William S. Morris III Distinguished Lecturer Series
Esther Thorson — Spring 2013
Esther Thorson is the associate dean for graduate studies and research at the University of Missouri School of Journalism, a program she has directed for 20 years, and she serves as director of research for the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute. She is also the only female Fellow of the American Academy of Advertising.
Thorson took special honors in psychology at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minn., as an undergraduate, earning membership in the Phi Beta Kappa honors society, and she received her doctorate in psychology from the University of Minnesota. She also has taught at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Denison University.
During her academic career, Thorson has led grant and research contracts totaling nearly $3 million. She has published more than 100 scholarly pieces on news effects, advertising, media economics, and health communication. She has edited six books, including “Advertising Theory” with Shelly Rodgers, “Internet Advertising: Theory and Research” with David Schumann, and “Integrated Communication” with Jeri Moore. She serves on the editorial boards of eight scholarly journals.
In her work, Thorson applies theories and findings from media research to newsrooms and advertising agencies across the United States and abroad. Her research with colleague Margaret Duffy for the Newspaper Association of America has been presented in national forums throughout the United States. Other recent projects focus on Internet advertising, the choice of news sources among the 18-34 demographic, the emotional effects of negative news photographs, and the impact of the Internet on traditional media use for news.
In a career that spans more than four decades, Thorson has advised more than 40 doctoral dissertations, and her former students hold prestigious professorships throughout the United States and Asia. Among her many honors and awards, she is the recipient of the American Advertising Federation’s Distinguished Advertising Education Award, the American Academy of Advertising’s Outstanding Contribution to Research Award, a Mizzou Alumni Association Faculty Award, and the Missouri Curator’s Award for Scholarly Excellence. She also has been recognized as Outstanding Woman of the Year in Journalism Education by the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication.