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Stephanie Edgerly

Stephanie Edgerly

Associate Professor and Director of Research

Stephanie Edgerly is an associate professor with a specialization in audience insight. She is also director of research at Medill. Her research explores how features of new media alter the way audiences consume news and impact political engagement. She is particularly interested in the mixing of news and entertainment content, how individuals and groups create and share news over social networking websites, and how audiences selectively consume media.

Edgerly teaches courses at the undergraduate and graduate level, in journalism as well as Integrated Marketing Communications. Her teaching philosophy prioritizes making connections between theory and daily life, learning by doing and encouraging discussion.

Recent research projects include exploring how different individuals understand and make sense of the news media landscape. This includes a project examining how young adults define and distinguish news in creative and diverse ways, and a project uncovering different patterns of news exposure among U.S. adults and how this relates to levels of political and civic participation. Past research projects have examined the effects of uncivil and humorous news talk shows, YouTube video activism in political movements (e.g. the Occupy movement, California’s Proposition 8), and online news searching behavior.

Edgerly is currently working on a series of research projects identifying the factors that shape judgments about “fake news” and the various strategies people employ for verifying news claims. She is also involved in a multi-year study examining the political and news socialization of adolescents and young adults.

Edgerly is a faculty associate at Northwestern University’s Institute for Policy Research. She is also a member of several professional associations including the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass (AEJMC) and the International Communication Association (ICA). 


Prior to joining the Medill faculty in 2012, Edgerly earned her Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication. She also holds a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and received a B.A. degree in communication and political science from the University of California, Santa Barbara. 

Awards And Honors

Edgerly is a speaker in the U.S. State Department’s International Information Program (IIP) and a Fellow in the Lillian Lodge Kopenhaver Center for the Advancement of Women in Communication. 

In 2015, Edgerly earned a “top faculty paper” award from the Children, Adolescents, and Media division of the International Communication Association. In 2010, she earned two “top paper” awards from the Communication Theory & Methodology division of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication. 


