A Comprehensive Job Market Material Share

Here are all of the job application materials I submitted to the Department of Journalism, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where I will be an assistant professor in Media Law and Ethics starting September 1.

If you’re on the Public Relations job market, you might want to check out my other

I’m sharing my job market materials here along with the spreadsheet template I used for organizing job ads and keeping track of applications.

Through my blog, I’m also sharing:

I hope you find these resources helpful. My goal is to level the playing field as much as possible, providing practical aids and insights that can make your job search more organized and a little less daunting. I am also indebted to so many people that generously offered their time, experience, and advice while I was navigating the job market; this is my way of paying it forward. I recognize that not everyone has access to the kind of support I was fortunate to receive from mentors and colleagues. By sharing these resources, I am hoping to extend a helping hand to those navigating the job market journey, especially to those who may feel isolated or under-supported. Remember you’re not alone! 💙



Cover Letter


Dear Professor Joshua Braun and Members of the Search Committee,

I’m privileged to offer this cover letter for the position of Assistant Professor of journalism with a focus on ethics and law in the Journalism Department at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. As a Ph.D. candidate in the Hussman School of Journalism and Media at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, I am on track to graduate with my Ph.D. in media and communication in May 2024.

As a UNC Royster Fellow and Richard Cole Fellow, I am an active researcher with 5 years of research experience at the intersection of Artificial Intelligence (AI) ethics, digital platform governance, and journalism. I bring with me a unique blend of interdisciplinary expertise, methodological rigor, and a proven track record of scholarly contributions. To date, I have published three first-authored journal articles, two book chapters, and two publications in the popular press. I have four journal articles under review, with one invited for revise and resubmit. I have received multiple research awards, including a top student paper award at the 72nd International Communication Association conference (ICA), the William Francis Clingman Jr. Ethics Award and the Minnie S. & Eli A. Rubinstein Research Award from the Hussman School of Journalism and Media, and nine other competitive fellowships and travel grants to date. This summer, I was honored with the Inez Kaiser Graduate Students of Color Award at the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) conference.

Several of my studies have theoretical and practical implications for journalism ethics and law regarding AI ethics, digital platforms, and technology. In a first-authored study with Dr. Shannon McGregor (UNC) and Dr. Bridget Barrett (U of Colorado), published open access in Information, Communication, and Society, I delved into a crucial topic about digital platform governance: how political attitudes influence Americans' views on online content responsibility beyond mere party lines. Based on survey data from over 10,000 Americans, this study uncovered that political ideology and anti-establishment beliefs significantly interact in shaping attitudes towards content responsibility, indicating that partisanship alone is not a sufficient explanation, highlighting the necessity for more effective and nuanced online content policy solutions. For journalists, these opinions could directly impact their ability to fulfill their roles as informers, watchdogs, and facilitators of democratic discourse. In another co-first authored study with Dr. Daniel Kreiss (UNC), under review in the International Journal of Press/Politics, I assessed journalism’s role in safeguarding democracy, using the 2022 U.S. midterm elections as a case study. Using a normative and analytical framework that we refer to as “democracy-framed journalism,” the findings revealed a limited focus on democratic ideals when covering anti-democratic candidates on the ballot, highlighting the urgent need to improve journalism’s role in safeguarding democracy. The implication for public policy stemming from this study is the pressing necessity for the development and implementation of policies and initiatives aimed at enhancing journalism’s commitment to democratic values and principles, particularly in the context of election coverage, to strengthen the democratic process and ensure that it serves the public interest. With my expertise in journalism and computational methods, I am also heavily engaged in several ongoing projects investigating conservative far right media and interventions that would support public policies for safeguarding democracy.

