Kristin Gustafson

Lecturer, Full-Time

B.A. English and Women’s Studies, St. Olaf College
M.A. Mass Communication, University of Minnesota
Ph.D. Communication, University of Washington

Office: UW1-142
Phone: 425-352-326
Mailing: Box 358530, 18115 Campus Way NE, Bothell, WA 98011-8246


My teaching in our Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences School is shaped by my years as a journalist and historian. I encourage students to ask questions, seek evidence, explore complexity, engage with communities, evaluate and create media, and contribute to the world as responsible citizens. Communication, media, and journalism studies bring together different disciplines, histories, and training. All three fields require that students stretch toward people and communities that are unfamiliar, apply critical thinking and analysis to social problems, evaluate and create communication, and learn from practice. Students in my classrooms move reflexively between the contextual and theoretical questions of why and the more pragmatic and methodological questions of how. Every course includes at least one project where students get out of the classroom and engage in their communities. I use a multiple-method approach in the classroom to address the diversity of student learning. This includes group work, multi-media projects, tiered writing, peer reviews, student leadership, and active discussions. These teaching strategies work together to help students become empowered learners ready to critically engage with the world around them.

Recent Courses Taught

BIS 490 Senior Seminar: Asian American Media in the Pacific Northwest
BIS 499 Portfolio Capstone
BISMCS 343 Media Production Workshop: Nonfiction Media Writing
BIS 313 Issues in Media Studies: Critical Issues in U.S. Journalism History
BIS 204 Introduction to Journalism
BISSKL 350 Independent Fieldwork: Student Newspaper
BCUSP 118 Critical and Creative Inquiry: Journalistic Interviewing


Questions about journalism practices drive my current research. These practices are found in news organizations, within marginalized communities, during different periods of history, and in varied formats of media. My research examines the symbiotic relationship between social movements and grassroots U.S. newspapers that is historically and politically intertwined. I ask how (and why) these newspapers began, operated, and changed over time. I ask how (and why) workers operated as journalists and balanced loyalties. The answers add complexity to the role of media in democracy and the role of community and activism in journalism. I am working on three research projects. My digital archiving project identifies best practices and opportunities for preserving news content. My students and I have worked closely with the Nikkei Newspaper Digital Archive Project—an interdisciplinary and community-based project with the University of Washington Libraries, the Hochi Hokubei Foundation, and the North American Post. The project preserves a community and cultural artifact for future generations through a digital archive and a searchable, public meta-data. Students and I are also assessing best practices of regional newspapers in archiving printed and online news content. My book project examines a Seattle-based Asian American newspaper’s (The International Examiner) formative and activist history compares journalist’s practices, values and background. And my mixed-method collaborative project with a colleague from the Rochester Institute of Technology identifies and compares U.S.  journalist’s practices, values and background.


Co-adviser for the online student publication Husky Herald.

Selected Publications

Kristin L. Gustafson and Linda Jean Kenix, “Visually Framing Press Freedom and Responsibility of a Massacre: Photographic and Graphic Images in Charlie Hebdo's Newspaper Front Pages Around the WorldVisual Communication Quarterly 23, No. 3 (Winter 2016): 147–160.

Kristin L. Gustafson, “Translation, Technology, and the Digital Archive: Preserving a Historic Japanese-Language Newspaper” American Journalism 31, no. 1 (Winter 2014): 4–25.

Kristin L. Gustafson and Fahed Al Sumait. “Photo Conversations About Climate: Engaging Teachers and Policymakers Through Photography and Narrative” Sightline Institute (2009).

Kristin L Gustafson, “Constructions of Responsibility for Three 1920 Lynchings in Minnesota Newspapers: Marginalization of People, Groups, and Ideas” Journalism History 34, no. 1 (Spring 2008): 42–53.