  • Edgerly, S. & Vraga, E. K. (2017). News, entertainment, or both? Exploring audience perceptions of media genre in a hybrid media environment. Online first publication at Journalism.
  • Edgerly, S., Vraga, E. K., Bode, L., Thorson, K., & Thorson, E. (2017). New media, new relationship to participation? A closer look at youth news repertories and political participation. Online first publication at Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly.
  • Thorson, K., Xu, Y., & Edgerly, S. (2017). Political inequalities start at home: Parents, children and the socialization of civic infrastructure online. Online first publication at Political Communication.
  • Edgerly, S., Thorson, K., Thorson, E., Vraga, E. K., & Bode, L. (2017). Do parents still model news consumption? Socializing news use among adolescents in a multi-device world. Online first publication at New Media & Society.
  • Taneja, H., Wu, A. X., & Edgerly, S. (2017). Rethinking the generational gap in online news use: An infrastructural perspective. Online first publication at New Media & Society.
  • Edgerly, S. (2017). Making sense and drawing lines: Young adults and the mixing of news and entertainment. Journalism Studies, 18(8), 1052-1069. 
  • Wells, C., Cramer, K., Wagner, M. W., Alvarez, G., Friedland, L. A., Shah, D. V., Bode, L., Edgerly, S., Gabay, I., & Franklin, C. (2017). When we stop talking politics: The maintenance and closing of conversation in contentious times. Journal of Communication, 67, 131-157.
  • Edgerly, S. (2017). Seeking out and avoiding the news media: Young adults’ proposed strategies for obtaining current events information. Mass Communication & Society, 20(3), 358-377.
  • Edgerly, S., Gotlieb, M. R., & Vraga, E. K. (2016). “That show really spoke to me!”: The effects of compatible psychological needs and talk show host style on audience activity. International Journal of Communication, 10, 1950-1970.
  • Edgerly, S., Thorson, K., Bighash, L., & Hannah, M. (2016). Posting about politics: Media as resources for political expression on Facebook. Journal of Information Technology & Politics, 13, 108-125.
  • Thorson, K., Edgerly, S., Vilenchik, N. K., Xu, Y., & Wang, L. (2016). Seeking visibility in a big tent: Digital communication and the people’s climate march. International Journal of Communication, 10, 4784-4806.
  • Edgerly, S. (2015). Red media, blue media, and purple media: News repertoires in the colorful media landscape. Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, 59, 1-21. 
  • Edgerly, S. Vraga, E. K., McLaughlin, B., Alvarez, G., Yang, J., & Kim Y.M. (2014). Navigational structure & information selection goals: A closer look at online selectivity. Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, 58 (4), 542-561.
  • Vraga, E. K., Bode, L., Yang, J., Edgerly, S., Thorson, K., Wells, C., & Shah, D. V. (2014). Political influence across candidate evaluations in the 2008 election. Information, Communication & Society, 17, 184-202.
  • Edgerly, S., Vraga, E. K., Dalrymple, K., Macafee, T, & Fung, T. (2013). Directing the dialogue: The relationship between YouTube videos and the comments that they spur. Journal of Information Technology & Politics, 10, 276-292.
  • Borah, P., Edgerly, S., Vraga, E.K., & Shah, D.V. (2013). Hearing and Talking to the Other Side: Antecedents of Cross-Cutting Exposure. Mass Communication & Society, 16, 391-416.
  • Thorson, K., Driscoll, K., Ekdale, B., Edgerly, S., Gamber Thompson, L., Schrock, A., Swartz, L., Vraga, E., & Wells, C. (2013). YouTube, Twitter, and the Occupy Movement: Connecting content to circulation practices. Information, Communication & Society, 16, 421-451.
  • Kim, Y. M., Wang, M., Gotlieb, M. R., Gabay, I., & Edgerly, S. (2013). Ambivalence reduction and polarization in the campaign information environment: The interaction between individual-level and contextual-level influences. Communication Research, 40 (3), 388-416.  
  • Vraga, E. K., Edgerly, S., Bode, L., Carr, D. J., Bard, M., Johnson, C., Kim, Y. M., & Shah, D. V. (2012). The correspondent, the comic, and the combatant: The consequences of host style in political talk shows. Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, 89, 5-22.
  • Gunther, A. C., Edgerly, S., Akin, H., & Broesch, J. A. (2012). Partisan evaluation of partisan press. Communication Research, 39, 439-457.
  • Vraga, E. K., Edgerly, S., Wang, B. M., & Shah, D. V. (2011). Who taught me that? Repurposed news, blog structure, and source identification. Journal of Communication, 61, 795-815.
Book Chapters
  • Edgerly, S. (forthcoming). A new generation of satire consumers? A socialization approach to youth exposure to news satire. In J. C. Baumgartner & A. B. Becker (Eds.), Laughing (still) matters: The next generation of political humor research. Under contract.
  • Thorson, K. & Edgerly, S. (2017). Civic engagement through media. In P. Roessler (Ed.), The International Encyclopedia of Media Effects (pp. 109-119). Wiley-Blackwell publishing.
  • Edgerly, S. & Thorson, K. (2016). Developing media preferences in a Post-Broadcast Democracy. In E. Thorson, M.S. McKinney, & D.V. Shah (Eds.), Political Socialization in a Media Saturated World (pp. 375-391). Peter Lang Publishing.
  • Bode, L., Vraga, E. K., Yang, J., Edgerly, S., Thorson, K., Shah, D. V., & Wells, C. (2016). Political engagement within parent-child dyads: Rethinking the transmission model of socialization in digital media environments. In C. Klofstadt, C. (Ed.), Resources, Engagement, and Recruitment: New Advances in the Study of Civic Voluntarism (pp. 127-144). Temple University Press.
  • Wells, C., Vraga, E. K., Thorson, K., Edgerly, S., & Bode, L. (2015). Youth civic engagement. In S. Coleman & D. Freelon (Eds.), Handbook of Digital Politics (pp. 199-220). Edward Elgar Publishing.
  • Edgerly, S., Bode, L., Kim, Y., & Shah, D. V. (2013). Campaigns go social: Are Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter changing elections? In T. N. Ridout (Ed.) New Directions in Media & Politics (pp. 82-99). Routledge Publishing.
  • Bode, L., Edgerly, S., Vraga, E. K., Sayre, B., & Shah, D. V. (2013). Digital democracy: How the Internet has changed politics. In A. Valdivia & E. Scharrer (Eds.) International Encyclopedia of Media Studies – Media Effects/Media Psychology (pp. 505-524). Blackwell Publishing.