Brendan R. Watson

Assistant Professor, Michigan State University School of Journalism

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Refereed Journal Articles

Housholder, E., Watson, B.R., and LoRusso, S. (In Press). Does political advertising lead to online information seeking?: A real-world test using Google search data. Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media.

Watson, B.R. (2017). Murder she searched: The effect of violent crime and news coverage of crime on residents’ information needs. Mass Communication & Society, 20, 241-259. doi: 10.1080/15205436.2016.1230222

Watson, B.R. (2016). ‘A window into shock, pain, and attempted recovery’: A decade of blogging as a coping strategy in New Orleans. New Media & Society. Advanced online publication. doi: 10.1177/1461444816681523 Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, 93, 1135-1159. doi: 10.1177/1077699016644558

Lacy, S., Watson, B.R., Riffe, D., and Lovejoy, J. (2015). Issues and best practices in content analysis. Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, 92, 791-811. doi: 10.1177/1077699015607338

Watson, B.R., & Cavanah, S.(advanced online publication). Community information needs: A theory and methodological framework Mass Communication & Society.doi: 10.1080/15205436.2015.1059948

Watson, B.R., Zamith, R., Cavanah, S., & Lewis, S.C. (advanced online publication). Are demographics adequate controls for cell phone-only coverage bias in mass communication research? Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly.

Watson, B.R. & Chen, M. (advanced online publication). @todayin1963: Commemorative journalism, digital collective remembering, and the March on Washington. Journalism Studies.

Watson, B.R. (2015). Is Twitter an alternative medium?: Comparing Gulf Coast Twitter and newspaper coverage of the 2010 BP oil spill. Communication Research.Advanced online publication. doi: 10.1177/0093650214565896

Watson, B.R. (2014). Normalizing community structure’s restraint on critical Tweets about a polluting industry. Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media.58(4), 581-600. doi: 10.1080/08838151.2014.966359

Lovejoy, J., Watson, B.R., Lacy, S., & Riffe, D. (2014). Assessing the reporting of reliability in published content analyses: 1985-2010. Communication Methods and Measures.Advanced online publication. doi: 10.1080/19312458.2014.937528

Watson, B.R. (2014). Assessing ideological, professional, and structural biases in journalists' coverage of the 2010 BP oil spill. Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly. Advanced online publication. doi: 1077699014550091

Watson, B.R.(2014). When critical voices should speak up: Patterns in news coverage of unofficial sources during the BP oil spill. Journalism Practice. Advanced online publication. doi: 10.1080/17512786.2014.892723

Watson, B.R., Riffe, D., Lynsy Smithson-Stanley, & Emily Ogilvie. (2013). Mass media and perceived and objective environmental risk: Race and place of residence. Howard Journal of Communications, 24(2), 134-153. doi: 10.1080/10646175.2013.776418

Watson, B.R. and Riffe, D. (2013). Perceived threat, immigration policy support, and media coverage: Hostile media and presumed influence. International Journal of Public Opinion Research, 25(4), 459-479. doi: 10.1093/ijpor/eds032

Watson, B.R. (2012). Bloggers' rely on sources outside traditional media. Newspaper Research Journal, 33 (4), 20-33.

Watson, B.R. (2012). Ideologies drive journalists’ attitudes toward oil industry. Newspaper Research Journal, 33(2), 6-22.

Watson, B.R. and Riffe, D. (2011). The structural determinants of local public affairs place blogging: Structural pluralism and community stress. Mass Communication &Society, 14 (6), 879–904. doi: 10.1080/15205436.2011.611922

Lacy, S., Watson, B., and Riffe, D. (2011). Study examines relationship among mainstream, other media. Newspaper Research Journal, 32(4), 53-67.

Non-Refereed Journal Articles

Watson, B., & Riffe, D. (2014). Who submits work to J&MCQ and why?: A demographic profile and belief summary. Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, 91, 5-16. doi: 10.1177/1077699013520195


  • Ph.D., Mass Communication, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
  • M.A., Journalism, University of Missouri-Columbia
  • B.A., English Literature & American Culture Studies, Washington University in St. Louis

Research Interests

  • Community information needs
  • Public affairs news/information
  • Social and participatory media
  • Community composition/structure
  • Public opinion
  • Digital research methods
>>Published research


Watson, B.R. and Cavanah, S. (2015).Community information needs: A theory and methodological framework. Mass Communication & Society, 18, 651-673. doi: 10.1080/15205436.2015.1059948



School of Journalism
College of Commmunication Arts & Sciences, Michigan State University
404 Wilson Road, Room 302
East Lansing, MI 48824
(517) 884-4487