Dr. Ivanka Pjesivac

Associate Professor, Journalism

About: Dr. Pjesivac teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in digital storytelling, public opinion, and international communication. She studies international and cross-cultural communication, media trust and credibility, and effects of digital news content.

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  • Ph.D., Communication and Information, University of Tennessee, Knoxville
  • M.S., Communication and Information: Journalism and Electronic Media, University of Tennessee, Knoxville
  • Bachelor’s Degree, French Language and Literature, University of Belgrade, Serbia

Research Interests and Activities

Dr. Pjesivac’s research focuses on international and cross-cultural communication, media trust and credibility, and effects of digital news content. Within the realm of international and cross-cultural studies, Dr. Pjesivac has mainly studied the roles of cultural contexts in journalism processes, as well as the relationship between political regimes and media systems. Her second research area has examined the factors and processes that affect news credibility and trust across media platforms and national borders. In the area of digital news processing, she has combined design and cognitive variables and tested their impact on information recall, comprehension, and visual attention to information graphics used in news. Recent research efforts include emotional and cognitive effects of immersive journalism, as well as the effects of media messages used in health and science communication. Dr. Pjesivac has presented her research at national and international conferences, winning the awards for top papers from ICA, AEJMC, and BEA. In 2017, with her co-author Grace Ahn, she was named AEJMC Emerging Scholar for their study on immersive journalism. In 2018, Dr. Pjesivac received a fellowship from the Willson Center for Humanities and Arts at the University of Georgia for participation in Berlin Seminar in Transnational European Studies. Her research was published or accepted for publication in journals such as Journalism: Theory, practice, and criticism, Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly, Mass Communication and Society, Journalism Studies, Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media, Health Communication, Journalism and Mass Communication Educator, Journalism Practice, Newspaper Research Journal, International Communication Gazette, The Journal of International Communication, Visual Communication Quarterly, Electronic News, Global Media and Communication, Surveillance and Society. PLoS ONE, and International Communication Research Journal. Her doctoral dissertation was the finalist for the AEJMC Nafziger-White-Salwen Dissertation Award and the winner of the Outstanding Dissertation Award from the College of Communication and Information at the University of Tennessee.

The use of sources in news stories about 2020 American elections on Croatian television: Who dominates the narrative? Ivanka Pjesivac

Abstract: This study examined the coverage of 2020 American elections on Croatian Public Service Television’s (HRT) website. The results of the content analysis of the census of HRT’s stories about American elections from the first presidential debate in September 2020 to the inauguration of the new President in 2021 (N=223), showed that Croatian television used […]

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Using directional cues in immersive journalism: The impact on information processing, narrative transportation, presence, news attitudes, and credibility Matthew Binford, Ivanka Pjesivac, Bartosz Wojdynski, Jihoon (Jay) Kim & Keith Herndon

Abstract: This study examined the effects of directional cues in immersive journalism by conducting a randomized between-subjects three-condition lab experiment (N=131) with community participants using three versions of originally produced 360̊ video news story. The study found that the presence of any directional cues in 360̊ news story significantly improved participants’ recall of statistics from […]

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Media coverage of anti-government protest movements in the Balkans: Public service media under crossfire. Ivanka Pjesivac

Abstract: This study examines media coverage of social protests in Montenegro, where the demand for free media was front and center during the 2019 anti-government protests. Relying on the theoretical framework of the protest paradigm, it explores the extent to which media rely on identified marginalization tools to report on protest and explores pressures on […]

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The maternal health crisis in the U. S.: Communication for survival. Ivanka Pjesivac

Abstract: Maternal mortality is becoming a “normal” experience in the U.S. as more women die from pregnancy-related complications. Though prevalent in Black women experiences, pregnancy-related complications cut across every race. This panel seeks to discuss communication factors that interplay with pregnant women’s healthcare experiences in the U.S. Specifically, our panel examines different areas of pregnancy-related […]

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Latino trust in journalists and the 2016 U.S. general election: An analysis of voter responses María E. Len-Ríos and Ivanka Pjesivac

Additional author: Patricia Moy Abstract: This paper reports qualitative and quantitative data from a national online panel survey of Latinos (N=720) after the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Participants reported in their closed-ended responses a level of distrust toward the news organizations that largely parallels national figures. In open-ended responses, Latinos cited cable news journalists most […]

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Look around and learn: Effects of 360-degree video in online news Bartosz Wojdynski, Ivanka Pjesivac, Jihoon (Jay) Kim, Keith Herndon & Matthew Binford

Abstract: In a between-subjects eye-tracking experiment, adult readers of a large metropolitan daily newspaper (N=70) viewed and evaluated one of two versions of the same online news feature: one with an embedded 360-degree video alongside text and images, and the other using exclusively text and static images. Findings show that the presence of 360-degree video […]

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Live-blogging the crisis: Determinants of news coverage of the Syrian refugee crisis. Ivanka Pjesivac

Abstract: This study employed international news flow theory to test the impact of the determinants of foreign news flow on the comprehensiveness of textual and multimedia coverage of Syrian refugee crisis in the form of a live blog. The live blog is an online news format that allows journalists to inform their audiences about running, […]

