Faculty Profile for Dr. Vanessa D Higgins Joyce

profile photo for Dr. Vanessa D Higgins Joyce
Dr. Vanessa D Higgins Joyce
Associate Professor — School of Jrnlism & Mass Comm
OM 102
phone: (512) 245-6113

Biography Section

Biography and Education

Vanessa de Macedo Higgins Joyce is an associate professor and graduate advisor focused on the evolution of media, particularly news, in a digital, networked and global environment and how these challenges and opportunities impact society. She researches the emergence of digital-native news, the acceleration of transnational journalism practices and how some of media's functions, such as creating common ground for deliberation (consensus building), are in transition. She specializes in Latin American media and comparative, cross-national analyses.

She received her undergraduate degree in Social Communication/Journalism from Pontifícia Universidade Católica, in São Paulo, Brazil, and both her master's degree and doctorate from The University of Texas at Austin. Her thesis analyzed the agenda-setting and cultivation effects of crime coverage of Brazilian media. Her dissertation focused on the consensus-building function of agenda setting, analyzing national and transnational news media in Europe.

She has co-authored two books with leading experts in global media, the most recent (December 2021) titled From Telenovelas to Netflix: Transnational, Transverse Television in Latin America. In addition, Higgins Joyce has published several peer-reviewed journal articles and 10 book chapters in English and Spanish, in both top publications of her field and emerging publications from Latin America. She received the recent Latino/Latin American Communication Research Award at AEJMC 2018 for her study titled Seeking Transnational, Entrepreneurial News from Latin America: An Audience Analysis. She has received three College Achievement Award for Excellence in Scholarly Activities at Texas State University (2023, 2017, 2015), and the Department Achievement Award for Excellence in Scholarly Activities in 2021.

Higgins Joyce has previously worked as an Assistant Professor in the Journalism Division of Southern Methodist University and worked with MOOCs geared towards professional journalists at The Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas. She worked extensively with Public Opinion Research companies in São Paulo, Brazil, conducting research for major political campaigns. She has also worked as a journalist for a couple of pioneering online journalism websites in Brazil, reporting on local art and Brazilian soccer.

She is the Graduate Advisor for the School of Journalism and Mass Communication. She is also currently the Research Chair for the International Communication Division of Aejmc, a division she has served for well over a decade.

She has two kids and, along her husband Matt, enjoys hiking and camping and some seriously strong coffee.

Selected Scholarly/Creative Work

  • Straubhaar, J., Santillana, M., Higgins Joyce, V. D., & Duarte, L. G. (2022). Distinction and Cosmopolitanism: Latin American Middle-Class, Elite Audiences and Their Preferences for Transnational Television and Film. International Journal of Communication, 17(23). Retrieved from https://ijoc.org/index.php/ijoc/article/view/17945/4002
  • Higgins Joyce, V. D., Schmitz Weiss, A., Harlow, S., & Alves, R. C. (2022). Spatial Dimensions within Hierarchy of Influences: How re-conceived notions of space in networked societies impact Latin American journalists. International Communication Gazette. https://doi.org/DOI: 10.1177/17480485221130
  • Higgins Joyce, V. D., Alves, R. C., & Chacón, L. C. (2022). Moving Barriers to Investigative Journalism in Latin America in Times of Instability and Professional Innovation. Journalism Practice. https://doi.org/10.1080/17512786.2022.2062427
  • Straubhaar, J., Santillana, M., Higgins Joyce, V. D., & Duarte, L. (2021). From Telenovelas to Netflix: Transnational, Transverse Television in Latin America. England: Palgrave MacMillan. Retrieved from https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-3-030-77470-7
  • Higgins Joyce, V. D. (2021). News Organizations in Colombia Building Consensus through Social Media: A Case of Digital-Native La Silla Vacía. Journalism and Media, 2(1), 62–76. https://doi.org/doi.org/10.3390/journalmedia2010005

Selected Awards

  • Award / Honor Recipient: Latino/ Latin American Communication Research Award, International Communication Division AEJMC. May 2018 - August 2018
  • Award / Honor Recipient: Texas State Inclusive Excellence Showcase, Most Innovative Program, Texas State Universtiy. April 2023 - Present
  • Award / Honor Recipient: College Achievement Award, Texas State University. February 2023 - Present
  • Award / Honor Recipient: Faculty Development Leave, Faculty Senate, Texas State University. 2020 - May 2021
  • Award / Honor Recipient: Department Achievement Awards, School of Journalism and Mass Communication Texas State University. March 2021

Selected Grants

  • Scharlach, Jennifer M (Principal), Ngondo, Prisca Sibongile (Co-Principal), Higgins Joyce, Vanessa D (Co-Principal). Health Research Accelerator award, Translational Health Research Center, Texas State University, $6000. (Funded: June 2021 - May 2023). Grant.
  • Higgins Joyce, Vanessa D (Co-Principal), Téllez Mendivelso, Fernando Alonso (Principal). Cine Clubs in Community: Video as a Tool for Knowledge, Creation and Identity, US Department of State and Colsciencias, Federal, $35000. (Funded: October 2020 - December 2021). Grant.
  • Higgins Joyce, Vanessa D. Identifying News Elements that Aid Consensus in Polarized Brazil, Texas State University, $7992. (Submitted: October 2021, Funded: January 2022 - Present). Grant.
  • Scharlach, Jennifer (Co-Principal), Ngondo, Prisca Sibongile (Co-Principal), Higgins Joyce, Vanessa (Co-Principal). COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy Study, The Texas Association for Mexican American Chamber of Commerce, Private / Foundation / Corporate, $1000. (Funded: January 2022 - Present). Grant.
  • Harlow, Summer (Principal), Higgins Joyce, Vanessa D (Co-Principal), Calmon Alves, Rosental (Co-Principal), Schmitz Weiss, Amy. Transnational Collaboration Networks in Latin American Journalism: Exploring New Practices and Challenges in a Social Media Era, Houston University, Institutional (Higher Ed), $4500. (Submitted: November 10, 2019, Funded: January 2020 - Present). Grant.

Selected Service Activities

International Communication Division/ Aejmc
August 2017-August 2018
Graduate Scholarship
January 2024-Present
Outstanding Graduate
January 2024-Present
Vice Chair
International Communication Division Aejmc
October 2023-Present
Graduate Advisor
School of Journalism and Mass Communication Texas State University
June 1, 2023-Present