New faculty spotlight: Mallory Perryman, journalism
Aug 16, 2017
Posted in: News
Mallory Perryman, Ph.D., is the newest hire in the Robertson School's journalism sequence. She will begin teaching this fall in the School.
Where are you from and where did you work, or study, previously?
I grew up in northwest Arkansas and ventured to Missouri for my undergraduate degree. At the University of Missouri School of Journalism, I majored in broadcast journalism and worked as a producer for KOMU-TV, the NBC affiliate in Columbia, Missouri. I stayed at Mizzou to earn my master’s degree and to produce for a multimedia news startup, Newsy, which focuses on video news for web, mobile, tablet, and smart TV apps. I left my producing gigs to pursue a doctorate at the University of Wisconsin, where I spent five years teaching and researching journalism. I graduated in 2017 and embarked on a lengthy road trip to join the fine folks at VCU.
What is your teaching philosophy? What classes will you be teaching this upcoming semester?
I think an ideal journalism education strikes a balance between the newsroom and the classroom. The classroom is an opportunity to develop foundational skills; to dive into the theory, history and ethics of journalism; a place to try, and sometimes to fail, but to always try again. The classroom is a place to learn, not what to think, but how to think — how to find information, evaluate it, question it, and present it in a clear and engaging way.
The newsroom is where students begin to understand why such skills matter; to experience the pressure of a profession that demands accuracy and fairness, the rush of being a part of a quest for truth, and the privilege of telling the public’s story. The newsroom is a student's first chance to exercise their role as a public servant and to ultimately see why the lessons they learned inside the classroom are so critical outside of it.
For the fall 2017 semester, I’ll be teaching Journalism Writing (MASC 203) and Intro to Broadcast Writing (MASC 363).
What is your research focus?
My research focuses on public trust in news with an emphasis on perceptions of media bias. I use a combination of survey and experimental methods, including psychophysiology techniques, to look at news from the perspective of the audience. Why do people say they like their own news sources, but also report disliking the “media” in general? How can it be that people with opposing political views can judge the same news story as biased, but in different directions? Why do people so often believe that news stories will have negative effects on others? By tackling such questions, my work helps to explain why people are so often frustrated with news coverage, and why levels of public trust in media have plummeted.
Hobbies and interests outside of the classroom?
I find joy in coffee, my enormous cat, dystopian fiction, and Mexican food. I’m always up for learning new things— right now I’m trying my hand at Spanish— and my partner and I like to explore new places. We visited Denmark, Switzerland, and Italy this summer. I’m also interested in photography (AKA Snapchat), films (AKA binging Netflix), exercise (AKA I run 3x a week and I hate it), and talking about current events with friends (AKA I spend a lot of time on Twitter and Reddit).
What are you looking forward to about living in Richmond?
The food. Try finding decent fried chicken in Wisconsin!