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BAA (Journalism): Central Michigan University

Courses Taught
• Racial and Cultural Diversity: Mass Media's Role



Owner/President of Backus Public Relations, a full-service public relations/marketing firm for more than 20 years.  Kathy has public relations experience in both the private and public sectors.  She founded online magazine, Vision Mid-Michigan. 

Ph.D: 2000, University of Washington
MS: 1997, MSU
BA: 1994, University of Minnesota

Service Responsibilities

Department of Journalism Curriculum
Multimedia Design Minor

Courses Taught
• Intro to Graphics & Visual Communication
• Adv Media Graphics & Visual Comm

Research Interests
• Mass Communication
• Cultural Studies
• Crmie News
• Deviance
• Surveillance Studies



Dr. Baker joined the Department of Journalism in 2009, was promoted ​to Associate Professor in 2013, and tenured in 2016. Before becoming a member of the faculty at CMU, he taught in the Department of Mass Communication and Communication Studies and was the Director of the Communication Management Graduate Program at Towson University. Dr. Baker is an outstanding teacher. As a scholar he has published widely and given many juried presentations. His research and teaching interests include: visual communication; crime and the media; new media theory; and race, class ​and gender. 

Recent Scholarship

Baker, S. (2015). Do two wrongs make a right?: News analysis of a violent response to clergy sex abuse,  Journal of Media and Religion 14(2): 57-73.

Baker, S. (forthcoming).  The Black press centering on injustice: News frames in mainstream and minority newspapers. In Tait, A. A. & Hayes, A.S. (Eds). Essays on African-American owned media. Lewiston NY: Edwin Mellen Press.  Expected publication date – 2016.

Baker, S. (2015). Baudrillard and the “The Simpsons”: Pedagogy and cultural studies in the postmodern university.  International Association for Media and Communication Research conference paper.  Montreal, Canada.

Lauffer, K. & Baker, S. (2015). Challenging hegemonic beliefs about physician assisted death: The Brittany Menard effect. International Association for Media and Communication Research conference paper.  Montreal, Canada.​

Ph.D: 2000, Indiana University
MS: 1985, Brooklyn College
MA: 2008, Central Michigan University
BS: 1982, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point
​​​ Courses Taught
• Intro to Digital Journalism
• Rac/Cult Div: Mass Media's Role


Lori F. Brost is an associate professor and teaches courses in online journalism, mass communication and society, and diversity in the media. Her primary research interests include online media and oral history. Lori has taught at the China Agricultural University (through the University of Colorado at Denver), Indiana University, the University of Iowa, the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and Brooklyn College of the City University of New York. 

Recent Scholarship

Lori F. Brost, "Editors Have Mixed Feelings on User-Generated Content," Newspaper Research Journal, Vol. 34, No. 3, Summer 2013, pp. 101-115

Lori F. Brost and Carol McGinnis, "The Status of Blogging in Ireland: A Case Study," in Blogging in the Global Society: Cultural, Political, and Geographical Aspects, Tatyana Dumova and Richard Fiordo, eds. IGI Global, 2012, pp. 128-147

Juris Doctor – 1993 Thomas. M. Cooley Law School
B.A. – Political Science 1988 Michigan State University
Courses Taught
• Law of Mass Media

Research Interests
The meaning of “Consent of the Governed” and its application to constitutional interpretation, statutes, and regulations.


Professor Coon has been practicing law in Michigan since 1993. As a general practice attorney he has experience in almost every area of law, including torts, contracts, real property, business law, constitutional law, administrative law, bankruptcy and probate and estates. 

He is the senior partner at Coon & Elmy, PC, a bankruptcy law firm he founded in 2006. Professor Coon is also currently an Adjunct Professor at Rasmussen University teaching Property and Estate Planning online.

He and his wife Yulia own Coon's Berry Farm, which grows black currants, red currants, gooseberries and raspberries and also Currant Mist Winery located in Oil City a few minutes East of Mt. Pleasant. Their wines have won numerous gold and double gold medals as well as best in class in the American Wine Society wine commercial competition in 2018.