My dissertation extends my research trajectory by investigating how different strategic actors frame the values and ethics around AI technology, including federal government agencies, tech companies, and news organizations. Using a comprehensive dataset of press releases and persuasive messages from key governmental and tech entities, as well as news articles, I utilize computational and qualitative methods to discern dominant voices in the public discourse on AI ethics as well as those who are marginalized. Specifically, I investigate who wields influence over defining, understanding, and communicating AI ethics and how narratives from one strategic actor are accepted, rejected, or interpreted by another. By doing so, I aim to inform policymakers about the diverse perspectives and potential conflicts of ethics and values in framing AI ethics, enabling the development of more inclusive, transparent, and accountable policies that safeguard ethical principles in AI technology. The role of journalists in shaping public discourse around AI ethics is one of the critical contributions of my project.

In addition to research, teaching and mentoring are at the core of my career identity. As an instructor at UNC-Chapel Hill, I have combined my expertise in ethics and law, journalism, and data science to prepare students for their media careers. At UNC-Chapel Hill, I’ve earned evaluations that are significantly above average (4.81/5.0 and 4.82/5.0), with student comments often praising my availability, expertise and feedback, as well as my engaging and encouraging classroom presence. I am prepared to teach journalism courses at both undergraduate and graduate levels, including Introduction to Journalism, Introduction to Public Relations, News Literacy, Data-Driven Storytelling, Media Criticism, Public Relations Research and Analytics, Public Relations Ethics, Journalism and Law, Media, Technology, and Culture, Journalism Ethics, Public Relations Campaign Management, and Public Relations and Integrated Communication Cases. I also look forward to developing courses for research methods to study ethical issues in journalism, including computational text analysis, survey, and content analysis, and special topics about AI and digital platforms with a focus on law, ethics, and the political economy of media. I’m also interested in teaching critical theories for studying the impact of emerging technology and digital platforms on marginalized communities.

Lastly, I take my commitments to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) seriously. This is reflected in my research, teaching, and community engagement. My research focuses on marginalized communities, seeking solutions for historical inequalities and digital harms. In teaching, I include feminist and standpoint theories, offering students valuable tools for understanding their world. Qualitative feedback shows students of color find validation in my classes. At the Center for Information, Technology, and Public Life (CITAP), I collaborate to meet marginalized communities' information needs. With my research expertise, my effectiveness in the classroom, and my commitment to serving marginalized communities, I will bring rigorous research, innovative and inclusive teaching, and new collaborations to the Journalism Department at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Please feel free to contact me at any time at heesoo@unc.edu or (cell number here). Thank you for this opportunity and for your consideration of my application. I look forward to the committee’s response.

Sincerely,
Heesoo Jang
Hussman School of Journalism and Media
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill



Teaching Statement


I view teaching and mentoring as integral to my career identity. I strive to prepare my students for rapidly evolving professional landscapes, particularly those impacted by emerging technologies. This drives my mission in the classroom: to provide them with immersive, practical experiences that promote profound learning and critical thinking, setting them up for success as they venture into their initial career pathways. These experiences are not just about learning the ropes; they are about grasping the underlying principles and nuances that govern the evolving landscapes of modern media professions.

To achieve this mission, my teaching methodology strikes a harmonious balance between abstract concepts and tangible practice. Knowledge without application is like a compass without a map – it might point you in the right direction, but it won’t guide you through the journey. By intertwining theoretical foundations with real-world scenarios, I empower students to bridge the gap between classroom insights and professional realities. I have received extensive training in active and inclusive learning strategies from UNC’s Center for Faculty Excellence and incorporate diverse activities to engage every student and foster active learning. Throughout this process, I frequently include peer learning, backchannel conversations, and group discussions, as I believe that students interacting with one another fosters understanding across lines of difference, enhancing learning, creativity, and innovation.

