Baylor University

Dr. Mia Moody-Ramirez

Mia Moody-Ramirez

Faculty Spotlight

Moody-Ramirez Excels in Verve, Multi-Cultural Research

Dr. Mia Moody-Ramirez said she was an avid mass media consumer while growing up. She also read several novels a week and various magazines. And she spent her youth watching television shows – when media rarely featured people of color. "We used to get really excited if a black person happened to be on TV," she said.

Unfortunately, she said, most portrayals of people of color in media were negative at the time. "Such depictions eventually caused me to associate people of color – particularly black women – with negative stereotypes," she said.

To counteract negative images, she excelled in classes and extracurricular activities. Along the way, she was elected president of her sophomore and junior classes and then Student Body president of Bryan High School.

She said her mother, Nelda Moody, also a published author, is "dream maker" who made sure each of her four children reached their goals. Her father, Jerry Moody, a successful entrepreneur, was one of the first African-Americans to graduate from Texas A&M University.

They both stressed the importance of family and hard work.

"My mother made sure we ate together as a family each night. My dad made sure we watched the 5 o'clock news each evening. ‘You need to know what is going on around you,' he'd say. We could go to war and you wouldn't know it, if you don't keep up with current events," she said.

Moody-Ramirez took that advice to heart and later became a journalist. She's an author, former reporter and assistant professor of Journalism, Public Relations and New Media.

Her awareness of media inequalities later led to her life-long work in media studies that center on portrayals of women, people of color and other marginalized groups.

"Although journalists try to be objective, it's difficult because of the individual ideas and values they bring to the table," she said. "However, through awareness, journalists can become less likely to infuse stereotypes and negative frames of minorities and women into their articles."

Her articles have been published in numerous national and international publications, such as the American Communication Journal, Public Relations Review and Journal of Magazine & New Media Research. Her research topics also include new media and media effects.

Moody-Ramirez is also the author of Black and Mainstream Press's Framing of Racial Profiling: a Historical Perspective (University Press of America, 2009). She's writing a book titled, New Medium, Old Stereotypes: A Look at Mass Media Representations of Women in a Post-Racism Era. She teaches courses in reporting, public relations, and minorities and women in the media.

Her recent papers focus on the effects of the James Byrd Jr. dragging death on Jasper, Facebook hate groups, stereotypes of President Barack and Michelle Obama, male and female rappers' differing views on the "independent woman," and coverage of missing women.

She advocates for literacy programs that encourage consumers to be aware of the negative impact stereotypes and negative frames can have on their self-esteem. "I hope my research will lead to literacy programs that teach adolescents how to become discerning media consumers who seek diverse viewpoints and carefully scrutinize negative portrayals of all marginalized groups," she said.

She's the former editor/publisher of Elegant Woman Magazine and was former managing editor for Continuing Care and Home Healthcare magazines at Stevens Publishing. She served as a staff writer and columnist for the Waco Tribune-Herald from 1990 to 1997 and was a general assignment reporter and intern at the Bryan-College Station Eagle from 1988-1990.

Moody-Ramirez earned her Ph.D. from the University of Texas, two master's degrees from Baylor University and has a bachelor's degree from Texas A&M University. In addition, she's the mother of three children, Heidi, 18; Timothy, 8; and Bill, 6. She's the wife of Augustine Ramirez, an electrician and deejay, whom she met in junior high school and later reconnected with via Facebook.