Hyunjin Seo

School of Journalism and Mass Communications
Associate Professor
Docking Young Faculty Scholar
Primary office:
1435 Jayhawk Boulevard
Lawrence, KS


Hyunjin Seo (pronounced: hen-jin suh) is an associate professor and Docking Faculty Scholar in the William Allen School of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of Kansas as well as founding director of the KU Center for Digital Inclusion. She is also a faculty associate at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society, Harvard University where she was a resident fellow from fall 2018 to summer 2019.

Her research examines how social collaborative networks, facilitated by digital communication technologies, mobilize movements to address social problems. She strives to inform organizations and policies by working closely with community members, policymakers and activists through her research. For example, she leads a National Science Foundation-funded program offering evidence-based technology education to women who were formerly incarcerated and are now restarting their lives outside the criminal justice system. Her research team has recently completed a two-year education program supporting low-income older adults’ digital learning about online information assessment and privacy. Seo’s research on teens’ use of social media and collective action, funded by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation, helped Kansas City reshape its youth programs to better meet area youth’s needs.

Her research has received top paper awards at leading international conferences and has been published in top-tier journals such as Journal of Communication and New Media & Society. In 2013, she was named a Docking Faculty Scholar, an award given by the University of Kansas to a faculty member who has “distinguished themselves early through exceptional research and teaching.” In January 2014, the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication named her an Emerging Scholar in recognition of my research on social media and social change. Seo received her Ph.D. in mass communications from Syracuse University in 2010 where her dissertation was awarded the all-university Doctoral Prize.

Seo teaches courses on social media, research methods and strategic campaigns. Her “excellence and innovation in teaching” earned her a Promising Professor Award from AEJMC’s Mass Communication and Society Division in 2013. Critical and analytical thinking and independent learning are at the core of her teaching, as she believes these are important tools students will require in whatever profession they pursue in an increasingly complex world. She strives to help students build reasoning abilities and spark their imagination. And her classes combine theoretical and hands-on approaches to issues by enabling students to work with real-world clients. Most of all, she is excited about the idea of potentially helping students realize their dreams.

Seo’s research and teaching are influenced by her professional experience in journalism and strategic communication in South Korea and the United States. Prior to her graduate studies in the United States, Seo was a foreign affairs correspondent for South Korean and international media outlets. During that time, she traveled extensively to cover major international events including six-party talks on North Korea’s nuclear issues and gatherings of world leaders such as the United Nations and Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit talks. She has also consulted to U.S. and Korea-based nongovernmental organizations regarding their social media strategies and relations with international press.

Teaching Interests

  • Social Media
  • Strategic Campaigns
  • Research Methods
  • Digital Media

Research Interests

  • Social Media
  • Strategic Communication
  • Collective Action
  • Social Movement
  • Computational Social Science

