Diversifying gender equity in leadership in public relations: The role of mentoring and instrumental support at the organizational level

Meng, J., & Neill, M. S. (accepted, 2022). Diversifying gender equity in leadership in public relations: The role of mentoring and instrumental support at the organizational level. Corporate Communications: An International Journal, forthcoming.

Abstract: The rise of a professional career presents women in today’s public relations profession an intense challenge in balancing professional and family responsibilities. Therefore, this study is motivated to investigate female public relations professionals’ perceptions of work-family conflict in their daily life. Specifically, we focused our research on women working in the professions of communication and public relations in the United States. Our research findings confirmed that female professionals have to constantly make changes to their plans for family activities when there is a conflict due to work-related duties. Such impact is particularly intense for professionals in the age bracket 31-40. They have to use a wide variety of coping strategies to manage the work-family conflict. Findings in our research confirmed the critical role of mentoring in providing extra support and to help junior female professionals find coping solutions. Effective mentor-mentee networks can be established and used as valuable resources to support women in managing work-family conflict.

Making sense of DEI: The construction of diversity, equity, and inclusion at public relations agencies in the United States

Abstract: This in-depth interview study captures the perspectives of DEI professionals at public relations (PR) agencies and their evolving understanding of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), focusing on the relationship between the organization and its employees and clients, and discusses factors, environments, and relations that influence DEI efforts. This study is an attempt to shed light on the dynamics that DEI practitioners at PR agencies navigate in their efforts to retain employees with marginalized social identities.

Using a headshot assignment to incorporate critical theory into photojournalism classrooms

Abstract: This case study uses a diversity and critical thinking exercise in a photojournalism class to show how journalism educators can incorporate race and gender conversations about ethics and judgement into traditionally skills-oriented courses. It’s crucial that journalism students learn how to apply their skills properly in an era of social unrest, inequality, and dwindling media trust. Democratic citizenship and journalism are intertwined, but often the bigger ethical conversations are left out of skills-oriented courses. This can lead to a disconnect among the skills themselves and the responsibility of practicing the skills, especially when it comes to matters of power and representation. The field of photojournalism remains predominately white and male, which makes it all the more crucial for students to interrogate their own bases to ensure ethical coverage of their communities.

The assignment asked students to make 36 portraits of strangers, and the subsequent classroom exercise has them confront their inherent biases by looking at the demographics of the people they photographed compared to the general population. Data for this case study consists of observations of the classroom conversations and a reflexive journalism exercise the students completed afterwards. Findings indicated this exercise was a successful way to introduce racial and gender considerations as part of photojournalistic ethics and judgement. Students initially neglected to think about representation and diversity in their selection of people to photograph, but afterwards said they could effectively incorporate reflexivity into their work in an effort to provide more representative imagery and confront their own biases.

Whitewashing Diverse Voices: (De)Constructing Race and Ethnicity in Spanish-Language Television Dubbing

Abstract: When television programs are translated for global audiences, languages are changed, but so too are constructions of diverse identities. Characters who are Black, Indigenous, or people of color (BIPOC) undergo transformations in order to be intelligible outside of their original national contexts; such transformations might reinforce these characters’ difference or eliminate it, effectively whitewashing BIPOC voices. This article unpacks this phenomenon by investigating the translation of diverse characters through the lens of the many industrial norms and constraints that shape the dubbing industry. Using the international Fox hit Glee (2009–2015) as an entry point for exploring the role of dubbing in Latin America, this study complicates conventional notions about global media’s imperialist and hybridizing implications by tracing political economy and industrial practices onto the dubbing of Black, Latinx, and Asian television characters.

Controversial Fashion and Corporate Crisis Learning: An Analysis of the Recent History of Diversity-Related Crisis Events in the Global Fashion Industry

Abstract: In recent years, several fashion organizations have received trenchant criticisms made against garments and fashion campaigns that included designs and graphics with negative racial connotations. Crisis issues can be amplified quickly with the use of social media, which often escalates the conflict between a crisis stricken organization and its emotionally charged online stakeholders. The present study examines three incidences in which three global fashion brands experienced scandals around the racially-inconsiderate fashions they released, causing harm to their reputation, brand image, and global consumer markets. Findings of this study provide a theory-based framework with actionable recommendations for global crisis communication specifically targeted toward corporate organizations in the fashion industry.


Brooke Liu, Yan Jin, Lucinda Austin, Erica Kuligowski, and Camila Young (Grady PhD student).