Our Stories - September 2022
Our Stories - September 2022

Director's Note

We’ve had a great start to the new year in SJMC. We kicked off the year with a School picnic to welcome all SJMC students, faculty, and staff. We had an amazing turnout and look forward to continuing to connect with our community.

We’re also excited about Iowa’s distinction as the #2 ranked university for “Writing in the Disciplines” in this year’s U.S. News and World Report. Learn more about writing at Iowa and see SJMC alum, Mikhayla Hughes-Shaw, and current student, Maddie McCarron, in this video.

This new monthly e-newsletter will be our way of updating you on all the exciting news going on in the School. If you have a story to share, please send it to sjmc@uiowa.edu.

Melissa Tully, Interim Director

Faculty News

Brian Ekdale presented on his collaborative research project on personalization algorithms and online radicalization at the U.S. Department of Defense 6.1 Basic Research Conference and at the Air Force Office of Scientific Research Trust & Influence annual program review.

Brian Ekdale and Collaborators


Gigi Durham participated as an expert panelist for a national webinar on girls and media, sponsored by the "Children and Screens" program of the Institute of Digital Media and Child Development.


Don McLeese’s new book, Slippery Steps, will be released on October 8 with a special event at the Iowa City Book Festival.



Can you guess which SJMC faculty member’s book is the answer to this Jeopardy question? Find the answer here.

Undergraduate Student News

Tracy Hufford and her Event Management students tackle mental health challenges at the University of Iowa and beyond through their engagement with the Green Bandana Project in a community engaged event planning course.

Meet our 2022-2023 SJMC Peer Mentors! This dynamic group of students supports and encourages student success in the School through individual meetings and group events. 

In summer 2022, Gretchen Lenth was a Data Journalism Intern at The Wichita Beacon in Wichita, Kansas, and Eleanor Hildebrandt was a Digital Media Intern at Dow Jones Industrial Average NDX in Logan, Utah.

Graduate Student News

Patrick Johnson co-authored two research posts as part of his work with the Trusting News Project:

Research insights: What we learned testing an anti-polarization checklist with news consumers

Research insights: Reaching and building trust with diverse audiences

New doctoral student David Lomoywara presented “Examining Media Framing of Women in Top Political Positions in Kenya During the 2022 Campaigns” at the Kenya Scholars and Studies Association (KESSA) Conference.

Iowa High School Press Association

The Iowa High School Press Association Conference is quickly approaching! It’s a daylong conference on October 20 in the Iowa Memorial Union for Iowa high school students participating in media and yearbook activities and their media advisors. This year, the conference will feature two keynotes:

Nixson Benítez, Executive Editor | Northern Iowan

Benítez is an undergraduate student at the University of Northern Iowa (UNI), where he studies digital media journalism and web development. He currently serves as the executive editor at the Northern Iowan, UNI's student newspaper, and founded the paper's Spanish language column. Benítez is also one of the founders of the Iowa Association of Black Journalists. 

Ty Rushing Senior Editor | Iowa Starting Line

Rushing has written about his experiences as a Black transplant adjusting to living in Iowa, penned heart-warming features, and profiled prominent community leaders and politicians in central to northwest Iowa. Recently, Rushing wrote, produced, and directed his first documentary film "Telling Our Own Story: Ending Racism" in conjunction with Iowa PBS. He is the co-founder and president of the Iowa Association of Black Journalists.


Interested in learning more about the conference or IHSPA? Contact Michelle Sillman.

We’re Hiring

Review of applications for our tenure-track strategic communication assistant professor position will begin on October 1. 

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