Academic Research


My research examines the role of local journalism and strategic communicators in crisis and disaster communication.

Click here to download my research philosophy statement.

Here is an overview of my recent research on Prezi


Here is a link to my dissertation:

Local Journalism Beyond the Command Post: Journalists as Strategic Communicators and Citizen Stakeholders in Natural Disaster Recovery



Below are links to my published works, you can visit Google Scholar here to see my citations.

Jenkins, J., & Perreault, M. (2016). Stay Tuned: A case study in educational collaboration. Journalism Education, 5(1), 155-169.
As journalism schools focus on providing students with practical training for a changing media environment, immersive education structured in real-world newsrooms can serve as a learning lab.

Studies have suggested that teaching approaches that allow students to engage with com-
munity members within an established network (Barabasi 2003; Beckett 2008; Castells2000; Jarvis 2006), rather than creating content with an imagined audience in mind, can enhance students’ understanding of journalism’s democratic function as a component of news literacy (Mensing 2010). This emphasis may also introduce students to newswork incorporating the values of civic journalism, as socialization within newsrooms has shown to play a key role in journalists’ acceptance of these practices (McDevitt, Gassaway, and Perez 2002). Although journalism programs have used hands-on experiences to instill tacit knowledge of the roles and functions of public journalism and develop more civic-minded practitioners (Haas 2000; Nip 2007), public-journalism training should also incorporate multimedia techniques. Further, multiplatform approaches to storytelling should allowstudents to apply a variety of converged skills while also interacting with audiences (Condra 2006), opportunities that professional media environments can easily provide.
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Houston, J.B., Spialek, M.L., & Perreault, M.F. (2016). Coverage of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in the New York Times, 1950-2012. Journal of Health Communication.

This study examines depictions of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in the New York Times from 1980 to 2012. The concept of PTSD has multiple components (cause, reactions, and treatment). For this study the researchers coded articles in the New York Times for these components as well as certain frames represented in previous PTSD research, space and time. The study sought to fill the gape in media researcher concerning PTSD, as the research has failed to examine PTSD in mainstream newspapers like the New York Times. Researchers used the Lexis-Nexis database to access New York Times news articles appearing between January 1, 1950 and December 31, 2012 that included the terms “PTSD” or “posttraumatic” or “traumatic stress” (n=930). Most PTSD news stories were found after 1980, and described a cause of the PTSD (95.48%) and the mean number of PTSD causes included in each news story was just over one per story (M = 1.24, SD = 0.63). Researchers found a difference in the pattern of PTSD causes, reactions and consequences, and treatments.

Houston, J.B., Hawthorne, J., Perreault, M.F., Park, E.H., Goldstein Hode, M., Halliwell, M.R., Turner McGowen, S.E., Davis, R., Vaid, S., McElderry, J.A., & Griffith, S.A. (January 2015). Social Media and Disasters: A Functional Framework for Use in Disaster Planning, Response, and Research. Disasters.

This is a comprehensive literature review a framework of disaster social media is developed that can facilitate the development of disaster social media tools and the scientific study of disaster social media effects. This paper evaluates the roles of disaster social media users in the framework include individuals, communities, organizations, government, and media. Fifteen distinct disaster social media uses were identified, ranging from preparing and receiving disaster preparedness information and warnings prior to the event to (re)connecting community members following a disaster.


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Perreault, M., Houston, B. & Wilkins, L. (2014). Does Scary Matter? Testing the Effectiveness of the New National Weather Service Tornado Warnings. Communication Studies Journal.


Spring 2011 set severe weather records with tornadoes in the South and Midwest U.S. In response, the National Weather Service launched new warning messages for the 2012 storm season. This study examined whether gender and storm experience influenced severe weather media use and also tested the new “scarier” tornado warning messages and the more traditional (non-scary) warnings to see if warning type and broadcast medium were related to participant response. Four different experimental stimuli were created to resemble actual warning messages: scary and non-scary television messages, and scary and non-scary radio messages. University students ages 18-25 (N = 168) were exposed to all four stimuli and asked questions about their perceptions of credibility and behavioral intentions following the message. Behavioral intentions were not affected by experimental stimuli, but differences did emerge for perceived credibility. Women and those with more storm experience were found to use more sources of severe weather information.


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