About

PowersTowsonPhoto

I am an associate professor of journalism in the Department of Mass Communication at Towson University and a freelance podcast reporter, producer and host.

I have a Ph.D. in journalism studies from University of Maryland’s Philip Merrill College of Journalism, a master’s degree in American Culture Studies from Washington University in St. Louis and a bachelor of science in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. I’m a proud Seattle native and live in Washington D.C. with my wife and two kids.

My journalism and academic career has taken me from coast to coast with memorable stops in the Midwest.

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MediaShift named me an innovative journalism educator for “progressive practices that educators can apply in their classrooms.” I have taught courses such as Multimedia Reporting Capstone, Narrative Podcasting, Media Audiences & Analytics, Mass Communication Research (data literacy focus), Media and Politics (blended graduate course), News Writing and Reporting, News Editing, Sports Journalism, Media Literacy,  Journalism History, and Journalism Ethics.

In my upper-level journalism courses, I teach students to take a solutions-oriented approach to multimedia storytelling by focusing on how people are responding to social problems. In 2018, I took part in the inaugural Solutions Journalism Educators Academy, an initiative of the Catalyst Journalism Project at the University of Oregon.

Students in my Multimedia Reporting Capstone course team up to report on enterprise stories for The Baltimore Watchdog. In recent semesters, students have examined COVID-19, the role of technology in our lives, mental health on college campuses, and the future of work and higher education. These motion graphics videos I created explain the scope of their projects.

Students in Narrative Podcasting learn about podcast reporting, producing and hosting. They create explainers about the rise of podcasting and interview podcast hosts about how they do their work. Student work appears in The Baltimore Watchdog podcast feed and in the Baltimore Watchdog Podcast Network SoundCloud page.

For their final project, students produce profile podcasts of interesting people around Baltimore, including a 3D printing artist known as “the pot guy,” a math teacher who learned how to work with glass and a DJ making music from his dorm room.

In fall 2020, we worked collaboratively on an oral history of what it was like to be a student, parent, faculty member, staff member, administrator or coach at Towson during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. This seven-part podcast was produced for The Baltimore Watchdog and the Towson University Special Collections and University Archives.

Students in my Sports Journalism course cover games, write features on athletes and coaches, produce sports podcasts and videos, and work in teams on enterprise stories on sports in society.


My main research interests are audience metrics and the impact of journalism; aesthetic labor and role entrapment in journalism jobs, and youth civic engagement and news/media literacy. My research has been published in peer-reviewed journals such as Journalism Studies, Digital Journalism, International Journal of CommunicationNewspaper Research JournalJournal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media and Journal of Media Business Studies.

In MediaShift, an outlet covering the intersection of media and technology, I wrote about several of my studies, including how journalists define, measure and discuss their work’s impact, how the nonprofit news consortium behind the Panama Papers measures impact and what students know (and largely don’t know) about news personalization. Read this Huffington Post piece about my study of college students’ engagement with politics during an election year.  Listen to an interview with Newstalk 1010 in Toronto about my research on students’ addiction to media.

As a journalist for more than 15 years, I have covered media, higher education, health, business, politics, sports, the environment and the arts for publications such as The Los Angeles Times, Inside Higher Ed and The St. Louis Beacon. I created and produced podcasts at Inside Higher Ed and started a blog aimed at young readers while at the St. Louis Beacon. I hold certificates in data-driven and multimedia journalism.

I host and produce a series called Areas of Agreement that examines the urban-rural divide in the United States. The series is available anywhere you get your podcasts, including Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Anchor, Breaker, Pocket Casts, PRX Exchange and Radio Public.

Listen to a podcast I produced for PRX Exchange and the Transom Traveling Workshop in Seattle about a nature-based preschool, and two podcasts about COVID-19: how artists continue to collaborate online and how positive psychology can help us during the pandemic.