Benjamin K. Smith is a fourth-year Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Communication at UC Santa Barbara, where he studies public opinion and media communication. He is also a Graduate Research Assistant at the Orfalea Center for Global and International Studies, where he studies the typology of frames used by media organizations when discussing terrorist actors and the effects of these frames on public attitudes and beliefs about terrorist organizations and the threat of terrorism. He earned his M.S. in Communication from Portland State University, in 2014. He earned his B.S. in Communication, with an emphasis in Public Relations, from Southern Utah University, in 2012.
Benjamin’s research focuses on three overlapping areas: (a) how the media constructs reality and why certain constructions are chosen over others, (b) the factors influencing the way media messages are perceived and processed by individuals, and (c) the effects of these varying media constructions, in concert with personal and social factors, on the formation, updating and expression of beliefs, attitudes, and opinions. In addition to his interests in public opinion and media communication, a sizeable portion of his work has focused on research methods, with the goal of encouraging a more robust foundation for the development of social science theory.
Ph.D. Communication, (anticipated) 2018
- Department of Communication, University of California, Santa Barbara
- Ph.D. Emphasis (expected): Quantitative Methods in the Social Sciences
- Area of Study: Media Communication
M.S. Communication, 2014
- Department of Communication, Portland State University
- Specialization: Political Communication, Research Methods
- Thesis: Cross-cutting concerns: The varying effects of partisan cues in the context of social networks
B.S. Communication, 2012
- Department of Communication, Southern Utah University
- B.S. Emphasis: Public Relations
- Specialization: Strategic Communication, Public Advocacy
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.
Graduate Student Researcher - Orfalea Center for Global & International Studies
Graduate Teaching Assistant - Department of Communication