Director Waisbord's Note to the SMPA Community & More!
Director Waisbord's Note to the SMPA Community & More!


Dear SMPA Community, 
It is an honor to serve as SMPA Director and to have the opportunity to work with all of you. As I take on my new role, I wanted to tell you about myself and my vision for the School.
I am an immigrant who came to this country, like thousands of people do every year, attracted by the caliber and the opportunities of higher education in the United States. Born and raised in Argentina, I am the first person in my family to go to college. It was not obvious I was going to go to or finish college. I studied sociology at the Universidad de Buenos Aires during tough times for the country – a military dictatorship that committed human rights atrocities and launched a completely senseless war. At a time of state censorship and persecution, I found out I was deeply interested in free speech, free media, and critical consciousness (authoritarianism painfully reminds citizens about the importance of the core values of public life and not to take any human rights for granted). I finished college just as Argentina transitioned to democracy in 1983. Then, I worked as a teaching and research assistant, and on polling and market research (among other jobs). Along the way, I realized research, teaching, and writing were my passions, so I decided to apply to graduate school.
In 1987, I moved to the United States to start my Ph.D. in Sociology at the University of California, San Diego. My thesis was on the uses of “new media” in election campaigns in Latin America, which back then were slick negative ads, choreographed television events, and sophisticated polling (which were 1980s novelties like my love for synth-pop and trench coats). In grad school, I realized the incredible opportunities that U.S. universities offer to do what I love and decided to stay in this country.
My vision for SMPA is grounded in the reasons why I became a scholar/professor of communication and media studies.
I believe that journalism/media and political communication are uniquely positioned to help societies understand and shape the way we think and make decisions about key public matters – from education to the environment. Both fields offer unique insights into how societies define and confront social problems, as well as recognize and address social differences and inequalities. Both are fields of scholarly inquiry and practice that bring opportunities for dialogue and collaboration among researchers, journalists, media/digital strategists, advocacy experts, speechwriters, data analysts, filmmakers, and many others.
I believe our School should continue to provide superb training in a range of skills, including critical analysis, reporting, multi-platform storytelling, media production, research methodology, communication, and advocacy. We should continue to support students as they build work portfolios, gain experience through internships and jobs, develop professional networks, and make extraordinary achievements. 
I believe in critical learning – the combination of expression, listening, tolerance, empathy, open-mindedness, and dialogue.
I believe that universities need to lead the way in how societies deal with deep-seated, multifaceted problems of social exclusion, intolerance, and hate. We need to foster diversity and inclusion in everything we do.
These will remain central priorities during my tenure as SMPA Director.
I would also like to address the huge impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our university and our lives. The pandemic presents us with unprecedented challenges that we are beginning to understand as we work towards figuring out effective solutions. SMPA will work closely with the university and follow GW guidelines in the months ahead. Because COVID-19 has upended virtually everything, we need to be thoughtful, flexible, innovative, and smart to make key decisions, as the pandemic evolves in unpredictable ways. Not everyone has been similarly affected in terms of jobs, health, and family life. Pandemics expose and exacerbate longstanding social problems and inequalities. We need to be kind, compassionate, and generous to address the uneven impact of the pandemic on our communities.   
Lastly, I want to share some important thank-yous. Let me start with a big shout out to Frank Sesno for his 11-year leadership as Director. Through his vision, tireless work, and dedication, he has successfully led the School by strengthening our core areas of expertise and building new opportunities for students to learn and work. I hope to build off his remarkable legacy.
A thank-you to my colleagues on the faculty for their confidence and support. It is a privilege to work in a place with top-notch scholars and teachers, who deeply care about education, facts, storytelling, creativity, and reasoned argumentation.
I am grateful to the fabulous staff for their indefatigable work and support, especially in these unusual and hard times.
Finally, thanks to the students for making SMPA a truly enriching, exciting place to learn and work. Everything we do in the School is to ensure that students have an excellent college experience as they become expert communicators, talented creators, and critical and global citizens.  
I am committed to ensuring that SMPA remains a world-class, vibrant community for learning, research, and practice. I strongly believe in having open lines of communication, so everyone has opportunities to speak and to be heard. I welcome your ideas, questions, and suggestions. You can contact me at 

