Merrill Welcomes New Professor Sarah Oates

Merrill Welcomes New Professor Sarah Oates


COLLEGE PARK – The Philip Merrill College of Journalism is pleased to announce the addition of Prof. Sarah Oates to the faculty.

Oates, a former journalist, joined the Merrill College as a professor and senior scholar in August after 17 years of teaching and research in the United Kingdom and Russia.

A specialist in the role of media in democratization, Oates has published extensively on the Internet and political activism, elections, journalism, political parties, and the role of terrorist threats on voting behavior in the United States, Russia, and Great Britain. She has a doctorate and a master’s degree in political science from Emory University and a bachelor’s degree from Yale University, where she was Editor-in-Chief of the Yale Daily News.

“Dr. Sarah Oates brings an important international portfolio to the Philip Merrill College of Journalism,” said Dean Lucy A. Dalglish. “Her expertise in the role of media in democracy will enrich our curriculum and help us better prepare journalists to cover the news. We’re very pleased to welcome her to the faculty.”

Oates has led several grant projects to study media and politics in Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. She has appeared frequently on the BBC as a political analyst and consulted with a range of government bodies on media and democratization. She founded and chaired the Google Forum UK, which brings together social scientists to reflect on the role of search in society. She currently serves as an expert for the European Commission’s Digital Futures project.

Working extensively in the former Soviet Union, Oates learned how critical journalists are in creating and preserving democracy. In fact, her research highlights how the lack of a state and society that support journalism in the name of citizens can destroy democracy.

“I’ve spent a lot of time researching how journalism ought to be fostered in a range of societies. At Merrill, I’ll be able to contribute to the creation of the next generation of journalists and I’m really excited about that,” Oates said.

The challenges for journalists in places such as Russia are different, but there is no question that journalism is at an important crossroads in the United States, Oates said.

In particular, she is interested in continuing her cross-national research into how the Internet can provide new opportunities – from data mining to developing innovative ways for journalists to create more informed citizens – for journalism in the digital age.

“At Merrill, there are great opportunities for scholars, journalists, and students to work together to find new ways for journalism to grow and prosper,” Oates said. “This is the place where the future of journalism can be created.”

Oates will teach undergraduate and graduate courses at Merrill. For more information about her research and expertise, please visit her faculty bio page.

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