Profile photojlyons@sju.edu

I am an assistant professor (and a founding faculty member) in the Department of Communication and Digital Media at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia. I teach courses in digital media theory and practice, ethics and civic and community media.

My teaching and writing investigate and analyze the intersections of civic engagement and digital media. I am interested in community-based digital storytelling, particularly in urban settings.

I am currently working on a multimedia documentary project that tells the stories of four juvenile lifers, people who are serving life without parole for crimes they were convicted of when they were under 18. Pennsylvania currently has more juvenile lifers – about 500 – than any state in the country. There are currently some than 2,500 juvenile lifers in the United States. In every other country in the world combined there are 0.

The collaborative project combines methods and ideas from oral history, public sphere and counterpublics research to create a site aimed at disrupting traditional narratives of incarceration.

My BA is from Temple University and my graduate degrees are from Indiana University.

I was a reporter and editor for The Associated Press and Agence France-Presse and newspapers in the former Soviet Union, the British West Indies, Alaska and Williamsport, Pennsylvania.

I live in the West Philadelphia neighborhood of Spruce Hill. My wife Julija and I founded the website West Philly Local, which covers our neighborhood and others in West Philly.

Presenting on the Juvenile Lifers Project during the 2014 Oral Historians of the Mid-Atlantic Region conference.
Presenting on the The Redemption Project during the 2014 Oral Historians of the Mid-Atlantic Region conference.

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