BS: 1993, Central Michigan University
​​​ ​Courses Taught
• Writing for Mass Media
• Info Gathering for Mass Media
• Journalism Practicum 


Steve Coon started teaching courses in the Department of Journalism​ at CMU in 2001. He has taught classes in media writing, reporting, information gathering, sports and the media and public relations. He spent 15 years in the newspaper industry with the Mount PleasantMorning Sun, including 13 years as an editor. During his time as managing editor and news editor, theMorning Sun received seven Michigan Press Association “Newspaper of the Year” awards. He also was recognized with MPA honors for editorial writing and feature writing. He started his career as a sports writer and received several awards from the Associated Press and Michigan Press Association for his work in that area. In 2010, he served as deputy communications director on a gubernatorial campaign, followed by another stint in public relations in 2012 as communications director for a campaign for Congress in Michigan’s Third Congressional District.
Ph.D: Northwestern University
MA: University of Colorado at Denver
BS: South Dakota School of Mines & Technology


Dr. Dailey's basic interests are in the areas of conflict, bargaining and negotiating, and debate as a form of conflict. Currently, Dr. Dailey is in the process of working on a book project with his colleagues Edward A. Hinck and Shelly Hinck on how face saving and face threatening strategies shape audience's perceptions of candidates in presidential and vice presidential debate. He is also involved in research into family conflict as well as research into the way in which feelings of embarrassment are affected by one's relationship attachment style.

Selected Scholarship

  • Politeness over Forty Five Years of Presidential Debates, Roman and Littlefield, with Edward A. Hinck and Shelly Hinck, in press.
  • Politeness in the 2000 and 2004 Presidential Debates, Argumentation & Advocacy, Co-authored with Edward A. Hinck and Shelly Hinck, forthcoming.
  • Do parenting newsletters really work: A true experiment. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the National Communication Association, Chicago, November 2004.

Ph.D: 2009, University of Alabama
MA: 2005, University of Alabama
BA: 1987, Tashkent State University
​​​ Courses Taught
• Case Studies in Public Relations
• Public Relations Seminar


In Russia, Elina Erzikova made her way from a reporter to the editor-in-chief of a regional newspaper. While working as a journalist, she taught journalism courses to university public relations students and ran her own journalism school for beginning reporters. She also worked as a PR manager for a political party in Russia. Erzikova’s academic and professional specialization and passion are located at the intersection of journalism, public relations and political communication. She has published and presented a number of academic papers and received several academic and professional grants from various organizations. Her main hobbies —photography and travel — are journalism driven. Erzikova was named an Emerging Scholar in 2012 by the Association of Education in Journalism and Mass Communication. She is also a Fellow of the Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations at the University of Alabama.

Recent Scholarship

Petersone, B., & Erzikova, E. (in press, available online on October 6, 2015). Leadership and Public Relations: A Comparative Study of Communication Management in Latvia and Russia. Public Relations Review.

Lowrey, W. & Erzikova, E. (2015). A chapter, News media ecosystems and population dynamics: A cross-cultural analysis. In C. Paterson, D. Lee, A. Saha and A. Zoellner (Ed.), Advancing Media Production Research: Shifting Sites, Methods, and Politics. UK: Palgrave Macmillan.

Lowrey, W., & Erzikova, E. (2014). Shifting institutional orders and responses to technological disruption among local journalists in Russia and the U.S. The International Communication Gazette, 76(7), 552-574. 

BS: 1991, Central Michigan University
Associates: 1987, Delta Community College
Courses Taught
• Basic Media Photojournalism           


Tim Fitzgerald began his photography career in 1984 while stationed in northern Europe with the U.S. Army. After graduating from Central Michigan University with a BS in Journalism and a minor in Earth Science in 1991, he worked as a staff photographer for The Saginaw News(Mich.), The Shelbyville News (Ind.) and The Phoenix Gazette (Ariz.). Between and after staff jobs, Fitzgerald worked as a freelance photojournalist and was a daily contributor to the Associated Press, USA TodayThe Detroit Newsand The Detroit Free Press until 1998. In 1997, Fitzgerald started a sports action photography business servicing eleven state high school athletic associations while shooting their state finals. In 2007, he joined the faculty of CMU’s Department of Journalism, and in 2009 he joined Central’s Intercollegiate Athletic Department as their staff photographer.
MS: 2002, Syracuse University
MS: 1979, Texas Woman's University
BS: 1976, University of North Carolina
​​​ Courses Taught
• Intro to Journalism
• Shaping the Media
• Basic Media Photography


