Dr. Yan Jin

Assistant Department Head; Associate Director of Center for Health & Risk Communication; Professor, Public Relations


Dr. Yan Jin teaches undergraduate Public Relations (PR), PR Research, PR Administration, AdPR Health, Crisis Communication, and PR Campaigns courses.  She also teaches doctoral-level mass communication theory course.  As a public relations scholar, Dr. Jin’s primary research programs are in the areas of crisis communication and strategic health risk communication, focusing on the role of emotions and social media in crisis communication theory and application.

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Ph.D., University of Missouri, Columbia, MO
M.A., University of Missouri, Columbia, MO
B.A., Peking University, Beijing, China

Research Interests and Activities

Dr. Jin’s work serves as a framework for crisis and risk communication in a rapidly evolving media landscape and amidst emotionally charged conflict situations, ranging from organizational crises to disasters and public health emergencies.  Crisis communicators facing high-stake threats have an increasing need for evidence-based guidelines for crisis information dissemination to address affected communities’ informational and emotional needs, to ensure safety and welfare of publics and organizations, and ultimately to build community resilience and aid crisis recovery.  Dr. Jin’s research program in crisis management and strategic health risk communication contribute to the advancement of crisis communication theory and provide insights for public relations practice.

Dr. Jin has authored 70 peer-reviewed journal articles and over 20 book chapters.  She is the co-editor of the scholarly book Social Media and Crisis Communication (Routlege, 2017): https://www.routledge.com/Social-Media-and-Crisis-Communication/Austin-Jin/p/book/9781138812000.  She has presented over 100 refereed papers at leading domestic and international conferences.  Dr. Jin was named a Top 2 “Most Productive Scholar” in crisis communication research, according to a 2014 refereed article in International Journal of Strategic Communication.

Dr. Jin has published in leading journals in the field, including Communication Research, Journal of Applied Communication Research, Journal of Public Relations Research, Public Relations Review, Public Relations Journal, Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly, International Journal of Strategic Communication, Corporate Communication: An International Journal, Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management, Health Communication, Journal of Health Communication, Vaccine, British Journal of Medicine and Medical Research, American Journal of Infection Control, Social Marketing Quarterly, and Journal of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.  Her work has also been published in leading scholarly books, including The Handbook of Crisis Communication, SAGE Handbook of Public Relations, and New Media and Public Relations. 

Organizational Conflicts and Emotions on Social Media Yan Jin

Abstract: For employees, conflicts can be very emotional encounters (Jones, 2000), causing stress, anger, fright, sadness, and anxiety. Increasingly, organizational issues and conflicts are discussed on social media (Meriläinen & Vos, 2011) and social media use can help employees express their emotions and cope with the stress caused by conflict situations (Neubaum et al., 2014). […]

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Treading Troubled Water Yan Jin, Bryan H. Reber, LaShonda Eaddy & Camila Espina

Abstract: Institutional knowledge and collective learning are invaluable resources for the corporate communications profession.  How corporations and government agencies have historically communicated with publics provides historical parameters for developing public communication competencies and ethical standards.  Through the lens of organizational learning and historical analogy, this study examines public relations in the era of the Great […]

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News Media Portrayal of HPV Vaccine Before Its First Implementation in China Yan Jin and Glen Nowak

Abstract: News media stories and content can influence people’s understanding of vaccines and vaccine preventable diseases, including making them more knowledgeable about the need for a recommended vaccination and more willing to receive it (Perez, Fedoruk, et al., 2016). China is one of the most recent countries to license and develop HPV vaccine recommendations. In […]

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Misinformation in Times of Crisis Yan Jin

Abstract: In times of crisis, when information spreads fast and the public need for information is at its highest, misinformation can play a crucial role in the understanding of a crisis and how it develops. This raises questions about the challenge of correcting opinions and beliefs based on misinformation and how these incorrect perceptions can […]

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Factors Affecting Production and Spread of Crisis Information during Infectious Disease Outbreaks Yan Jin

Abstract: How to effectively and ethically engage with publics via both traditional and social media in different types of public health risks and crises with different forms of media has been a critical question for both public health information officers and risk communication scholars.  A particular type of health crisis, infectious disease outbreaks (IDOs), can […]

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Coping with Outbreaks Yan Jin

Overview: Through an online, nationally representative survey of 1,000 participants, this proposed project will examine how publics perceive and cope with the threat of infectious disease outbreaks, in order to information risk and crisis communications strategies for health organizations in times of infectious disease threat (IDT). This study will explore dimensions of threat appraisal, including […]

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How Crisis Managers Define Ethical Crisis Communication Practice Yan Jin

Abstract: Addressing the call by Coombs (2010) to examine the role of culture in crisis communication, this study examines the veracity and relative influences of these variables by examining how public relations practitioners practice them between two cultures, specifically Asian versus Western. Data comes from interviews with 20 senior practitioners from the US and Singapore […]

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Welcome Or Not Yan Jin

Abstract: The current Syrian refugee crisis has resulted in millions of Syrians fleeing their homes in search of safety and hope for their families. This flow of refugees and asylum seekers has both led to humanitarian efforts to assist these refugees as well as increasing views of refugees as a threat to receiving countries’ security […]

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Getting the ‘Picture’ Out about Zika Yan Jin, Bartosz Wojdynski & Yen-I Lee

Abstract: Using a 2 (gain vs. loss message framing) x 2 (photo vs. infographic image type) x 3 (government vs. media vs. peer source)between-subjects experiment with a representative sample of 559 adults in the United States, this study examined the effects of message framing, image types, and source of Zika-focused messages on publics’ emotional responses […]

