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John Pollock’s (MPA ’66) latest book: Journalism and Human Rights: How Demographics Drive Media Coverage

John C. Pollock (c) with student co-authors Kyle Bauer (l) and James Etheridge (r)

John C. Pollock (c) with student co-authors Kyle Bauer (l) and James Etheridge (r)

In my first year at Maxwell I was reading an application and came across a letter of recommendation (handwritten!) from John C. Pollock. John graduated with his MPA from Maxwell in 1966 and after 30 years this was the first student he was recommending to his alma mater. The letter was 6 pages long! I read every word of it. In this student John finally saw a potent combination: a strong commitment to public service and the solid potential to not only succeed in Maxwell’s MPA program, but contribute to our community.  Jessalyn not only lived up to this 6 page recommendation as a student, but continues to excel in her career in public finance.

I called John after I read his letter – and that call was the start of a wonderful professional connection. I feel like I know John – even though we have never met in person.  After Maxwell, John went on to earn his PhD and teaches Communication at The College of New Jersey (TCNJ).  Public Policy and Administration and Journalism are strong allies in Public Service and John’s career demonstrates this over and over again.  Since this first student – countless others  (all exceptional) have found their way to Maxwell’s MPA program.  That latest of which just graduated on June 29th! All benefiting from the kind mentoring of John and his understanding of how these fields connect.

Journalism and Human Rights:  How Demographics Drive Coverage

Journalism and Human Rights: How Demographics Drive Coverage

I am excited to announce that John’s latest book has just been released.  It further demonstrates this integral connection between journalism and public policy.  In this book, “Journalism and Human Rights: How Demographics Drive Media Coverage” (Routledge, 2015), John  compares cross-national coverage of human trafficking, HIV/AIDS treatment, water handling/contamination, child labor; and US cross-city reporting on same-sex marriage, detainee rights at Guantanamo, immigration reform, and post-traumatic stress, illuminating the critical role of variations in both female empowerment and “vulnerability” demographic measures.

I also found quite profound – yet not surprising, if you know John – that he shares publishing credit for the creation of book with 28 TCNJ students. He has long encouraged his students to publish their research.  “Publishing the work of communications undergraduates may be unprecedented”, says Pollock. “I know of no other books co-authored with undergraduates, whether published by Routledge or any other publisher.”  But, that is just they way John is…a true academic, mentor and overall good guy!

John – I never studied with you – nor even took a class on communications nor writing – but hopefully this blog post does your work justice! Christine

for more details:

Purchasing Options:

  • Hardback: ISBN: 978-1-13-885789-6; March 30th 2015


This book is the first collection of original research to explore links between demographics and media coverage of emerging human rights issues. It covers cross-national reporting on human trafficking, HIV/AIDS, water contamination, and child labour; and same-sex marriage, Guantanamo detainee rights, immigration reform, and post-traumatic stress disorder in the United States. The research asks questions such as: What are the principal catalysts that propel rights issues into media agendas? Why do some surface more quickly than others? And how do the demographics of cross-national reporting differ from those driving multi-city US nationwide coverage of rights claims?

Using community structure theory and innovative Media Vector content analysis, the eight chapters of this book reveal three striking patterns that show how differences in female empowerment, social or economic vulnerability, and Midwestern newspaper geographic location, link powerfully with variations in coverage of rights issues. The patterns connecting demographics and rights claims confirm that coverage of human rights can mirror the concerns of stakeholders and vulnerable groups, contrary to conventional assumptions that media typically serve as “guard dogs” reinforcing the interests of political and economic elites.

This book was originally published as a special issue of The Atlantic Journal of Communication.

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