Professor Hernández was a photojournalist at The Grand Rapids Press for nine years where she served as interim bureau chief for six months during that time. While at The Press, she traveled to Haiti, Mexico and Cuba to work on stories. She speaks French and Spanish fluently, and has recently created a Study Abroad experience in Cusco, Peru, for students at Central Michigan University. Professor Hernández is interested in visual media and storytelling, which can add multiple dimensions to our view of the world. 

Recent Scholarship

Hernández, T. (author) and G. Harwood (photographer), 2007, Growing Season: Unique Project Documents a Migrant Community in Ohio,” News Photographer Magazine, February, pp. 21-27. http://faculty.kent.edu/thernand/Magazine_Articles/GrowingSeason_07.pdf

Hernández, T. (author), 2005, “24 Hours in Lima: Documenting the Life of an Ohio Community While Giving Students Invaluable Experience,” News Photographer Magazine, September, pp. 36-41. http://faculty.kent.edu/thernand/Magazine_Articles/24HOUR.pdf

Sabo, M.A. (author) and T. Hernández (photographer), 1998, “From Mexico to Michigan,” (5-day series documenting the movement of manufacturing plants to Mexico), The Grand Rapids Press. May 31-June 3, A1. ​

PhD: 2017, University of Tennessee
MS: 2013, University of Tennessee
BA/BS: 2004, Kyung Hee University, South Korea

​​​ Courses Taught
• Advertising Media
• Advertising & Public Relations Research


Jinhee Lee received her Ph D. in Communication and Information at University of Tennessee in Aug, 2017. Her research focuses on consumer resistance to pro-environmental advertising, specifically, the impacts of consumer skepticism on their evaluation of pro-environmental advertising. She has applied consumer’s cognitive and affecetive processing of pro-environmental advertising to explore her research agenda.

In terms of professional experience, she worked as a researcher at the Korea Internet Advertising Deliberation Organization, which is an organization that promotes the self-regulation of Internet advertising in South Korea. Her main duties was establishing Internet banner and keyword advertising self-regulation guidelines and monitoring keyword advertising to locate misleading advertising.

Recent Scholarship

Park, S.J., Lee, J., & Park, J.S. (2017). Evaluating the message strategy of U.S. Army advertising: With focus on information needs and motivational cues. Journal of Promotion Management, 23(2), 303-319. 

MSJ: Northwestern University
BSJ: Northwestern University
​​​ ​Courses Taught
• Advertising Copy & Design
• Writing for Advertising
• Advertising Media
• Advertising Account Management
• Advertising Principles
• Racial Diversity: Mas Media's Role
• Public Relations Principles and Practices
• ​Public Relations Writing


Mike has been copywriter and creative director at several Chicago ad agencies, including D'arcy, Benton & Bowles, Grey and Marsteller. After moving to Michigan, he was creative director at J. W. Messner Inc. and VP/executive creative director at Francis Marketing in Grand Rapids. Mike has created successful campaigns for clients including Chevrolet, Georgia-Pacific, Culligan, the American Cancer Society, Ace Hardware, Ralston-Purina and the American Dairy Association.

Mike has won numerous advertising awards, from Addy's and Telly's to the international ReBrand 100. He is frequently asked to judge ad competitions across the country, and is a board member of the West Michigan chapter of the American Advertising Federation. He has substantial teaching experience along with his professional career, having served on the faculty at Grand Valley State and Southern Illinois universities as well as Central Michigan. Mike loves comedy; he has performed on stage, and written monthly humor columns for regional magazines.

