Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Jason Peterson
Dr. Jason Peterson, department chair of the Department of Communication and associate professor, focuses his research on the Civil Rights Movement and sports.
Originally from Warner Robins, Georgia, Peterson has a bachelor’s in mass communication from Georgia College, a master’s in journalism from the University of Georgia, and a PhD in mass communication and journalism from the University of Southern Mississippi.
Applying his studies on civil rights and the integration of sports in Mississippi, Peterson published his first book Full Court Press in 2016. Peterson was a finalist for the Margaret A. Blanchard Doctoral Dissertation Prize in 2012, and he won the J. William Snorgrass Memorial Award for an Outstanding Paper on a Minorities Topic from the American Journalism Historians Association in 2009.
Peterson’s research began originally based for his love of sports and media. But his time in college expanded his curiosity.
“During my time as a grad student at Southern Miss, I became fascinated by the civil rights era. So, naturally, I wanted to find subjects that would combine these various interests,” he said. “Since then, I’ve just had an innate desire to shine a light on these dark stories of racial injustice that, in truth, most people were completely unaware of. It’s the storyteller in me I guess.”
One can find Peterson’s research also published in the book From Jack Johnson to Lebron James: Essays on Sports, Media and the Color Line. His most recent works include “Mississippi’s Forgotten Son: Billy Barton and his Journalistic Battle for Redemption in the Closed Society,” in the academic journal American Journalism, and a soon-to-be published “A Closed Incident: Mississippi Newspaper Coverage of Jackson State College’s 1956-57 Basketball Season,” in the academic journal Southeastern Review of Journalism History.
He joined the Charleston Southern University family in 2014, with a hiatus in 2017, returning in 2018.
“I believe it was God’s way of letting me know I had unfinished business here at CSU. So, one thing led to another, and I found myself back here,” Peterson said.
Peterson, along with former dean Dr. Dan Fultz, helped update the curriculum for communication studies to reflect current events and needs in the industry.
“When I came back, I knew there were more changes to make. With the help of Dr. King and Professor Eddington, I believe we are offering a degree to our students that will truly maximize their opportunities after college,” said Peterson.
Currently, Peterson runs the Buccaneer Beacon where he publishes stories of his students’ work in his journalism classes. “I want the department to offer classes specific to broadcasting. We also are in desperate need of a student-driven media outlet. Our students need as much experience as possible on the college level, and a student media outlet would give them those opportunities,” he said.