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Advisory Board Member

Pete Smith

Communications Professor, Mississippi State University

Pete Smith is an associate professor of communication studies in the Department of Communication at Mississippi State University. A native Mississippian (whose roots go back to the mid-19th century) and proud graduate of the state’s public school and university systems, Pete’s research focus and class time is spent exploring the intersection between gender, media, and southern politics.

To that end, his published pieces have examined the journalism careers of Carolyn Bennett Patterson, a native Mississippian who went on to a distinguished career as an editor at National Geographic magazine, and Norma Fields, who covered the state capitol beat for the Tupelo Daily Journal (now the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal) for almost two decades in the 1970s and 1980s. He is currently writing a book manuscript on the women who covered the Mississippi state capitol in the 1970s and 1980s, a period of time described by Fields as “the golden age of Mississippi journalism.” The manuscript is due to Lexington Books in summer 2020.

Pete has also studied how local and state media portrayed Evelyn Gandy, the first woman to win election to multiple statewide offices (including lieutenant governor). He is a former president of the American Journalism Historians Association (AJHA), and is a contributing editor to Journalism History, the official academic journal of the History Division of the Association of Educators in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC).

Pete holds an undergraduate degree in communication from Mississippi State University, a master’s degree in communication from Auburn University, and a Ph.D. in mass communication (with an emphasis on mass communication history) from the School of Communication at the University of Southern Mississippi.