MA: 2002, Saginaw Valley University
BA: 1977, Central Michigan University
​​​ Courses Taught
• Writing for Mass Media

Research Interests
•  Gamification in Education
• Video Game Effects
• Video Game Journalism                             


Carol McGinnis joined CMU’s journalism department in January 2008. She has more than 20 years of professional experience in journalism and public relations; she teaches a variety of courses, including those that focus on writing, public relations and multimedia journalism. Her articles have been published in nearly 50 newspapers and magazines, including the Detroit Free Press, Detroit News, Home Health Journal, Michigan Business and the Saginaw News. McGinnis also has written four reference books about family history research, published by the Genealogical Publishing Co. Her interest in digital media dates back to the mid-1990s when she had the opportunity to manage the earliest versions of CMU’s website on behalf of the university’s public relations office. She has made presentations about topics related to digital media at regional conferences of the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, the 8th Annual Conference on Convergence and Society and the Association of Internet Researchers’ Second International Conference. McGinnis co-authored a book chapter about the status of blogging in Ireland (with colleague Dr. Lori F. Brost), which was published in Blogging in the Global Society: Cultural, Political and Geographical Aspects (IGI Global, 2012).​ McGinnis previously taught business communication in CMU’s College of Business Administration. In addition to teaching on CMU’s main campus in Mount Pleasant, McGinnis also teaches online courses for CMU’s Global Campus.

Her advice to students: “Explore your interests and be open to opportunities. Sometimes your career path will take you places you never expected to go.”

Recent Scholarship

“Michigan’s Community Newspapers: Surviving and Thriving in a Challenging Economy,” Eighth Annual Conference on Convergence and Society: The Changing Media Landscape, University of Nevada, Reno, November 2009

“Content Syndication: An Old Media Concept Moves to the Web”
The Association of Internet Researchers Second International Conference, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, October 2001 ​

“Automatic Transmission? Translating Printed Pieces Into Web Documents”
Council for the Advancement and Support of Education District 5 Conference, Chicago, December 1996 

MA: 2003, Saginaw Valley University
BAS: University of Michigan-Flint
AA: 1980, Ivy Tech Community College

Personal Website
​​ Courses Taught
• Photo Editing
• Photography Studio Techniques
• The Photographic Process
• Online Visual Storytelling
• Seminar in News Photography

Research Interests
• Environmental Photojournalism


Kent Miller brings 16 years of professional experience as a photojournalist into the classroom as an Associate Professor of Photojournalism at Central Michigan University since 2004. Miller’s photography has been published in numerous publications including, Newsweek, People, Reader’s Digest, Ladies Home Journal, Nat Geo France, The Huffington Post, USA TODAY, The New York Times, and The Los Angeles Times. Publications in books include Your Guide to the National Parks, Insight Guide Alaska, Lonely Planet’s Alaska. Miller’s image of Mt. Denali resides on the tail side of a quarter that was commissioned by the U.S. Mint Miller has won numerous international and national photography awards and he was awarded Alumnus of the Year from Ivy Tech Community College in Indiana.

Recent Scholarship

Hanson, Heather. Prophets and Moguls, Rangers and Rogues, Bison and Bears. Seattle. Mountaineer’s Books. 2015. One photo by Kent Miller. (p. 230)

Boyer, Crispin. That’s Sneaky! Washington D.C.: National Geographic, 2015. One photo by Kent Miller. (p. 171)

Boengk, Jens. Biodiversity and Earth History. Berlin. Springer-Verlag, 2015 One photo by Kent Miller. (p. 382)

Miller K. (2015) The United States Department of the Interior. Top 8 National Parks to Instagram. Retrieved from https://www.doi.gov/blog/top-8-national-parks-instagram

Miller, Kent. “See the World Differently.” Readers Digest (White Plains, New York) Mar. 2014: 148-149

PhD: 2012, Washington State University
MBM University of International Business & Economics
Bachelors, Qingdao University

Service Responsibilities
Integrative Public Relations Program Coordinator
​​​ Courses Taught
• Fundamentals of Integrative Public Relations
• Advertising/Public Relations Research
• Public Relations Seminar

Research Interests
Strategic health communication and mass media processes and effects, particularly HIV stigma prevention and media studies


Ren teaches skills and lecture courses in public relations, including PR principles and practices, PR research methods​, PR writing, PR case studies and PR campaigns.

