Weiwu Zhang

Dr. Weiwu Zhang
Associate Professor,
Department of Public Relations

Assistant Director of
Graduate Studies

About Me

  • I am a ping pong fanatic and political news junkie.

Research Specialty

  • My research mainly concerns media communication, particularly new media technology and social media influences on social capital and civic engagement, the use of social media in public relations, and political public relations. Specifically, my programs of research include (a) the effects of mass and interpersonal communication, particularly the Internet, on civic and political participation and on potential dark effects of social capital such as intolerance, (b) the examination of antecedents, processes, and consequences of organization-public relationships in the political context (POPR), and (c) the use of social media in public relations.

Main Methodological Approaches

  • Survey


  • Ph.D. Mass Communication, University of Wisconsin at Madison
  • M.A. Communication, Cleveland State University
  • B.A. English, Nanjing Normal University, China

Recent Graduate Courses Taught

  • Public Opinion & Propaganda
  • Seminar in Mass Communication Theory
  • Survey Research Methods

Publications in Last Five Years

  • Seltzer, T., & Zhang, W. (in press). Debating healthcare reform: How political parties' issue-specific communication influences citizens' perceptions of organization-public relationships. Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly.

  • Wigley, S., & Zhang, W. (in press). A study of PR practitioners' use of social media in crisis planning. Public Relations Journal (summer 2011 issue).

  • Zhang, W., & Gearhart, S. (in press). CHAPTER Political behavior in social network sites. In Z. Yan (ed.), Encyclopedia of Cyber Behavior. Hershey, PA: IGI Global.

  • Johnson, T.J., Bichard, S.L., & Zhang, W. (2012). Revived and refreshed: Selective exposure to blogs and political Websites for political information. In F. Comunello (ed.), Networked sociability and individualism: Technology for personal and professional relationships (pp. 196-217). Hershey, PA: IGI Global.

  • Johnson, T.J., Zhang, W., & Bichard, S.L. (2011). Voices of convergence or conflict: A path analysis investigation of selective exposure to political websites. Social Science Computer Review, 29(4), 449-469.

  • Seltzer, T., & Zhang, W. (2011). Toward a model of political organization-public relationships: Antecedent and cultivation strategy influence on citizens' relationships with political parties. Journal of Public Relations Research, 23(1), 24-45.

  • Johnson, T. J., Bichard, S.L., & Zhang, W. (2010). Shut up and listen: The influence of selective exposure to blogs on political tolerance. In C.M. Evans (ed.), Internet issues: Blogging, the digital divide and digital libraries (pp. 147-164). New York: Nova Science Publishers.

  • Johnson, T.J., Zhang, W., Bichard, S.L., & Seltzer, T. (2010). United we stand? Online social network sites and civic engagement, in Z. Papacharissi (ed.) Networked self: Identity, community, and culture on social network sites (pp. 185-207). New York: Routledge.

  • Zhang, W., Johnson, T., Seltzer, T., & Bichard, S. (2010). The revolution will be networked: The influence of social network sites on political attitudes and behaviors. Social Science Computer Review, 28, 75-92.

  • Zhang, W., & Seltzer, T. (2010). Another piece of the puzzle: Advancing social capital theory by examining the effect of political party quality on political and civic participation. International Journal of Strategic Communication, 4, 155-170.
  • Johnson, T.J., Bichard, S.L., & Zhang, W. (2009). Communication communities or "Cyber ghettos": A path analysis model examining factors that explain selective exposure to blogs. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 15 (1), 60-82.

  • Wigley, S., & Zhang, W. (2009). PR gets personal: A framing analysis of coverage before and after a source's criticism of the media. Public Relations Review, 35, 304-306.