Dr. Kyser Lough

Assistant Professor, Journalism

About: Dr. Lough teaches undergraduate photography and graphic courses. His primary research focus is visual communication and solutions journalism, with an emphasis on photojournalism.

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Ph.D., Journalism, The University of Texas at Austin
M.A., Mass Communication, Murray State University
B.A., Public Relations, Murray State University

Research Interests and Activities

Dr. Lough researches visual communication and solutions journalism. Broadly, he hopes to advance the field of visual journalism by incorporating it into professional, academic and pedagogical spaces through his teaching and research.

He uses both qualitative and quantitative inquiry to explore questions of power, access and boundaries. Within visual communication, he studies how news images are made, selected and interpreted, as well as the photographers themselves in how they define and operate within their field as they fight for legitimacy and job security.

His solutions journalism work investigates how it is conceptualized/created, audience effects and the interplay of words and images. Solution-oriented journalism, a growing field of interest within journalism studies, highlights social progress in a community, which often doesn’t get the same amount of attention as conflict.

Dr. Lough has presented his research at both national and regional AEJMC conferences, as well as at ICA and specialty conferences. His research is published in peer-reviewed journals such as Journalism, Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly, Journalism Practice, Visual Communication Quarterly, Digital Journalism and The Agenda Setting Journal.

Context clues: News audiences and their higher valuation of contextualist journalistic roles Kyser Lough

Abstract: This study explores the news audiences’ perceptions of journalistic roles, in particular the contextualist role, through a U.S. nationally-representative survey. As members of the public lose trust and interest in the media, some outlets are turning to forms of reporting like constructive/solutions journalism to provide a greater context to news consumers. Our survey shows […]

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Cameramen and Congresswomen: How photojournalists framed female candidates in the Year of the Woman Andrea Briscoe and Kyser Lough

Abstract: This paper explores how female politicians were visually depicted in the 2018 midterm elections in the United States. Through a content analysis of published photographs of female candidates from both winning and losing campaigns, this work adds to the body of literature on visual framing in American politics, with a specific focus on women. […]

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Transitioning to solutions journalism: One newsroom’s shift to solutions-focused reporting. Kyser Lough

Abstract: Solutions journalism — rigorous news reporting on how people are responding to social problems — has gained much attention in the past five years as newsrooms have looked for innovative ways to increase audience engagement. Several news outlets have launched solutions journalism initiatives. However, oftentimes news outlets separate their solution-focused news coverage from their […]

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Teaching Specialties

Dr. Lough’s teaching specialties include visual communication, specifically photojournalism, graphic design and visual method/theory, as well as general newswriting and related journalism courses.


Prior to pursuing his Ph.D., Dr. Lough spent 10 years as a photojournalist, reporter and public relations practitioner. His work has appeared for the Associated Press and NCAA and in the Austin American-Statesman, Lexington Herald-Leader, Louisville Courier-Journal, Murray Ledger & Times and American Hunter Magazine among others. He continues to freelance as a photographer in Athens and specializes in concert and sports photography.

Awards and Fellowships

  • Selected participant, Solutions Journalism Educators Academy, 2019
  • Graduate School Summer Fellowship, University of Texas at Austin, 2019
  • Jesse H. Jones Fellowship, Moody College of Communication, University of Texas at Austin, 2018
  • Inclusive Classrooms Leadership Certificate Seminar, 2018
In the News

"How to make visual journalism more impactful" via 2019 GEN Summit

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