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Gwen Shaffer

GSprofilepicGwen Shaffer joined the Department of Journalism & Mass Communication as an assistant professor in January 2012. She currently teaches courses in multimedia journalism and communication law.

Prior to her position at CSULB, Gwen was a postdoctoral researcher in the computer science department at University of California, Irvine. There, she worked on several studies examining how to best incorporate telecommunications policy and economic realities into the Internet architecture. Specifically, the research considered telecommunications company mergers, expanding the application of open internet principles, and wireless device attachment.

Gwen earned a PhD in Mass Media & Communication from Temple University in Philadelphia in 2009. Her dissertation examined the potential for peer-to-peer networking to help bridge the digital divide in the United States. This multi-disciplinary study was grounded in social movement, civic engagement and political economy theories, and was selected by the National Science Foundation for a Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant. More recently, Gwen co-authored a study concluding that universal broadband access and computer literacy alone will not close the digital divide. The article, published in the Journal of Information Policy, proposes a Digital Human Capital framework—which takes into account the complex nature of social exclusion in the informational age. Gwen also recently wrote an article examining the Federal Communication Commission’s historical use of “voluntary commitments” when approving telecommunications company mergers. That article was published in Media, Culture & Society. Gwen’s current research project takes a critical studies approach to examining the language used in about 25 state bills that deregulate voice over Internet protocol telephony service.

While pursuing her PhD, Gwen taught courses at both Temple and Drexel universities in news writing, feature writing, freelance reporting, communication theory, public speaking and public policy.

Prior to attending graduate school, Gwen worked as a reporter for more than a dozen years. As a senior writer for the Philadelphia City Paperfrom 1998 to 2001, she filed investigative news features, as well as wrote a weekly column on City Council and local politics. Later, she worked as a staff writer for Philadelphia Weekly, where her cover stories tackled complex policy trends such as the city’s widening wealth disparity and zoning code reform. Gwen’s freelance articles have been published in The New RepublicColumbia Journalism ReviewThe NationE/The Environmental MagazinePhiladelphia magazine, the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Philadelphia Business Journal, and Arrive magazine, among other publications. Previously, Gwen also held several editorial positions at National Public Radio in Washington, D.C.

Published Articles:

Chapters in Edited Books

Office Location: SSPA-008
Office Hours: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 2pm-3:30pm
Phone: 562-985-5433

Teaching Schedule:
JOUR 311 – REPORTING INFORMATION GATHERING – Section 01/02 – TuTh – 10-11:50AM – SPA-108
JOUR 311 – REPORTING INFORMATION GATHERING – Section 05/06 – TuTh – 9-9:50AM – SPA-005
JOUR 430 – LAW OF MASS COMMUNICATIONS – Section 01 – TuTh – 12:30-1:45PM – SPA-029C

For syllabi for these and all Department of Journalism & Mass Communication classes, click here.