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Fall 2015

Scott Hall 316

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Brian Southwell

Brian G Southwell


Brian Southwell was an Associate Professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication. He also served as Director of Graduate Studies from 2007 through 2010 and as chair of the Social Sciences Policy and Review Council for the Graduate School. Southwell won CLA's 2006 Motley Award for exemplary teaching and also held appointments in a number of programs around campus. In January 2010, Southwell joined RTI International as a Senior Research Scientist and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as a Research Professor. For more information, see his RTI International profile or his UNC profile.


  • the roles of interpersonal networks in mass communication
  • strategic communication campaign evaluation
  • health and science communication
  • information processing and memory

Educational Background

  • Ph.D.: Communication, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA.
  • M.A.: Communication, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA.
  • B.A.: Rhetoric and Communication Studies, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA.


  • Southwell, Brian G (2000). Audience construction and AIDS education efforts: Exploring communication assumptions of public health interventions. Critical Public Health, 10(3), 313-319.
  • Beeker C, Kraft JM, Southwell BG, Jorgensen CM. (2000). Colorectal cancer screening in older men and women: Qualitative research findings and implications for intervention. Journal of Community Health, 25(3), 263-278.
  • Southwell, Brian G (2001). Health message relevance and disparagement among adolescents. Communication Research Reports, 18(4), 365-374.
  • Middlestadt S, Grieser M, Hernandez O, Tubaishat K, Sanchack J, Southwell B, Schwartz R. (2001). Turning minds on and faucets off: Water conservation education in Jordanian schools. Journal of Environmental Education, 32(2), 37-45.
  • Southwell, Brian G, Barmada, C.H., Hornik, R.C., Maklan, D.M. (2002). Can we measure encoded exposure? Validation evidence from a national campaign. Journal of Health Communication, 7(5), 445-453.
  • Nabi RL, Southwell BG, Hornik RC. (2002). Predicting intentions versus predicting behaviors: Domestic violence prevention from a Theory of Reasoned Action perspective. Health Communication, 14(4), 429-449.
  • Southwell, Brian G (2003). Assessing (audience) construction hazards: Depiction of audience as a variable for comparison of health interventions. Qualitative Health Research, 13(2), 287-293.
  • M'Ikanatha, NM, Lautenbach, E, Kunselman, AR, Julian, KG, Southwell, BG, Allswede, M, Rankin, JT, Aber, RC. (2003). Sources of bioterrorism information among emergency physicians during the 2001 anthrax outbreak. Biosecurity and Bioterrorism, 1(4), 259-265.
  • M'ikanatha NM, Southwell B, Lautenbach E. (2003). Automated laboratory reporting of infectious diseases in a climate of bioterrorism. Emerging Infectious Diseases, 9(9), 1053-1057.
  • Abroms L, Jorgensen CM, Southwell BG, Geller AC, Emmons KM. (2003). Gender differences in young adults' beliefs about sunscreen use. Health Education & Behavior, 30(1), 29-43.
  • Lee G, Cappella JN, Southwell BG. (2003). The effects of news and entertainment on interpersonal trust: Political talk radio, newspapers, and television. Mass Communication and Society, 6(4), 413-434.
  • Southwell, Brian G, Doyle, K.O. (2004). The good, the bad, or the ugly? A multilevel perspective on electronic game effects. American Behavioral Scientist, 48(4), 391-401.
  • Yang C, Wu H, Zhu M, Southwell BG. (2004). Tuning in to fit in? Acculturation and media use among Chinese students in the United States. Asian Journal of Communication, 14(1), 81-94.
  • Yang C, Southwell BG. (2004). Dangerous disease, dangerous women: Health, anxiety, and advertising in Shanghai from 1928 to 1937. Critical Public Health, 14(2), 149-156.
  • Southwell, Brian G, Lee, M. (2004). A pitfall of new media? User controls exacerbate editing effects on memory. Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, 81(3), 643-656.
  • Southwell, Brian G (2005). Between messages and people: A multilevel model of memory for television content. Communication Research, 32(1), 112-140.
  • Southwell, Brian G (2005). Information overload? Advertisement editing and memory hindrance. Atlantic Journal of Communication, 13(1), 26-40.
  • Southwell, Brian G, Blake, S. H., Torres, A. (2005). Lessons on focus group methodology from a science television news project. Technical Communication, 52(2), 187-193.
  • Foss, K, Southwell, BG. (2006). Infant feeding and the media: The relationship between Parents’ Magazine content and breastfeeding, 1972-2000. International Breastfeeding Journal, 1 (10). Available at
  • Hwang, Y., Torres, A. (2006). Avian influenza and US TV news. Emerging Infectious Diseases, 12(11), 1797-1798.
  • Southwell, Brian G, Torres, A. (2006). Connecting interpersonal and mass communication: Science news exposure, perceived ability to understand science, and conversation. Communication Monographs, 73, 334-350.
  • Stephenson, MT, Southwell, BG. (2006). Sensation seeking, the activation model, and mass media health campaigns: Current findings and future directions for cancer communication. Journal of Communication, 56, s38-s56.
  • Southwell, Brian G, Anghelcev, G., Himelboim, I., Jones, J. (2007). Translating user control availability into perception: The moderating role of prior experience. Computers in Human Behavior, 23, 554-563.
  • Hwang, Y, Southwell, BG. (2007). Can a personality trait predict talk about science? Sensation seeking as a science communication targeting variable. Science Communication, 29(2), 198-216.
  • Southwell, Brian G, Yzer, M. C. (2007). The roles of interpersonal communication in mass media campaigns. Communication Yearbook 31, 420-462.
  • Hwang, Y, Southwell, BG. (2008). Talking science: The link between perceived understanding and active conversing. Journal of Communication Studies, 1(3-4), 236-246.
  • Southwell, Brian G, Boudewyns, V., Hwang, Y., Yzer, M.C. (2008). Entertainment tonight? The value of informative TV news among U.S. viewers.. Electronic News, 2, 123-137.
  • Southwell, Brian G, Langteau, R (2008). Age, memory changes, and the varying utility of recognition as a media effects pathway. Communication Methods and Measures, 2, 100-114.
  • Yzer, MC, Southwell, BG. (2008). New communication technologies, old questions. American Behavioral Scientist, 52. 8-20.
  • Southwell, Brian G (2009). Health communication as interdisciplinary intersection rather than separate field. Journal of Health and Mass Communication, 1(1/2), 8-10.
  • Southwell, Brian G, Yzer, M. C. (2009). When (and why) interpersonal talk matters for campaigns. Communication Theory, 19(1) , 1-8.
  • Hwang, Y, Southwell, BG. (2009). Science TV news exposure predicts science beliefs: Real world effects among a national sample. Communication Research, 36(5), 724-742
  • Weeks, B. E., & Southwell, B. G. (2010). The symbiosis of news coverage and aggregate on-line search behavior: Obama, rumors, and presidential politics. Mass Communication and Society, 13(4), 341-360.
  • Southwell, B. G. (2010). On the need for a lifespan approach to health campaign evaluation. Health Communication, 25(6), 525-528.
  • Southwell, B. G., Gilkerson, N. D., Depue, J. B., Shelton, A. K., Friedenberg, L. M., & Koutstaal, W. (2010). Aging and the questionable validity of recognition-based exposure measurement. Communication Research.
  • Southwell, B. G., Slater, J. S., Rothman, A. J., Friedenberg, L. M., Allison, T. R., & Nelson, C. L. (in press). The availability of community ties predicts likelihood of peer referral for mammography: Geographic constraints on viral marketing. Social Science & Medicine.
  • van den Putte, B., Yzer, M., Southwell, B., de Bruijn, G.-J., & Willemsen, M. (in press). Interpersonal communication as an indirect pathway for the impact of antismoking media content on smoking cessation. Journal of Health Communication.

