Rachel Mourao Ph.D.

Rachel Mourao

Assistant Professor

  • Journalism
(517) 884-0933


Rachel Mourao, Ph.D. approaches the practice and study of journalism with a blend of digital savvy, empirical research and ethics, and a mindset for the news.

Hailing from the Brazilian Amazon, Mourao 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 political protests and elections in Latin America and the United States.

Mourao 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.

Mourao lives a world away from her hometown of Manaus and resides 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.


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

Drawing on her experience, Mourao 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, Mourao’s research focuses on how journalists cover political events in a changing media ecosystem. Her recent publications include:

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

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

Mourão, R.R., Thorson, E., Chen W., & Tham, S. (in press). Media Repertoires and News Trust During Early Trump Administration. Journalism Studies.

Molyneux, L. & Mourão, R.R. (2017). Social media echo chambers: Political journalists’ normalization of Twitter affordances. Journalism Studies, 1-19.

McGregor, S. C. & Mourão, R.R. (2017). Second Screening Donald Trump: Conditional Indirect Effects on Political Participation. Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, 61 (02), 264-290.

McGregor, S. C., Mourão, R.R., Neto, I., Angelucci, A., & Straubhaar, J. (2017). All the Kids are Doing It: Second Screening as Convergence in Brazil and the US. Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, 61 (01), 162-181.

Mourao, R.R., Diehl, T., & Vasudevan. K. (2016). I LOVE BIG BIRD: How journalists tweeted humor during the 2012 Presidential Debates. Digital Journalism, 4 (2), 211-228.

Mourao, R. R. (2015). The Boys on the Timeline: Political Journalists’ Use of Twitter for Building Interpretive Communities. Journalism: Theory, Practice and Criticism, 16(8), 1107-1123.

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