Brendan R. Watson

Assistant Professor, Michigan State University School of Journalism

I've taught every level of student, from college freshman to Ph.D. students, in courses ranging from newswriting and convergence journalism, to "Communication, Public Opinion, and Social Media" and "Mass Media & Social Change." I've taught classes of all sizes and have taught and mentored journalism, advertising, and public relations students.

Currently my teaching portfolio at the University of Minnesota includes "context" courses about the social and political roles of the mass media and graduate research methods. I also remain involved in the digital evolution of the school's professional journalism curriculum.

Below is a list of the courses I've been assigned to teach. You can email me to request course syllabi or additional information about the courses.

University of Minnesota-Twin Cities

  • JOUR 5501: Communication, Public Opinion, & Social Media
    (Upper level undergraduate/graduate course, Fall 2013; Fall, 2014)
  • JOUR 4721: Mass Media & U.S. Society
    (Spring, 2015)
  • JOUR 3004: Information for Mass Communication
    (Fall 2012, Spring 2013 (honors), Spring 2014)
  • JOUR 3102: Convergence Journalism
    (Fall 2012)
Graduate (Master's and Ph.D.)
  • JOUR 8501: The Process of Quantitative Mass Communication Research
    (Fall 2014)
  • JOUR 8504: Analyzing Media Content*
    (Spring 2015)
    *I proposed and designed this course, which was approved as a permannet part of the school's graduate curriculum, in the Fall of 2013)
  • JOUR 8651: Mass Media & Social Change
    (Fall 2013)

University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill

  • JOUR 153: Newswriting
    (Introductory undergraduate course, Spring 2011)
  • JOUR 221: Audio & Video Information Gathering
    (Undergraduate course, Fall 2010)


  • 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