Selected Publications

Seo, H. (2020). North Korea [Other]. In The SAGE international encyclopedia of mass media and society (pp. 1–4). SAGE.
Xue, H., Wang, Q., Luo, B., Seo, H., & Li, F. (2019). Content-Aware Trust Propagation Towards Online Review Spam Detection [Journal Articles]. Journal of Data and Information Quality, 11(3), 1–31. https://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=3305258
Seo, H., Erba, J., Altschwager, D., & Geana, M. (2019). Evidence-based digital literacy class for low-income African-American older adults [Journal Articles]. Journal of Applied Communication Research, 47(2), 130–152. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00909882.2019.1587176?journa...
Thorson, S., & Seo, H. (2019). U.S. and North Korea: A Gordian conflict [Book Chapters]. In Overcoming intractable conflicts: New approaches to constructive transformations (pp. 263–283). Rowman & Littlefield.
Ebrahim, H., & Seo, H. (2019). Visual public relations in Middle Eastern higher education: Content analysis of Twitter images [Journal Articles]. Media Watch, 10(1). https://mediawatchjournal.in/visual-public-relations-in-middle-eastern-h...
Seo, H. (2018). Internet connectivity [Other]. In The SAGE encyclopedia of the Internet (pp. 473–475).
Seo, H. (2018). Social change in networked information age [Book Chapters]. In Media scholarship in a transitional age (pp. 11–24). Peter Lang.
Seo, H., Erba, J., Geana, M., & Lumpkins, C. (2017). Calling Doctor Google? Technology Adoption and Health Information Seeking among Low-income African-American Older Adults [Journal Articles]. Journal of Public Interest Communications, 1(2), 153–173.
Seo, H., Harn, R.-W., & Husain, S. (2017). Facebook brand communities and social capital [Journal Articles]. Athens Journal of Mass Media and Communications, 3(1), 7–24. https://www.athensjournals.gr/media/2017-3-1-1-Seo.pdf
Seo, H., & Thorson, S. (2017). Network approach to regime type and global Internet connectedness [Journal Articles]. Journal of Global Information Technology Management, 20(3), 141–155.
Seo, H. (2017). Press Freedom Annual Report - South Korea & North Korea [Reports].
Seo, H. (2017). Press Freedom Annual Report - South Korea & North Korea [Reports].
Seo, H., & Thorson, S. (2016). A mixture model of global Internet capacity distributions [Journal Articles]. Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology, 67(8), 2032–2044. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/asi.23523/full
Seo, H., Thorson, S., & Pamment, J. (2016). Empathy in public diplomacy: Strategic academic engagement with North Korea [Book Chapters]. In Intersections between public diplomacy & international development: Case studies in converging fields.
Seo, H., Harn, R.-W., Ebrahim, H., & Aldana, J. (2016). International students’ social media use and social adjustment [Journal Articles]. First Monday, 21(11). http://firstmonday.org/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/6880/5646
Seo, H. (2016). Press Freedom Annual Report - South Korea & North Korea [Reports]. In Freedom of the Press 2016.
Seo, H., & Ebrahim, H. (2016). Visual propaganda on Facebook: A comparative analysis of Syrian conflicts [Journal Articles]. Media, War & Conflict, 9(3). http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/1750635216661648
Seo, H., & Thorson, S. (2015). Network approach to Internet bandwidth [Journal Articles]. Computational Social Networks, 2(11), 1–11.
Thorson, S. J., & Seo, H. (2014). Building partners through academic science [Journal Articles]. Asian Perspective, 38(1), 137–161.
Seo, H., Houston, J. B., Knight, L. A. T., Kennedy, E., & Inglish, A. B. (2014). Teens’ social media use and collective action [Journal Articles]. New Media & Society, 16(6), 883–902. https://doi.org/10.1177/1461444813495162
Seo, H. (2014). Visual propaganda in the age of social media: Twitter images during 2012 Israeli-Hamas conflict [Journal Articles]. Visual Communication Quarterly, 21(3), 150–161.
Thorson, S., & Seo, H. (2013). From adversaries to partners: Academic science engagement with North Korea [Journal Articles]. Global Asia, 8(2), 43–47.
Seo, H. (2013). Online social relations and country reputation [Journal Articles]. International Journal of Communication, 7, 1–20.
Seo, H. (2013). The ‘virtual last three feet’: Understanding relationship perspectives in network-based public diplomacy [Book Chapters]. In R. S. Zaharna, A. Arsenault, & A. Fisher (Eds.), Relational, Networked, and Collaborative Approaches to Public Diplomacy: The Connective Mindshift (pp. 157–169). Routledge.
Seo, H., & Kinsey, D. F. (2013). Three Korean perspectives on U.S. internet public diplomacy [Journal Articles]. Public Relations Review, 39(5), 594–596.
Houston, J. B., Seo, H., Kennedy, E., & Knight, L. A. T. (2013). Urban youth’s perspectives on flash mobs [Journal Articles]. Journal of Applied Communication Research, 41(3), 236–252.
Shoemaker, P., Cohen, A., Seo, H., & Wang, X. (2012). Foreign and international news [Book Chapters]. In F. Esser & T. Hanitzsch (Eds.), Handbook of comparative communication (pp. 341–351). ICA/Routledge.
Seo, H., & Kinsey, D. (2012). Meaning of democracy around the world: A thematic and structural analysis of videos defining democracy [Journal Articles]. Visual Communication Quarterly, 19(2), 94–107.
Seo, H., & Thorson, S. (2012). Networks of networks: Changing patterns in country bandwidth and centrality in global information infrastructure, 2002-2010 [Journal Articles]. Journal of Communication, 62(2), 345–358.
Seo, H. (2011). Media and foreign policy: A comparative study of journalists’ perceptions of press-government relations [Journal Articles]. Journalism: Theory, Practice & Criticism, 12(4), 467–482.
Seo, H., & Thorson, S. (2010). Evaluating social networks in public diplomacy [Book Chapters]. In C. G. Reddick (Ed.), Politics, Democracy and E-government: Participation and Service Delivery (pp. 243–259). IGI Global Publishing.
Shoemaker, P., Johnson, P., Seo, H., & Wang, X. (2010). Popular online news in Russia, China, and the United States [Book Chapters]. In E. Vartanova (Ed.), Content, channels and audiences in the new millennium: Interaction and interrelations (pp. 73–103). Lomonosov Moscow State University.
Shoemaker, P., Johnson, P., Seo, H., & Wang, X. (2010). Readers as gatekeepers of online news: Brazil, China, and the United States [Journal Articles]. Brazilian Journalism Research, 6(1), 55–77.
Seo, H., & Lim, J. (2010). Source credibility and use during the six-party talks [Journal Articles]. Asian Journal of Communication, 20(4), 440–455.
Seo, H., & Thorson, S. (2009). Academic science engagement with North Korea [Journal Articles]. The Korea Economic Institute (KEI) Academic Paper Series on Korea, 4(4), 1–10.
Lim, J., & Seo, H. (2009). Frame flow between government and the news media and its effects on the public: Framing of North Korea [Journal Articles]. International Journal of Public Opinion Research, 21(2), 204–223.
Seo, H., Kim, J., & Yang, S.-U. (2009). Global activism and new media: A study of transnational NGOs’ online public relations [Journal Articles]. Public Relations Review, 35(2), 123–126.
Seo, H. (2009). International media coverage of North Korea: Study of journalists and news reports on the six-party nuclear talks [Journal Articles]. Asian Journal of Communication, 19(1), 1–17.
Seo, H. (accepted/in press). Press freedom in South Korea [Book Chapters]. In Press freedom in Asia (pp. 114–128). Routledge.
Seo, H., Matthew, B., Altschwager, D., & Vu, H. (accepted/in press). Vulnerable populations and misinformation: A mixed-methods approach to underserved older adults’ online information assessment [Journal Articles]. New Media & Society.

One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
44 nationally ranked graduate programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.
5th nationwide for service to veterans —"Best for Vets: Colleges," Military Times
KU Today