Richard Campbell, Professor and Chair of the Department of Media, Journalism and Film at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, is the author of Macmillan’s Media & Culture, Media Essentials, and Media in Society. He is also the author of “60 Minutes” and the News: A Mythology for Middle America (1991) and coauthor of Cracked Coverage: Television News, the Anti-Cocaine Crusade, and the Reagan Legacy (1994). Campbell has written for numerous publications, including Columbia Journalism Review, Journal of Communication, and Media Studies Journal, and he is on the editorial boards of Critical Studies in Mass Communication and Television Quarterly. He also serves on the board of directors for Cincinnati Public Radio. He holds a Ph.D. from Northwestern University and has also taught at the University of Wisconsin—Milwaukee, Mount Mary College, the University of Michigan, and Middle Tennessee State University.
Q: What courses are you teaching this semester?
RC: JRN 101 -- a team taught course writing/JRN history course with 75 students (and 10 undergraduate assistants)
Q: What has been your favorite course to teach?
RC: Honors section of Intro to Media -- with my textbook!
Q: What advice do you have for other instructors who teach this course?
RC: Let students lead the discussion on social media. They know more than I do...and I learn a few things. They are also more critically perceptive about the pluses and minuses of Facebook and Twitter when they are in charge of the conversation.
Q: What are some of your research interests?
RC: Most recent article was about the rise of partisanship in the media and how it's driven by the economic interests of news outlets.
Q: If you could create (and teach) a brand new course for your department, what would it be?
RC: In partnership with Dept. of Statistics, we are developing a new course, News & Numbers, that will count as a quantitative literacy requirement in our college.
Q: What do you think is one of the biggest challenges students face now when they enter college?
RC: Too many choices and too many distractions with social media.
Q: What motivates you to continue teaching?
RC: Keeps me young...and I really like being around smart young people.
On a personal note...
Q. How do you take your coffee?
RC: With a little cream.
Q. What newspaper(s) do you read? Print or digital?
RC: Mostly read in print -- get the NY Times daily and also Dayton Daily News. Occasionally read the Cincinnati Enquirer, although its small tabloid format (thanks, Gannett!) is a turnoff... and hard on my eyes.
Q: How do you spend your time when you're not teaching?
RC: Reading, watching TV, playing golf, walking our dogs, visiting our 2-year old grandson in Ann Arbor.
Q: If you hadn't pursued a career in higher education, what career path do you think you would have chosen?
RC: I started out as a high school English teacher and coach (basketball and track) in Milwaukee but I wanted to be a TV critic for a newspaper.
Q. What’s your favorite TV show or movie of the year so far?
RC: TV -- Catastrophe, a smart comedy on Amazon; Movies -- a tie between Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Spotlight (which really gave good journalism a shot in the arm).
Q: What was the last book you read?
RC: Louise Penny's A Fatal Grace.
Q: What book has influenced you most?
RC: To Kill a Mockingbird when I was young; Walker Percy's The Last Gentleman when I was an undergrad; and Thomas Kuhn's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions as a grad student.
Q: When you sit down to listen to music, which artists or genres do you go to most?
RC: My Pandora rotation in the shuffle mode includes 50s rock and roll, Janice Joplin, The Band, Levon Helm, Fats Waller, Gene Krupa, Django Reinhardt, John Mellencamp, Simon & Garfunkel, Mumford & Sons, Adele, CCR, The Beatles, and the Rolling Stones, among others.
Q: Where is one place you want to travel to, but have never been?
Q: What is one thing people would be surprised to learn about you?
RC: Two things: that I once had the Fab Five all in the same class (of 400) at Michigan (and rightly predicted after that the downfall of U of M's men's basketball program)...and that I do a podcast called Stats+Stories with the dept. of statistics chair at Miami.