast network. He then joined an NPR affiliate in Illinois as news anchor/reporter while pursuing a MS in Journalism at the University of Illinois. His latest assignment was as editor for China Radio International in Beijing, China.