Silvio Waisbord
Director, School of Media and Public Affairs



Senator Kamala Harris is offering a select number of internship opportunities in her Washington, D.C., and California district offices (Sacramento, San Francisco, Fresno, Los Angeles, and San Diego) for qualified college students and recent college graduates. This program is designed to enrich your academic experience with direct participation in public service, specifically by supporting the offices' constituent services, administrative work, and research functions.
A full-service D.C. consultant group that works with campaigns and organizations to build and grow their impact in the progressive space has a number of advertising, social media, and operations positions open. Middle Seat has done work for the Women's March, ACLU, Beto for Senate, and many others. 

The FOX News Media Virtual College Associate Program is for motivated college students who are passionate about the news industry. College Associates are paid to gain real-world work experience with guidance from top news professionals. College Associates are assigned to a department that matches their skill set, work experience, and career aspirations. This internship is available nationwide as a remote internship opportunity.


The Business School holds an event series called George Talks Business and their next event will focus on the GW Back to Campus plan. The event will be streamed on Wednesday, July 15 from 12 – 12:45 p.m. It features leadership across several schools and the perspective of campus safety, security, and facilities. 
On ThursdayJuly 30 at noon the project is talking about the ideal and reality of digital campaign ethics. The panel will be a digital political entrepreneur and bestselling author Cheryl Contee, digital campaign veteran Bradley Engle, and Emerson College associate professor Vincent Raynauld.
On Thursday, August 6th at 6:30 p.m. the project is hosting the official launch of the newly edited book Political Communication Ethics - Theory and Practice. Former CNN Washington bureau chief and former director of the School of Media and Public Affairs Frank Sesno will interview Professor Peter Loge and SMPA rising junior Anthony Thomas.


SMPA students: we want to hear about all of the exciting projects that you are working on. From media hits and appearances to articles and essay publications, we want to know about it. If you are interested in being featured in the Rundown, please email for more information.

"When I decided to be a journalist, my goal was to be the voice for the unheard. Witnessing now more than ever the neglect of black women, I knew it was necessary to bring attention to their voices. Even as a black girl, I felt intimidated by speaking up for myself. But I understood that only a black woman can speak up for black women. We must advocate for ourselves. 

I've learned so much in these past two weeks at NYMM and continue to be empowered as a writer. My editor in chief, Sarah, encourages me to reflect the mission of the magazine in my work: to uplift women. I love having the space to write about issues facing the Black community, Black women, or just topics I'm passionate about. I feel like my voice really matters here." Kalyn Womack, SMPA Class of '21
"I'm a Political Communication major and a Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies minor at GW, originally from New York City. My writings often deal with Partition, my heritage as a Pakistani, and growing up in the city. They deal with the issues of loss - figuratively and literally - and the complex identity of the diaspora. My experiences within culture, language, and a post-colonial world have significantly shaped my sense of self and how I perceive my surroundings. Being a brown girl myself, I am more than aware of the patriarchy that exists within our community's structures (here and the homelands) - and while I've written about how the British Raj ingrained certain patriarchal values in South Asia, I thought it was important to highlight the traditions and cultures that still enable it. I wrote the essay for the hundreds of brown girls who were coming out with their sexual assault stories, specifically in NYC and while I didn't expect it to go viral as it did, I am infinitely grateful to have caused such a large conversation to happen within my community. The culprits were mainly brown boys and it turned into this frustrating social media court where people were passing judgments based on their own opinions. I wanted this essay to be specifically about brown boys and Gen-Z - everyone pays attention to the patriarchy that older men perpetuate but rarely do I see people my age really delve into the misogynistic precursors of a normalized rape culture which is why I used references that Gen Z would relate to. " Hiba Sohail, SMPA Class of '22

David Ensor was on Tred Lines to discuss the new leadership at the USAGM and the resulting concerns about the politicization of the VOA and other US-funded outlets.
Peter Loge was quoted in the Associated Press article Amid virus fight, campaign season brings ethical quandaries

The health and safety of the GW community is a top priority for the University. The School of Media and Public Affairs encourages all students, parents, faculty, and staff to please read and follow the updates coming out of the George Washington University. 
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