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Travis L Dixon

Profile picture for Travis L Dixon

Contact Information

3001 Lincoln Hall, MC-456
702 S Wright
Urbana, IL 61801
David L. Swanson Professor of Communication & Director of Graduate Studies


Professor Dixon received his B.A. in Communication Studies from UCLA.  He then received his M.A. and doctorate from the University of California, Santa Barbara.  Professor Dixon is a media effects scholar specializing in investigating the prevalence of stereotypes in the mass media and the impact of stereotypical imagery on audience members.  He was the 2013 Visiting Philanthropy Faculty Scholar at the Clinton School of Public Service.  In 2019, he became the first African American scholar inducted as a fellow of the International Communication Association, one of the highest honors in the Communication discipline.  In addition to the dozens of articles Dr. Dixon has published in leading Communication journals, he has received multiple top paper awards from the National Communication Association and the International Communication Association. Dr. Dixon also serves on the editorial boards of some of the leading journals in his field, including Communication Monographs, Communication Research, Human Communication Research, Howard Journal of Communications, Media Psychology, and the Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media. Much of Dr. Dixon's work examines racial stereotyping in television news. His more recent investigations scrutinize the content and effects of stereotypes and counter-stereotypes in major news events, social media, and musical contexts.  He is the David L. Swanson Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Communication, and he has partnered with community groups attempting to address racial inequity.


Research Interests

media stereotypes, content and effects of traditional/digital media


Ph.D., 1998, Communication, University of California, Santa Barbara
M.A, 1994, Communication, University of California, Santa Barbara
B.A., 1992, Communication, University of California, Los Angeles


2016-2017, PI, Examining Systemic Distortions and Inaccuracies in the News and Opinion Media Framing of Black Families, Family Story
2005-2008, Co-PI, Police-Community Relations RAND Corporation in Cincinnati, Funded

Awards and Honors

2019, Inducted as International Communication Association Fellow
2015, Top Four Paper Award in the Mass Communication Division, National Communication Association
2015, Top Three Paper Award in the Multicultural Division, Broadcast Education Association
2013, Visiting Scholar, Clinton School of Public Service , U. of Arkansas scholarly investigation of stereotypical media content on network/cable news, Funded
2011, Excellence in Mentorship Award, Presented by UIUC Communication Leaders
2008, Top Paper Award in the Intergroup Communication Interest Group, International Communication Association

Courses Taught

Communication 277 (Lower Division Course): Introduction to the Mediated Communication
Communication 429 (Upper Division Course): Race and the Mass Media
Communication 529 (Graduate Course): Introduction to Mass Communication Theory

Additional Campus Affiliations

Professor, Communication
Director of Graduate Studies, Communication

Highlighted Publications

Dixon, T. L. (2017). Rap Music and Rap Audiences Revisited: How Race Matters in the Perception of Rap Music. In P. Hall (Ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Music Censorship Oxford University Press.

Dixon, T. L. (2019). Media Stereotypes: Content, Effects, and Theory. In M. B. Oliver, A. A. Raney, & J. Bryant (Eds.), Media Effects: Advances in Theory and Research (4 ed., pp. 243-257). Taylor and Francis.

View all publications on Illinois Experts

Recent Publications

Josey, C. S., & Dixon, T. L. (2023). The Barack Benefit? A Content Analysis of How News Coverage of America’s First African American Presidential Family Alters the Overall Presentation of Blacks in News. Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly, 100(3), 529-549.

Butkowski, C. P., Dixon, T. L., Weeks, K. R., & Smith, M. A. (2020). Quantifying the feminine self(ie): Gender display and social media feedback in young women’s Instagram selfies. New Media and Society, 22(5), 817-837.

Butkowski, C. P., Dixon, T. L., & Weeks, K. (2019). Body Surveillance on Instagram: Examining the Role of Selfie Feedback Investment in Young Adult Women’s Body Image Concerns. Sex Roles, 81(5-6), 385-397.

Dixon, T. L. (2019). Black Criminality 2.0: The Persistence of Stereotypes in the 21st Century. In R. A. Lind (Ed.), Race/Gender/Class/Media: Considering Diversity Across Audiences, Content, and Producers (4 ed.). Routledge.

Dixon, T. L., Weeks, K. R., & Smith, M. A. (2019). Media Constructions of Culture, Race, and Ethnicity. In Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Communication Oxford University Press.

View all publications on Illinois Experts