He has worked for 10 years in the PR industry, including five years at Weber Shandwick Beijing serving as a senior consultant and later account supervisor for clients with a global presence. His major clients included Pfizer, Bayer Healthcare, Merck, P&G, Norvatis, Nestle, BMS, L’Oreal, IKEA, Electrolux, Intel, Ericsson, Juniper Networks and NVIDIA.

His research concentration is health communication and mass media processes and effects. His research has consistently focused on strategic health communication approaches to prevent disease and reduce disease-related stigma, particularly HIV/AIDS stigma.

Recent Scholarship

Hust, S.J.T., Marett, E.G., Lei, M., Ren, C., & Ran, W. (2015). Law & Order, CSI, and NCIS: The association between exposure to crime drama franchises, rape myth acceptance, and sexual consent negotiation among college students. Journal of Health Communication, 20 (12), 1369-1381.

Ren, C., Hust, S.J.T., & Zhang, P. (2014). Chinese newspapers’ coverage of HIV transmission over a decade (2000-2010): Where HIV stigma arise. Chinese Journal of Communication, 7(3), 267-284.

Hust, S.J.T., Marett, E.G., Ren, C., Adams, P.M., Willoughby, J.F., Lei, M., Ran, W., & Norman, C. (2014). Establishing and adhering to sexual consent:  The association between reading magazines and college students’ sexual consent negotiation. The Journal of Sex Research, 51(3), 280–290. 

Hust, S.J.T., Lei, M., Ren, C., Chang, H., McNab, A., Marett, E.M., & Fitts, J. (2013). The effects of sports media exposure on college students’ rape myth beliefs and intentions to intervene in a sexual assault. Mass Communication and Society, 16(6), 762-786.

Hust, S.J.T., Marett, E.G., Lei, M., Chang, H., Ren, C., McNab, A. & Adams, P. (2013). Health promotion messages in entertainment media: crime drama viewership and intentions to intervene in a sexual assault situation. Journal of Health Communication. 18, 105-123.

Ph.D: 1985, Bowling Green State University
MA: 1974, Wayne State University
BA: 1969, Wayne State University
​​ Courses Taught
• Racial Diversity: Mass Media's Role                             


Alice A. Tait is the mother of Joseph Conrad Smith, II, the grandmother of Leiah, Joseph, lll, Brigham and Robert. She is also an award-winning professor of communication at Central Michigan University. Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc awarded her The Outstanding Faculty Award in 2012. In 1989 Central Michigan University awarded her a Teaching Fellowship and in 1990 a Teaching Excellence Award. Butler University, Indianapolis, Ind., awarded her a 1991-92 Visiting African-American Scholar’s position. Central Michigan University selected her as one of two distinguished faculty members in 1996. For 10 years she directed Central Michigan University’s AHANA (African-Americans, Latinos/Hispanics, Asians, Native Americans) High School Journalism Workshop. She spent the 1996-1997 academic year as a Visiting DistinguishedProfessor at William Paterson University in Wayne, N.J. 

Recent Scholarship

Meiss, G. T., & Tait, A. A. (Eds.) (2004). Ethnic media in America: Images, Audiences and transforming forces (Vol. 3). Dubuque, IA: Kendall/Hunt.

Barber, J. T., & Tait, A. A. (Eds.) (2001). The information society and the Black community. Westport, CT: Praeger.

Wolseley, R. E., Tait, A. A., and Burroughs, T. S. (2003). Black journalism enters the twentieth century. In J. Witalec (Ed.), Harlem Renaissance: A Gale Critical Companion (Vol. 1, pp. 335-339). Farmington Hills, MI: Gale. (Reprinted from The Black Press, U.S.A., pp. 43-78, 1990, Ames, IA: Iowa State University Press). ​

MA: 1968, Central Michigan University
BS: 1965, Central Michigan University
Courses Taught
• Journalism Internship
• Public Relations Writing
• Photojournalism Internship
• Public Relations Internship
• Advertising Interns


Jim Wojcik, associate professor of journalism, joined the department in the spring of 2000 after serving as director of student media at Central Michigan University for 30 years.

