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COMS Professor Laura Black to serve as new editor Journal of Public Deliberation

Nov 13, 2013

COMS Professor Laura Black to serve as journal editor

By Kerry Tuttle

ATHENS, Ohio (Nov. 13, 2013) – Dr. Laura Black, an associate professor in the School of Communication Studies, will head the Journal of Public Deliberation (JPD) as its new editor. She will be in charge of the new leadership team that includes two new associate editors. 

JPD is a peer review, open access journal that serves to synthesize the research, opinion, projects, experiments and experiences of academics and practitioners in “deliberative democracy,” a growing cross-disciplinary field and political movement. The journal began in 2004 and has been downloaded over 82,000 times since its creation. 

“I am very excited to have the opportunity to lead the Journal of Public Deliberation as its incoming editor,” said Black. “The quality of public dialogue around controversial issues is very important, both in the U.S. and around the globe. Currently, JPD is one of the leading outlets for scholarship on deliberative processes and citizen engagement.”

Under Black’s leadership, JPD plans to expand the types of articles published, create shorter articles focusing on innovative ideas, incorporate book reviews, continue with special issues and symposia, and become more interactive through the use of social media.  Black hopes to make presented research more user-friendly and plans to draw on the expertise of her colleagues within the Scripps College of Communication to improve upon the magazine’s content and look.  

“The associate editors and I plan to build on the journal's current strengths, and also to improve its use of digital tools to make the research more usable to civic practitioners and public officials,” she said. “I look forward to collaborating with my colleagues in the Scripps College of Communication to help make the journal more interactive, visual, and engaging.”

At Ohio University, Black studies group deliberation and dialogue with a special focus on storytelling, conflict and group facilitation. Her research includes studies of public meetings, jury deliberations, organizational training sessions and online discussions in which she aims to understand how practitioners can further the ideals of well-informed, reasonable discussion about public issues, while also recognizing people’s need for connection, community and an affirmation of their core values. She is currently investigating how online tools are used in civic engagement and decision-making. 

Her research is published in several communication journals, as well as edited books on deliberation and democracy.  She has served on the editorial board for JPD and also co-edited a special issue of the International Journal of Public Participation on communication practices in public meetings. Black received her bachelor’s in philosophy from Miami University. She then went on to receive both her master’s and Ph.D. in communication from the University of Washington.