School of Communication Studies to Host Social Media Discussion on WDBJ Shooting at Research Colloquium

Gretchen Dworznik, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, will lead the School of Communication Studies’ (COMM) second spring colloquium Friday, March 3, from 4 to 5 p.m. in Rm. 109 of the Art Building.

In the session, entitled “Mourning broadcast: Social media use following the WDBJ shooting,” Dworznik will discuss the results from two studies conducted in collaboration with COMM Assistant Professor Rekha Sharma, regarding social media following the deaths of two WDBJ journalists live on the air in August 2015. The research has a number of implications, including the differences between platform use and motivations for use, the power of hashtags and journalistic organization culture.

“I became interested in this following the shootings at WDBJ. I was fascinated at how quickly broadcast journalists rallied around this one station with one hashtag #WeStandWithWDBJ,” Dworznik said. “I’m excited to share my results with my CCI colleagues and students.”

The colloquium session will illustrate how qualitative methods can be applied in order to understand how people use social media and the motivations behind that use. The topic crosses several topical boundaries, appealing to both communication studies and journalism students.

All research colloquium presentations are free and open to the public.

The School of Communication Studies Research Colloquium Series provides an opportunity for faculty and graduate students to foster intellectual and collaborative discussions and stay informed about current research efforts. The next session in the series, entitled “Privacy management and social networking sites: A case of the second digital generation,” will be presented by Erin Hollenbaugh, Ph.D., associate professor and program coordinator for the School of Communication Studies at Kent State University at Stark, on Friday, April 14.

Additional details about the colloquium series are available at For more information or consideration for a future colloquium, contact COMM Assistant Professor Aaron Bacue at

POSTED: Wednesday, February 15, 2017 - 3:22pm
UPDATED: Thursday, February 23, 2017 - 8:47am
Mikala Lugen