I have teaching experience for both undergraduate and graduate students in diverse settings. As the instructor of record for a Media Ethics course at UNC-Chapel Hill, I introduced students to up-to-date case studies and guided discussions around the implications of different media ethics concepts and frameworks, equipping them to engage critically and ethically with emerging technologies in their future roles in journalism, public relations, advertising, and others. I also served as the teaching assistant for our school’s Market Intelligence course for the past three semesters, where students obtain hands-on experience with data and media analytics. In spring 2023, I co-taught a research-project based undergraduate class, where we led a group of 14 students on a social science research project that included a content analysis of news articles and interviews with journalists. I have delivered guest lectures on the ethical and societal issues of social media platforms, big data, and AI for diverse audiences, including undergraduate students (U of Alabama), graduate students (Wayne State U), journalists (UNC-Chapel Hill), and public relations professionals (Public Relations Society of America). Additionally, I’ve conducted method-oriented guest lectures centered around computational analysis and quantitative research techniques for both undergraduate (York College of Pennsylvania) and graduate (Sociologists of Digital Things (SDT) community) students.

Across two semesters as an instructor of record at UNC-Chapel Hill, I’ve earned numeric evaluations that are significantly above average (4.81/5.0 and 4.82/5.0), with student comments often praising my availability, my expertise and feedback, as well as my engaging and encouraging classroom presence. Having taught during the pandemic, these evaluations also reflect my ability to effectively teach online and hybrid courses. Specifically, I revamped my curriculum to incorporate interactive ways of facilitating meaningful virtual interactions among my students, including Google Jamboard, Poll Everywhere, and asynchronous Sakai discussion boards, while consistently guiding small group projects through Zoom breakout rooms to ensure collaborative learning experiences. When we slowly moved to hybrid, I relocated the final project meetings to in-person settings, carefully managing group sizes to avoid large gatherings while still facilitating valuable face-to-face interactions. One of my most recent guest lectures on AI ethics was presented to journalists participating in UNC’s Visiting International Scholars (VIS) Program – the journalists praised my ability to engage them with both broad context and tactical guidance of the ever-changing landscape of technology, industry, and society.

I am prepared to teach journalism courses at both undergraduate and graduate levels, including Introduction to Journalism, Introduction to Public Relations, News Literacy, Data-Driven Storytelling, Media Criticism, Public Relations Research and Analytics, Public Relations Ethics, Journalism and Law, Media, Technology, and Culture, Journalism Ethics, Public Relations Campaign Management, and Public Relations and Integrated Communication Cases. I also look forward to developing courses for research methods to study ethical issues in journalism, including computational text analysis, survey, and content analysis, and special topics about AI and digital platforms with a focus on law, ethics, and the political economy of media. I’m also interested in teaching critical theories for studying the impact of emerging technology and digital platforms on marginalized communities.

I look forward to mentoring students with an open-door policy outside of the classroom. Throughout the past few years of my Ph.D. program, I have actively mentored junior graduate students within my program and as part of research groups. I have provided guidance in navigating literature, methodological choices, and various other aspects of their academic pursuits. I firmly believe that faculty’s readiness to offer invaluable guidance on research, teaching, and professional growth has a large impact on graduate students both professionally and personally. As students explore their research interests and chart the course of their careers, I am deeply committed to serving as an accessible and supportive mentor. For instance, I have taken the initiative to nurture junior academics' opportunities for increasing their research impacts. One such effort was my co-organization of the ‘Empowering Junior Academics in Tech Policy’ workshop, an interdisciplinary event designed for junior academics. This workshop, conducted in collaboration with Dr. Melinda Sebastian at Data & Society and Dr. Evaglia Tavoulareas at Georgetown University, aimed to provide insights into technology policy space and how to effectively communicate their research to a government audience. Additionally, I have extended invitations to junior academics to participate in policy discussion series that I co-organized with Data & Society, fostering connections between them and multi-stakeholder agencies within the federal government.

