Jordan Davis brings broad skillset into local news research

By Katelyn Chedraoui

When she started her academic career, Jordan Davis did not see herself in the research field.

Throughout her journey in higher education, she has pursued programs that focused on communication, first as an undergraduate student at Bridgewater College, a small liberal arts school in Virginia, and now as a first-year master’s student studying strategic communication at Hussman School of Journalism and Media, in which she’s specifically interested in the intersection of communication, technology and culture.

Now, as a Graduate Student Researcher at the Center for Innovation and Sustainability in Local Media, she is expanding her horizons. Raised in a family of educators, Davis was taught to value any opportunity to learn new skills.

“I can always give it a try,” Davis said. “If it doesn’t work out, then that’s OK. But if I try it, I get it, and it does work out, that’s even better. Either way I will be learning.”

Davis has taken to the local news research realm well. Since joining CISLM in October 2022, she has been involved in several projects, mainly focused on sustainability. Her work has varied, jumping from assisting with data gathering to survey creation to helping write reports.

Currently, Davis is working on phase two of the News and Information Census, specifically identifying sources of local news on Facebook.

“Jordan is a flexible teammate,” said Jessica Mahone, research director at CISLM. “She has worked on nearly every project we have released since she joined, and she has been excited to learn the new skills necessary to contribute.”

In addition to her work at CISLM, Davis works with the Carolina Union’s Office of Student Life and Leadership. As the graduate coordinator for leadership development, she works with the SLL team to implement programming for students focused on developing leadership and life skills outside of the classroom. Davis is focused on implementing identity and social justice-based leadership programming.

“Jordan is never afraid to ask questions and consistently wants to learn more about any space that she is in,” said Natasha Young, leadership development program coordinator for SLL. “I feel like this allows her to truly see the world as her oyster, as corny as that phrase is, with opportunities to develop her own professional skills, while simultaneously contributing to communities that have benefitted her as well.”

In her graduate schoolwork, Davis is also completing classes to receive the sports communication certificate. After receiving her M.A., she would love to work with a major sports league. This summer, she will begin this journey with an internship in sports production and management.

“(Davis) is a caring person who is very passionate about social justice,” said Professor Lois Boynton, Davis’s faculty advisor. “Our discussions in the strategic communication class were quite lively. (In) some classes, she’d get on a roll about the topic we were discussing, and it was almost electric. She’s also fearless when it comes to trying new things.”

Despite not having previous research interest or experience, Davis has enjoyed the opportunity to learn new skills in a field she cares about.

“I feel like that’s the most exciting part,” Davis said. “Because I’ve learned new things. You’re always evolving. We’re always learning.”