After graduating from CMU in 1965, Wojcik worked as a sports editor at the Mt. Pleasant Daily Times-News before returning to his alma mater as sports information director, working in the university’s public relations department.

Following two years as sports information director, he taught journalism for a year in the department before leaving CMU to become editor of the Mt. Pleasant Daily Times-News. He returned to CMU as director of student media in 1971.

Born in Detroit, Wojcik graduated from Clio Area High School. He has a bachelor’s degree in history and a master’s degree in journalism from CMU. His wife Carol retired from CMU after serving for ​15 years as the director of the student disability program. They have two sons, Mark and Scott. 

• Ph.D. School of Journalism, University of Missouri-Columbia, 1997
• M.A. School of Journalism, University of Missouri-Columbia, 1987
• B.A. Department of English, College of Foreign Studies, Nanjing University, China, 1982

Courses Taught
 Data Journalism
• International and Cross-cultural Communication
• Asian Media and Cross-cultural Communication
• Information Gathering for the Mass Media
• Writing for the Mass Media
• News Editing
• History of American Mass Media
• Mass Media in Contemporary Society – Intro to mass communication.


Jiafei Yin, journalism professor at Central Michigan University, worked for the China Daily before coming to America to pursue a doctorate in journalism at the University of Missouri-Columbia. Her teaching and research interest include world press systems, particularly press freedom and responsibility around the world, coverage of world news, media reforms in China and data journalism. Of her scholarship, she is most proud of her critical review of the four theories of the press and her proposed new model for the Asian and the world press published in the Journalism & Communication Monographs. She recently published a book chapter on professional views of Chinese journalists in comparison with those of American/Western journalists. She is also very proud of starting in 1999 an exchange program between CMU and the China Daily in Beijing, where she has been sending her students to intern and hosting visiting journalists from the paper at CMU.

Ph.D: 2018, Ohio University
M.A.: 2013, Ohio University
Graduate Certificate: 2013, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Ohio University

​​ Courses Taught
• Social Media
• Social Media Analytics
• Advertising


Dr. Zulfia Zaher joined CMU in 2018. Before joining CMU, she taught media communication courses at Ohio University and Eastern New Mexico University. She is the recipient of the Fulbright scholarship and Allushuski Graduate Fellowship. Dr. Zaher research focuses on the strategic use of social media in corporate communications, crisis management, and risk communication. Her research appeared in the International Journal of Communication, Computers in Human Behavior, and Journal of Magazine and New Media Research. 

Dr. Zaher is an award-winning scholar who received the best faculty research paper awards at the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) and the Broadcast Education Association (BEA).

Dr. Zaher has over ten years’ experience working with national and international organizations such as Independent Women Rights Union, United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and as an Analyst for NATO’s media in Northern Afghanistan. She also worked with nonprofit organizations such as Council of Agencies Serving South Asians, FCJ Refugee Centre, Christie Refugee Welcome Centre, and Casa El Norte that serve marginalized communities like immigrants and racial minorities in Canada.

Recent Publications

Jenkins, E. M., Zaher, Z., Tikkanen, S. A., & Ford, J. L. (2019). Creative identity (re)construction, creative community building, and creative resistance: A qualitative analysis of queer ingroup members' tweets after the Orlando Shooting. Computers in Human Behavior, 101, 14-21.

Khan, L. and Zaher, Z. & Gao, B. (2018). Online sharing becomes offline caring in Pakistan, Iran, and Afghanistan: Social media for charity via Walls of Kindness. International Journal of Communication 12, 1–26.

Jain, P., Zaher, Z., & Roy, E. (2017). Magazines and social media platforms: Strategies for enhancing user engagement and implications for publishers. Journal of Magazine and New Media Research, 17(2), 1-23.

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