Research Activities

  • "Discoveries and Breakthroughs Inside Science" TV news program evaluation: National Science Foundation funded project; Evaluation contract with American Institute of Physics, 2003 - 2007
  • Development of effective interventions to reduce adolescent use of indoor tanning.: National Institutes of Health grant with D. Lazovich (PI) and J. Forster (Co-I), 2007 - 2009

Creative Activities

  • Senior Communication Specialist: liason between U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and communication organizations with oversight of national media campaigns, 1997 - 1999

Professional Activities

  • Senior Editor, Health Communication: Fall 2009 - present
  • Editorial Boards: Public Opinion Quarterly, Journal of Communication, Communication Research, Health Communication, Science Communication, Journal of Health and Mass Communication, and Journal of Public Relations Research
  • Director of Graduate Studies: 2007 - 2010
  • CDC/ATPM Fellow and Senior Communication Specialist, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: 1997 - 1999
  • Research Associate, Academy for Educational Development: 1996


  • International Communication Association/National Communication Association Health Communication Dissertation of the Year Award, 2003
  • Arthur "Red" Motley Exemplary Teaching Award, College of Liberal Arts, University of Minnesota, 2006

Courses Taught

  • Jour 1001 - Introduction to Mass Communication
  • Jour 1905 - Freshmen Seminar
  • Jour 3251 - Strategic Communication Research
  • Jour 3005 - Mass Media Effects
  • Jour 5251 - Psychology of Advertising
  • Jour 5541 - Mass Communication and Public Health
  • Jour 5543 - Public Health Campaign Evaluation
  • Jour 8001 - Studies in Mass Communication I
  • Jour 8514 - Mass Communication Theory
  • Jour 8651 - Mass Media and Social Change
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