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Director - Journalism Division

John Watson

Associate Professor
School of Communication

  • John C. Watson is a full-time professor of Journalism. He brings a combination of professional experience and scholarly credentials to the classroom. A journalist for 21 years, he has a law degree and a Ph.D. His research on media law and journalism ethics has been published in law reviews and refereed scholarly journals. He is the author of Journalism Ethics by Court Decree. He has conducted studies that question the ethical propriety of publishing police composite sketches of crime suspects, and weighs the merits of licensing journalists.
  • Degrees

    Ph.D. Mass Communication, University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill; J.D. Rutgers School of Law - Newark; B.A. Journalism, Rutgers University - New Brunswick

  • SOC - School of Communication
  • McKinley - 313

  • (202) 885-2083
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  • To request an interview for a
    news story, call AU Communications
    at 202-885-5950 or submit a request.


  • Fall 2014

    • HNRS-196 Selected Topics:Non-Recurring: AU Scholars Lab
    • Description

AU Expert

Area of Expertise: Journalism ethics, communication law, newsroom diversity, libel, free speech, First Amendment theory, urban issues coverage, privacy, indecency and obscenity, censorship, press coverage of trials and the law

Additional Information: John C. Watson was a top-five finalist for the Scripps Howard Foundation Journalism Teacher of the Year Award (2009) and is the author of the chapter on regulating pornography in Communication and the Law (Edited by W. Wat Hopkins, 2010). His book Journalism Ethics by Court Decree (2008) examines how court rulings are defining the practice of journalism. He is researching the merits of licensing journalists, is coauthor of a forthcoming book that examines the changing role of journalists of color, and has conducted a study that questions the ethics of using police sketches of crime suspects in the news media. He has written "Litigation Public Relations: The Lawyers' Duty to Balance News Coverage of Their Clients" (Communication Law and Policy); "Defamation by Racial Misidentification: A Study of the Social Tort" (Rutgers Race and the Law Review); "Times v. Sullivan: Landmark or Land Mine on the Road to Ethical Journalism?" (Journal of Mass Media Ethics); and was coauthor of "Herman Lynn Womack: Pornographer as First Amendment Pioneer" (Journalism History).

Media Relations
To request an interview please call AU Media Relations at 202-885-5950 or submit an interview request form.

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