Assistant Professor, Public Relations
Dr. Thornton returns to the Midwest following seven years spent in Louisiana, most recently leading a media and communication program at a small private college in Central Louisiana. A native of Missouri, Thornton attended the Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas, where he studied marketing management. He earned a Master’s in journalism from the University of Missouri and his Ph.D. in Media and Public Affairs from LSU’s Manship School of Mass Communication.
While at LSU, Thornton’s interdisciplinary studies focused on aspects of political communication. He has authored or coauthored numerous conference papers and presented at regional and national conferences on aspects of media effects in political messaging as well as news coverage of political institutions. His most recent research examining news coverage of the Supreme Court appears as a coauthored book chapter in an edited volume recently published by Oxford Press – Covering the United States Supreme Court in the Digital Age.
In addition to his academic work and research, Thornton brings professional communication and non-profit public relations management experience to the classroom, having served four years as director of a countywide community and economic development corporation in southwest Missouri. Among notable projects in that role, he organized and served as spokesperson for two countywide issue-oriented political campaigns; crafted documents creating a foundation for a local school district; administered and or secured numerous community grants; and helped facilitate regional alliances to improve infrastructure resulting in significant economic development and job creation.
In his spare time, Thornton enjoys tackling home remodeling projects and watching college football. As an avid college football fan whose alma maters now all reside in the SEC, he becomes deeply conflicted each fall as college football season rolls around!
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