Executive Committee 2015-2016

Holly Cowart
University of Florida


Holly Cowart is working toward a Ph.D. in Communication from the University of Florida.  Cowart’s research focuses on the presentation of news content in new media. She currently teaches a mass media survey course. Prior to moving to Florida, she taught as an instructor at Tennessee Tech University. While earning her Master’s degree in English Rhetoric from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, she worked as an adjunct professor for the UTC Communication Department. Her teaching experience includes media writing, copyediting, design, photojournalism and advertising. She worked as a reporter and assistant editor for The Chattanooga Times Free Press Community News after gaining experience writing news and feature stories for the North Georgia Newspaper Group.


Vice Head/Programming Chair
Burton Speakman
Ohio University


Research Chair
Nicholas Hirshon
Ohio University

Nicholas Hirshon is a teaching fellow and Ph.D. student at the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University.  An alumnus of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, Hirshon previously taught as an adjunct at St. John’s University (2010-2013) and LaGuardia Community College (2009-2013) in New York City.  At St. John’s, Hirshon helped revitalize the defunct campus chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. He won an AEJMC Promising Professors Award in 2014 in recognition of his “excellence and  innovation in teaching.”

Hirshon was a reporter for the New York Daily News from 2005 to 2011 and has freelanced for the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. At the Daily News, his coverage of historic sites earned a Friend from the Media Award from a prominent preservation group, the Historic Districts Council.

He has published two books, “Images of America: Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum” (2010), the only book on the Long Island hockey arena that hosts the New York Islanders, and “Images of America: Forest Hills” (2013), with a foreword by comedian Ray Romano. His work has also appeared in the Hockey News, Halifax Chronicle-Herald, Montreal Gazette, New York Amsterdam News, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and Tampa Tribune.


Assistant Research Chair
Chen Lou
Michigan State University


Membership Chair
Stephanie Miles
University of Iowa

Stephanie Miles a third-year Ph.D. student at the University of Iowa. Miles received her B.S. in Agricultural Communications and M.A. in Mass Communication from Texas Tech University. After her Master’s degree, she gained professional experience in the mass communication industry producing video and web content. However, her heart was always in higher education. She returned to her studies at the University of Iowa hopes to continue to use her passion for teaching and research as a professor after graduating in May 2016. Miles’ current research area is the influence of online, peer-generated information on health attitudes and behaviors.


PF&R Chair
Ginger Blackstone
University of Florida

Ginger Blackstone is a Ph.D. Candidate in the University of Florida’s Mass Communications program. She is on academic leave from Harding University, where she spent four years as an Assistant Professor, Instructor, Adjunct Instructor, and News Director of the university’s cable television station, TV16. She earned her Master’s degree in Journalism from the University of Arkansas in Little Rock and her undergraduate degree in Radio/TV Broadcasting at Harding University. Before her career in academe, Ms. Blackstone spent nearly two decades in the broadcast and cable news industry, including 13 years at CNN as an award-winning Supervising/Executive Producer and Producer. Prior to that, she held management, producer, reporter, and anchor positions at various local television stations across the south.

Her research interests are in the persuasive power of media, partisan bias and misinformation, and the future of journalism in the new media/Millennial landscape. Her research has been presented at a number of international and national academic conferences, including the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communications, Broadcast Education Association, American Journalism Historians Association, National Communication Association, and International Communication Association.


Teaching Chair
Lauren Furey
University of Florida