Digital media expert available to comment on stabbing incident linking online villain

The Department of Telecommunications at the University of Georgia Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication has an expert available to talk about Slender Man and the recent incident in Waukesha, Wisconsin, involving the stabbing of a 12-year-old girl allegedly by two of her friends in an attempt to become “proxies”, or followers, of the Internet urban legend.

Shira Chess, assistant professor of telecommunications published the article “Open Sourcing Horror: The Slender Man, Marble Hornets, and Genre Negotiations” (2011) in the journal Information, Communication, and Society. The article provides insights involving the creation of the internet-born villain. Chess teaches courses involving gender, race and class in the media and writing for digital media at Grady College and was a 2013 Peabody Award judge. Her research specialties focus on video games as they relate to female audiences, interactive narrative and transmedia. Before joining Grady College in 2013, Chess was a professor of several media and communication courses at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. From 2006 to 2008, she served as a teaching assistant at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, while obtaining her Ph.D. in Communication & Rhetoric.

The creation of Slender Man is thought to have originated as an Internet meme in 2009. The 12-year-old girls accused in the stabbing of their friend told police that they wanted to prove that Slender was real. Chess is available to provide information and speak about this event and the Slender Man character.

UGA Grady College
Established in 1915, the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication offers undergraduate majors in journalism, advertising, public relations, digital and broadcast journalism and mass media arts. The Sports Media Certificate program is aimed at preparing students for careers in sports writing, sports broadcasting and sports communications, and will be offered beginning in Fall 2014. Grady college offers two graduate degrees, and is home to the Peabody Awards, internationally recognized as one of the most prestigious prizes for excellence in electronic media. For more information, see or follow @UGAGrady on Twitter.

Date: June 3, 2014
Author:  Katelyn Lewis,
Contact:  Shira Chess,