Lastly, I am highly aware of the hidden curriculum, which encompasses implicit academic, social, and cultural messages, unwritten rules, and unspoken expectations within the dominant-culture context of education. Recognizing that these unspoken norms and values significantly influence the learning experience of first-generation students and those from marginalized communities, I am committed to creating an inclusive and equitable educational environment that actively addresses and challenges the hidden curriculum. Thus, in my teaching, I prioritize transparency and equity. I believe it is essential to make explicit the expectations and assumptions that often remain hidden, as they can impact students' academic success. For example, I always begin my lectures by explicitly stating learning outcomes and the rationale behind class modules and activities. Regarding assignments, I consistently share grading rubrics in advance and offer office hours to actively discuss student concerns and questions related to the course materials and expectations. My dedication to fostering an inclusive learning environment through open dialogue and explicit expectations has consistently led to improved student engagement and a deeper understanding of course materials, as evidenced by their feedback and active participation.


DEI Statement


My commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) is rooted in both personal and professional experiences, particularly as a woman navigating the South Korean media industry. These experiences, alongside my upbringing as a third-culture child in a predominantly white Australian town, have shaped my philosophy. I firmly believe that understanding social position and power dynamics is essential for fostering DEI. This philosophy guides my dedication to embracing diverse perspectives, respecting cultural backgrounds, and offering unwavering support to students, especially those from historically marginalized communities.

My research focuses on the ethics and social inequities prevalent in technology, specifically in the context of AI ethics and digital platforms. I seek to uncover the power dynamics at play and to ensure that marginalized voices are part of the dialogue to hold tech organizations accountable. My dissertation project concentrates on examining the public discourse surrounding AI ethics as a matter of political concern. It scrutinizes who holds sway in shaping, conceptualizing, and articulating AI ethics, and explores the dynamics involved in how narratives from one strategic actor are embraced, challenged, or interpreted by another. Moreover, my solo-authored work presented at CHI 2022 and published in Tech Policy Press, delved into the use of transnational digital platforms in child sex trafficking in Asia, highlighting the need for tech firms to secure their services across all markets and languages. I am also a co-organizer of an international panel on platform injustice, including panelists across four continents that work on marginalized communities, in the upcoming 2023 Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work & Social Computing (CSCW).

In the classroom, I strive to create a learning environment where all students feel valued and are encouraged to share their unique perspectives and experiences. As an engaged member of ABIDE (Access, Belonging, Inclusivity, Diversity, and Equity), the Inclusive Teaching Discussion Group & Book Club in the Hussman School of Journalism and Media at UNC, I have cultivated skills and insights essential for the practical implementation of DEI principles in educational settings. I prioritize supporting various aspects of academic freedom and fulfilling DEI goals by incorporating diverse curricula and inviting guest lecturers like Dr. Michele Meyer (Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media) and Dr. Madhavi Reddi (York College of Penn), who bring crucial insights into ethical media representations across lines of identity and diverse cultural expressions. I cover topics such as feminist and standpoint theory that are typically omitted from standard course textbooks. Additionally, by integrating paired discussions in my teaching approach, I create an interactive learning environment where diverse perspectives can intersect and enrich the collective understanding, enabling students to appreciate the value of varying viewpoints and experiences.

Lastly, as a survivor who has experienced a death by suicide of a loved one in my 20s, mental health is a core value in my personal and professional life. I strongly advocate for mental health awareness, support, and resources in all facets of academia and community engagement. The compounded impact of the pandemic, several suicides on campus, and lockdowns due to active shooter situations during my time at UNC highlighted the critical importance of DEI in conjunction with mental health considerations. Particularly crucial during the Fall of 2021, I employed a flexible, hybrid teaching model and provided tailored support to students, acknowledging the unique challenges faced by students of different backgrounds. For example, I offered one-on-one office hours to students who needed more time and space, ensuring they received the education they needed while also utilizing school resources to take care of themselves.



Disclosure about reference checks/letters

UMass Amherst did not request reference letters at the application stage, which was one of the criteria I took into account when selecting schools to apply to. I find it inconsiderate to ask for reference letters this early, as it can be a significant demand on applicants' time. Instead, UMass Amherst conducted reference checks over the phone with my references. For schools that required reference letters after the Zoom interview, my references sent their letters directly to the search chair.


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