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Mia Moody-Ramirez Ph.D.

Mia Moody

Baylor Researcher Tackles Topics from Racial Stereotyping to Recording Tragedy for Social Media

"You have to remain true to your heart . . . to make a difference," says associate professor Mia Moody-Ramirez

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WACO, Texas (July 20, 2016) - Women in rap music, missing women and the merits of live social media: these are the issues pursued by Mia Moody-Ramirez, Ph.D., associate professor and graduate program director in the journalism, public relations and new media department in Baylor University’s College of Arts & Sciences.

These research interests have helped Moody-Ramirez win multiple awards, such as the Baylor University Diversity Award in 2012. Most recently, Moody-Ramirez won the Outstanding Woman in Journalism and Mass Communication Education award given by the Commission on the Status of Women for her excellent work and high standards in her research and representation of women in journalism and mass communications.

"It was a real honor … I love what I'm doing, so that’s the great part about it," Moody-Ramirez said. "It's always an honor and a blessing to be able to research topics that you really like … You have to remain true to your heart, and in doing that you can truly make a difference."

The Commission on the Status of Women is part of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC), a nonprofit organization that focuses on promoting high standards and a multicultural curriculum in journalism and mass communication education.

Moody-Ramirez has participated in discussions over hot-button issues such as the live-streaming and recording of tragic events, and she has published two books about the interplay between race and media.

In an interview, Moody-Ramirez spoke about her research, how her passion translates to her teaching and what she has planned for the future.

Q: Can you tell me a little bit about your research?

A: "My research primarily focuses on media representation of women, minorities in the mass media, so I think that was very relevant to the Commission on the Status of Women, since they are concerned with women … I've had three papers published on independence, the representations of women and independence in rap music, so that’s my primary topic. Another topic that I focused on is missing women, representations of missing women and the coverage of missing white women, African-American women, and how African-American women are often overlooked … I’m becoming known to be an expert in some of those areas, so that’s probably another one of the reasons that I was selected for this particular honor."

Q: How has this translated to your work in the classroom?

A: "Students in my classes will come to me and say, 'I can't choose a topic, help me,' and I say, 'No. You need to focus on a topic that you’re truly interested in because if you like your topic, you’re going to spend more time researching the topic and you’re going to truly be invested in it. You have to remain true to your heart, and in doing that, you can truly make a difference because if you're researching a topic you’re not really passionate about, you’re not going to really try to make a difference. I think that's what has really mattered to me… I remain true and focus on those topics that really interest me, and I think it has paid off because I can be very passionate about those topics, I can spend long hours focusing on those topics, and I think that has really paid off in the long run."

Q: Can you tell me a little bit about what you're thinking of researching in the future? Are you going to continue along the same lines?

A: "Yes, I’m going to continue along the same lines. Right now, I'm actually working on a book about African-American humor and tracing it from the slave era all the way through," Moody-Ramirez said. "And there have been books written about that previously, but this book will be unique because we're bringing it all the way through social media. So now you actually see a lot of humor on social media like 'Black Twitter,' and you see people using humor through memes and tweets, and so we're going to analyze the use of humor in African-American culture on Twitter and social media. So that’s how this particular study will be unique."

Moody-Ramirez is the adviser for the National Association of Black Journalists and is co-advisor for Diverse Voices and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. She is a member of the International Communication Association and the AEJMC. She has authored two books: "The Obamas and Mass Media: Race, Gender, Religion, and Politics" and "Black and Mainstream Press: Framing of Racial Profiling: A Historical Perspective.

To learn more about the Outstanding Woman in Journalism award, visit the Commission on the Status of Women website. To learn more about AEJMC, visit the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication website.

by Karyn Simpson, student newswriter, (254) 710-6805

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