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The Spread of Zika Twitter Conversation Itai Himelboim, Glen Nowak & Yan Jin

Presentation Slides:  http://tinyurl.com/ZikaTwitter

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The Effects of News Framing and Issue Attribution on Chinese College Students’ Responses to Depression Coverage Yan Jin and Yen-I Lee

Abstract: Depression is now one of the most severe public health threats in China and among Chinese college students. To examine the role of depression news coverage and address barriers in communicating with Chinese college students about the risk of depression and the importance of providing social support to depressed individuals, a 2 (episodic vs. […]

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Corporate WeChat Communication in China Yan Jin

Abstract: This study tackles the gap in public relations research on how corporations utilize WeChat, the dominant social media in China, to communicate and interact with publics. Using a content analysis of 1,488 WeChat posts of 15 top Chinese business-to-consumer enterprises, this study examined how the organizational factors (i.e., company type, ownership, and industry) and […]

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Inseparable Duos Yen-I Lee, Yan Jin & Glen Nowak

Abstract: This study examined the effects of message framing and presentation in flu vaccine public service advertisements (PSAs) using a 2 (gain vs. loss) x 2 (image-based vs. text only presentation) between-subject experiment with a sample of U.S. college students (N = 122). The findings indicated that flu vaccine PSAs that utilized a gain-framed image-based […]

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Yesterday is Tomorrow Yan Jin and Bryan H. Reber Read More
Informing crisis communication preparation and response through network analysis Itai Himelboim, Bryan H. Reber & Yan Jin

Abstract: To test and elaborate as necessary the Social-Mediated Crisis Communication (SMCC) model’s key publics classifications (Liu et al., 2012) and to provide practical insight to public identification for crisis communication planning and response, this study uses network analysis to first identify clustered publics in airline Twitter networks –direct social media followers that are centered […]

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Picture This and Take That: Strategic Crisis Visuals and Visual Social Media (VSM) in Crisis Communication Yan Jin

Abstract: Taking a content-form integrated approach to visuals in crisis communication, we argue that visuals play a dual-role in crisis information or crisis message design: Visuals can be both form and content.  In this presentation we review communication literature on visuals and their effects; identify types of visuals in crisis communication and how these types […]

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Dissecting the Root of Vaccine Misinformation on Pinterest Sungsu Kim, Michael Cacciatore & Yan Jin

Abstract: This study employs a quantitative content analysis approach to the issue of vaccines, analyzing a total of 1,000 vaccine-related pins posted by four anti-vaccine organizations (Mercola, Natural News, Health Impact News, and GreenMedInfo) on the social media platform “Pinterest”. Pinterest was chosen as a platform to explore given the high percentage of active female […]

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Teaching Specialties

Dr. Jin teaches PR Research, PR Administration, PR Campaigns, AdPR Health, Crisis Communication, and Mass Communication Theory.  Her PR Campaigns class has collaborated with The Home Depot and eBay, while her AdPR Health class has worked on strategic health communication projects with Amgen and Publicis Health.  In addition, Dr. Jin has served as faculty advisor for Grady PRSSA Chapter’s Bateman Team (2016, 2017 and 2018).

In 2016, Dr. Jin led the Grady@Oxford Summer Study Abroad Program at Oxford University, UK.  She has guest-lectured for a number of universities in the U.S., Europe, and Asia.


Dr. Jin serves on the editorial board of Journal of Public Relations Research, Public Relations Review, Communication Research, Journal of International Crisis and Risk Communication Research, and Journal of Public Interest Communications.  She is an affiliated researcher of the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism at the University of Maryland.  She is also a faculty affiliate of the Owens Institute for Behavioral Research (OIBR) at the University of Georgia.

Actively engaged in bridging the gap between academia and industry, Dr. Jin has contributed 10 articles to professional publications and outlets with a global outreach, such as Communication Director, PR Tactics, and Institute for Public Relations’ Social Science for Social Media Research Center.  She has given a seminar talk at the National Conference of State Legislatures, conducted professional workshops at the Public Relations Society of America’s international conferences, and presented at the Public Relations Leadership Summit sponsored by The Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations.

Dr. Jin serves on the research committee of the Association for Business Communication. She is a member of the Museum of Public Relations’ board of advisors.  She serves on the advisory board of the Corporate Communication International (CCI) and is the editor for the proceedings of CCI Conference on Corporate Communication.

Awards and Honors

Dr. Jin received the Krieghbaum Under-40 Award from the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) in 2014.  This prestigious national award is given annually by AEJMC to recognize the recipient’s outstanding achievement in research, teaching, and public service.  In 2016, Dr. Jin was elected to the Arthur W. Page Society based on her teaching and research distinction in corporate communications.  In 2017, Dr. Jin was accepted for placement on the Fulbright Specialist Roster (2017-2020) by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, becoming eligible to be matched with projects designed by international host institutions.

Dr. Jin has earned 17 top paper awards at leading conferences, including the International Public Relations Research Conference (IPRRC) and the International Communication Association, Association for Journalism and Mass Communication, and National Communication Association conferences.  She was named a Page Legacy Scholar in 2013, 2016 and 2017 by the Arthur W. Page Center for Integrity in Public Communication.

Serving as principle investigator (PI), co-investigator (CI), or lead investigator, Dr. Jin has contributed to public relations, crisis communication, health and risk communication projects funded by the National Institutes of Health, Arthur W. Page Center for Integrity in Public Communication, The Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations, and C. R. Anderson Research Fund of the Association for Business Communication.

Jin, Yan
In the News

Yan Jin selected for membership in the Arthur W. Page Society

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