Benjamin Smith

Benjamin Smith is a fourth-year PhD candidate in UCSB's Department of Communication. He is also a Graduate Research Assistant with UCSB's Orfalea Center for Global and International Studies. He earned his M.S. in Communication from Portland State University, in 2014. His thesis focused on the role of interpersonal communication networks in moderating the effects of mass media. He earned his B.S. in Communication, with an emphasis in Public Relations, from Southern Utah University, in 2012.

While broadly focused on public opinion and mass media, Benjamin’s research has looked at a variety of issues across an assortment of contexts. His research has ranged from understanding the way cross-cutting communication moderates reactions to the NSA’s bulk collection of meta-data, to the role of media pundits in promoting post-hoc inoculation from polling results. Current projects include development of a synthesized model for predicting U.S. elections based in part on Wikipedia page views, and a look at the role of print media in shaping perceptions of al Qaeda and global terrorism.

Curriculum Vitae
Academic Area

Ph.D. Communication, (anticipated) 2018

M.S. Communication, 2014

B.S. Communication, 2012

Awards and Honors

Top Paper: Sub-Theme 05 (SWG 05: Organization as Communication), EGOS (2017).

Smith, B. K., Kovacs, R. Stohl, M., Stohl, C. (2017, July). The communicative constitution of the terrorist actor: Organizational metaphors and the discourse of al Qaeda. Paper presented at the meeting of the European Group for Organization Studies, Copenhagen, Denmark.


Top Paper: Communication Theory & Research Division, WSCA (2017)

Coleman, C., Provencher, J., & Smith, B. K. (2016, February). Framing theory and research: Where we have been and where are we going? Paper presented at the meeting of the Western States Communication Association, Salt Lake City, CA.


Dean’s Graduate Mentoring Award: Graduate Division, UC, Santa Barbara (2016)

Graduate Student Researcher, Orfalea Center for Global and International Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara. In recognition of management of the Media Constructions of Terrorism project.


Top Student Paper [Runner-up]: Communication Theory & Research Division, WSCA (2016)

Smith, B.K. (2017, February). Frankenstein’s food: The [second-level] agenda for genetically modified crops in the British media. Paper presented at the meeting of the Western States Communication Association, San Diego, CA.

Academic Appointments

Graduate Student Researcher - Orfalea Center for Global & International Studies

Graduate Teaching Assistant - Department of Communication