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Department > Faculty and Staff
  Gardner, Thomas
Professor of Communication
Tel: (413) 572-8058, Ely 336-B

Thomas N. Gardner, Ph.D., is professor of communication at Westfield State University, Westfield, MA., where he has taught courses in public relations, journalism, communication law, and political and persuasive communication since 2001. In 2012, he taught a 3-week course in Vietnam on the history, culture and media of Vietnam. He is considering a traveling course on the media in Cuba in 2017.

He was formerly managing director of the Northampton-based Media Education Foundation, which he helped develop into the nation’s leading producer and distributor of educational videos on media and culture. (See listings at He earlier served as public affairs officer for Harvard Divinity School, senior editor at the Harvard Institute for International Development, and director of communications for the Union of Concerned Scientists.

A native Southerner, Tom was chairman in the late 1960s of the Southern Student Organizing Committee, a southwide organization of students active in the civil rights and anti-war movements. He later became a political reporter, columnist, and city editor at the Pulitzer Prize-winning Montgomery Advertiser. He also served as public relations director for the Alabama State Employees Association.

He holds a B.A. in sociology from the University of Virginia, an M.A. in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Georgia, a Master in Public Administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and a Ph.D. from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Tom’s dissertation, published in 2010, focused on a case study of journalism as persuasion in the area of race, crime, and media. He has published in numerous publications and has spoken at more than 100 campuses. He is the author of “The Media Rhetoric of Law and Order: How ABC Framed the Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal (Edwin Mellen Press, 2009).

Current Guest Lecture Topics:

“Journalism as Persuasion: The Case of ABC 20/20 and Mumia Abu-Jamal”
“Media and Kids – Asking the right questions”
“Mass Media and the First Amendment in War Time”
“War Rhetoric and Mass Media”
“Race, Mass Media, and Mass Incarceration”
“Defining Masculinity in a Violent Media Culture”

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