Brendan R. Watson

Assistant Professor, Michigan State University School of Journalism

Ongoing Research Projects

  • Examining the role and sustainability of citizen-produced blogs in fulfilling some of the civic functions formally fulfilled by declining local news reporting
    (I am currently seeking graduate student research assistants to assist with this project; funded by a grant-in-aid award from the University of Minnesota's Office of the Vice President for Research)
  • Using web search data to model community information needs
  • Using demographic projection techniques to predict future community information needs
  • Using GIS to map disparities local crime reporting
  • Using GIS to map disparities in online and mobile e-government participation


  • 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