About

PowersTowsonPhoto

I am an associate professor of journalism in the Department of Mass Communication at Towson University, a Washington, D.C. resident and a Seattle native.

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 at Northwestern University. I attended and later taught at the Medill-Northwestern Journalism Institute (better known as the journalism cherubs program).

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.

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Solutions Journalism Educators Academy participants

Students in my Multimedia Reporting Capstone course team up to report on enterprise stories for the Baltimore Watchdog. Students in spring 2020 examined the role of technology in our lives.

Video by Elia Powers

Students in fall 2019 explored mental health on college campuses.

Video by Elia Powers

Students in spring 2019 worked collaboratively with data journalism students on solutions journalism projects on the future of work and higher education.

My main research interests are audience metrics and the impact of journalism; youth civic engagement and news/media literacy; and media and disability. 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. 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.

Listen to podcasts I voiced and produced about college life, with reporting help from students in Narrative Podcasting.

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Until 2018, I was a regular contributor to MediaShift. Listen to a podcast or watch a video in which I discuss my article about the emerging role of engagement editors.

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