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Technology and digital journalism: Uses and effects in storytelling. Ivanka Pjesivac

Abstract: This panel will provide a discussion on benefits and challenges of teaching journalism innovation and will offer tips on how to include technology innovation in journalism classes. It will offer perspectives from both academia and industry, including the experience of one professor who has adopted digital and hackathon culture to produce award-winning, innovative journalism […]

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Framing of GMOs in American media and its effects on attitudes, behaviors, and news perceptions. Ivanka Pjesivac and Matthew Binford

Abstract: This study used a multi-method approach to examine the framing of GMOs in two American newspapers, The New York Times and the Washington Post (2000-2016), and to test the impact of risk and opportunity framing on attitudes, behaviors regarding GMOs, and perceptions of news credibility. The results of the content analysis (N = 165) […]

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Otherization of Africa: How American media framed people with HIV/AIDS in Africa from 1987 to 2017. Michael Cacciatore and Ivanka Pjesivac

Abstract: This study examined otherization framing of people living with HIV/AIDS in Africa in American print news from 1987-2007. The results of a content analysis of a representative sample of news articles from three outlets (N=421) show that American media overwhelmingly used otherization frames throughout the 20-year period, resulting in a large percentage of negatively […]

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Constructing an image of the United States in the British and French editorials about WikiLeaks Ivanka Pjesivac

Abstract: In today’s globalized world a country’s image is an important consideration because it can influence that country’s politics and economy (Shimko, 1991;Viosca et al., 2005). Scholars have noted that the news media are considered to be major players in creating national images and swaying public perception of foreign countries (Entman, 2008; Golan & Lee, […]

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Perceptions of media roles in Serbia and Croatia: Does news orientation have an impact? Ivanka Pjesivac

Abstract: This study examined the perceptions of media roles among journalism students in Serbia and Croatia (N=401). The results showed that the most important were citizen-oriented and watchdog roles and that they were positively predicted by hard news orientation, whereas consumer and loyal roles were least important. Consumer role was positively predicted by the soft […]

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Teaching Specialties

Dr. Pjesivac’s teaching specialties include undergraduate and graduate courses in digital storytelling, public opinion, international communication and broadcast reporting.


Prior to receiving her Ph.D., Dr. Pjesivac worked for nearly a decade at the news department of Radio-Television of Serbia (RTS) in Belgrade, Serbia. Her career at RTS included reporting news about political, foreign affairs, and war crimes issues. She covered most of the significant political events in Serbia from 2003 to 2007 and was RTS’s permanent correspondent from the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague, the Netherlands. During her journalistic career, she pursued several professional development programs in France, Switzerland, and the United States, and collaborated with CNN on stories concerning Serbia. During her work at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Pjesivac also had a position on a DataONE (Data Observation Network for Earth) research team, where she has conducted multinational survey research and analysis for the Usability and Assessment Working Group of the world-wide project for scientific data archiving.

Awards and Fellowships

Dr.  Pjesivac’s research efforts have been awarded several times:

  • April 2019: Top Paper 1st place Open Paper Category – News Division of the Broadcast Education Association (BEA)
  • May – June 2018: Fellow – Berlin Seminar in Transnational European Studies; Willson Center for Humanities and Arts at the University of Georgia and Department of German and Russian Languages and Literatures and the Nanovic Institute for European Studies at the University of Notre Dame
  • August 2017: Kopenhaver fellow – Lillian Lodge Kopenhaver Center for Advancement of Women in Communication at the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) annual conference in Chicago, IL.
  • May 2017: Top faculty paper – Visual Communication Studies Division of the International Communication Association (ICA)
  • 2017: Grant – Online News Association Challenge Fund for Journalism Innovation Grant for the project “Virtual Water Infrastructure Crisis” : Co-principal investigator
  • 2017: Grant – Kappa Tau Alpha Chapter Adviser Research Grant: Principal investigator
  • 2017: Grant – Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) Emerging Scholar Grant: “Virtual Reality Journalism: Emotions and News Credibility” : Principal investigator
  • August 2015: Finalist (top 4) for  the AEJMC Nafziger-White-Salwen Dissertation Award
  • August 2015: Top faculty paper (second place) – International Communication Division of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC)
  • April 2015: Outstanding Dissertation Award, College of Communication and Information,  University of Tennessee, Knoxville
  • 2013: Two grants for dissertation research: Principal investigator
  • 2012, 2013: Two scholarships for pursuing a career in international communication
  • April 2013: University of Tennessee Chancellor’s Award for Extraordinary Professional Promise
  • April 2013: Best Debut Paper (second place) – News Division of the Broadcast Education Association (BEA)
  • August 2012: Research Award – Kappa Tau Alpha, National Honor Society
  • August 2012: Top student paper (first place) – International Communication Division of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC)
  • Spring 2012: Outstanding Graduate Student Research Award, College of Communication and Information, University of Tennessee, Knoxville
  • 2010-2012: Two scholarships for graduate studies
Ivanka (Radovic) Pjesivac
In the News

Two Grady College professors receive 2017 Emerging Scholar Grant

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