Rachel Mourão, Ph.D.

Rachel Mourão,

Assistant Professor

  • Journalism
(517) 884-0933
Download CV


Employing both quantitative and qualitative methods, Dr. Mourão focuses on how journalists cover political events in a changing media ecosystem. Her projects have focused on elections and protests, both in the United States and in Brazil. At MSU, she teaches courses on social media, media literacy, media theory and multimedia reporting. She has received grants from the US State Department (Missions Brazil and Chile), the Online News Association, and the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication.

Dr. Mourão worked several years as an online reporter and social media manager in journalism and public relations in Brazil. More recently, her work centered on journalists covering right and left-leaning political protests and elections in Latin America and the United States.

Dr. Mourão received her doctorate in journalism from the University of Texas at Austin, School of Journalism. She also holds a Master of Arts from the University of Florida, Center for Latin American Studies and a Bachelor of Arts from the Universidade Federal do Amazonas, Departamento de Comunicação Social.

Dr. Mourão lives in East Lansing, Mich., with her husband and two dogs. When she’s not working, she spends time outdoors with her husband and dogs or binge-watching TV.


Dr. Mourão joins the School of Journalism as an Assistant Professor focused on innovative technologies and journalism. Her role includes teaching skills related to media literacy, news writing, social media and digital storytelling. She conducts empirical research on journalism, technology and political communication, and look to connect theory to professional practice.

Drawing on her experience, Dr. Mourão provides perspective on the profound effects of technology on how journalists approach and distribute stories. Her teaching provides students with a firm foundation in the current media landscape, imparts traditional journalistic values and ethics, and demonstrates how those values and ethics relate to the digital world.

Research and Teaching

Maurao’s key research interests in digital media, political communication, journalism studies, and Latin American Studies have allowed her to focus on the intersection between journalism, new media and politics. She is particularly interested in the conditions under which technology affects the work of journalists covering political events like protests and elections.

In 2017, her dissertation won the Gene Burd Outstanding Dissertation in Journalism Studies Award from the International Communication Association, and the best dissertation award from the Mass Communication and Society division at the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication. 

Recent Publications

Employing both quantitative and qualitative methods, Dr. Mourão's research focuses on how journalists cover political events in a changing media ecosystem.

You can download her CV here (Last updated: September 2019). Her recent publications include:

Mourão, R.R. & Chen, W. (In press). Covering protests on Twitter – The Influences on Brazilian Journalists’ Social Media Portrayals of the 2013 and 2015 Demonstrations. The International Journal of Press/Politics.

Robertson, C. & Mourão, R.R. (In press) Conceptualizing fake news from the perspective of its producers. Digital Journalism.

Kilgo, D. & Mourão, R.R. (2019) Media Effects and Marginalized Ideas: Relationships Among Media Consumption and Support for Black Lives Matter. International Journal of Communication, 13(2019), 4287–4305.

Edgerly, S., Mourão, R.R., Thorson, E. & Tham, S. (2019). When do audiences verify? The role of message, source congruency and perceptions of truth on verification?, Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly (online first).

Mourão, R.R. & Robertson, C. T. (2019). Fake news as centrifugal diversification: a content analysis of sites that publish false, misleading, hyperpartisan and sensational information. Journalism Studies, online first.

Mourão, R. R. (2018). From mass to elite protests: News Coverage and the Evolution of Anti-Government Demonstrations in Brazil. Mass Communication & Society, online first.

Saldana, M. & Mourão, R.R. (2018). Reporting in Latin America: Issues and perspectives on investigative journalism in the region. International Journal of Press/Politics, 23 (3), 299-323.

Mourão, R.R., Thorson, E., Chen W., & Tham, S. (2018). Media Repertoires and News Trust During Early Trump Administration. Journalism Studies, 19(13), 1945-1956.

Mourão, R.R., Kilgo, D.K., & Sylvie, G. (2018). Framing Ferguson: the interplay of advocacy and journalistic frames in local and national newspaper coverage of Michael Brown. Journalism, online first.


Recent grants include:

2018   U.S. State Department, Mission Brazil, $50,000 (PI). Project: Michigan-Brazil Multimedia Journalism Program. Co-PIs: Lucinda Davenport, Mike Castellucci and Judy Walgren

2018   U.S. State Department, U.S. Embassy in Chile, $40,000 (PI). Project: Michigan-Chile Investigative Journalism Program

2018   Mass Communication & Society Division at AEJMC – Research Grants, $10,000 (PI).  Project: News media effects, attitudes toward Black protest movements and the intersections of injustice.Co-PI: Danielle Kilgo, Indiana University

2017   The News Challenge Fund, Online News Association, $35,000 (PI). Project: Can transmedia journalism help explain how school of choice affects rural and urban communities? Co-PI: Joe Grimm, Michigan State University

Mourao’s publications and other materials are available for download at http://www.rachelmourao.com/research/ 

Contact Information

404 Wilson Rd., Room 340
Communication Arts and Sciences Building
Michigan State University