Since pivoting to media studies from political science 25 years ago, Bruce Williams, Taylor Professor in Media Studies, has been relentless in his pursuit of critical media literacy. His current research focuses on the changing media environment in the US and its influence on public discourse and understanding of military force.
“A lot of the work I did that drew me into media studies had to do with criticizing the way broadcast journalism worked,” Williams said. He currently teaches a class called War and the Media, where students learn about media portrayals of military conflict in the US and beyond. Williams encourages his students to read from a wide variety of sources: “To make sense of what's happening around us, you have to understand the different kinds of information and political silos that people live in.”
While Williams acknowledges the challenges of “breaking through” these silos, he strongly believes a sophisticated understanding of media is the key to influencing the world around us. “My mission at UVA is to help produce citizens that can be effective at understanding the world,” he said. The perspectives and challenges Professor Williams brings to the University and beyond is testament to his dedication to this mission.