John F. Kirch

Associate Professor

john kirch profile photo

Contact Info

Van Bokkelen 208A


Ph.D., University of Maryland, College Park, 2008

Areas of Expertise

News reporting
News writing
Journalism history
Media literacy
Media analysis
Political journalism
Political campaign coverage
Coverage of dissent


Dr. Kirch teaches courses in journalism history, news writing, news reporting, media theory, online journalism and media literacy. Previously, he worked as a newspaper reporter and magazine editor for 16 years where he covered a wide-range of issues, including gubernatorial and congressional campaigns, business profiles, spot news such as murders and fires, education, the environment, and national and industrial security issues. His main research interests include media history and the intersection of journalism and politics. His dissertation, On the Fringe: Third-Party Gubernatorial Candidates and the Press, is a two-part study that examines (1) how minor-party political candidates are covered by the mainstream media when they do receive coverage, and (2) why reporters tend to ignore political contenders who do not come from the Democratic or Republican parties. The study concludes that American journalists have accepted the hegemony of the two-party system without question and have, in many ways, been co-opted by the Democrats and Republicans. Rather than encouraging free flowing debate during an election campaign, the news media act as barriers to American political discourse, excluding marginalized voices from the discussion and failing to challenge the dominate narratives established by political elites.



  • Kirch, John. (Summer 2016). “Community Newspapers and Third-Party Candidates.” Community Journalism 5 (1), 1-23.
  • Kirch, John. (Spring 2016). “Virginia’s Invisible Candidate: News Coverage of the Virginia 2013 Gubernatorial Campaign.” Journal of Communication Inquiry 40 (2), 162-178.
  • Kirch, John. “News Coverage Different for Third-Party Candidates.” Newspaper Research Journal 34, no. 4 (Fall 2013).
  • Kirch, John. “Turning a Blind Eye: Why Reporters Ignore Third-Party Candidates.” Newspaper Research Journal (Fall 2015).
  • Kirch, John. “Competing Narratives: Raymond Bonner and the Salvadoran Civil War: 1980 to 1983.” American Journalism (Summer 2015).
  • Book Review: John F. Kirch. “The Times-Picayune in a Changing Media World: The Transformation of an American Newspaper.” American Journalism 32 no. 1 (Spring 2015).