PhD, Indiana University-Bloomington

BA, Temple University


August 2009 – Present

Associate Professor
Saint Joseph’s University
Department of Communication Studies
Philadelphia, PA

Courses include:

• Crime, Justice and Media
• Digital Media Ethics
• Civic Media
• Twitterers and Tyrants: Social Movements in the Digital Age (seminar)
• Multimedia Journalism

Research/Creative Activity

Research and civic projects, an entrepreneurial urban journalism site I started in 2010.

The Redemption Project, a collaborative multimedia documentary.

Recent Academic Publications

Lyons, J. Michael, Rosado, Felix. “There’s Urgency Here”: A Pedagogy of Discomfort in a Prison Basement,” PUBLIC: The Journal of Imagining America, Vol. 5, No. 2, Spring 2019.

Lyons, J. Michael. “An Army Like That of Gideon: Transnational Reform on the Pages of Free Russia.”  American Journalism 32.1 (2015): 2-22

Lyons, J. Michael. “Diffusing Dissent: The Montgomery Story comic and civil disobedience.” Journalism History, summer, 2015

Refereed Presentations

“The Ethics of Bringing Stories Across the Walls,” at the Journalism and the Carceral State: The Challenges of Reporting on America’s Prisons” (virtual panel presentation) at the Association of Education in Journalism and Mass Communication annual conference, Aug. 7, 2021.

Susan Clampett-Lundquist, Aimée Knight, J. Michael Lyons. “The Second Chances Project: Integrating Advocacy and Pedagogy, presentation at the Commitment to Justice in Higher Education Conference (virtual), June 21, 2021, Georgetown University

Lyons, J. Michael, “Those of Us Behind the Walls”: Oral History, Narrative Capital and the Movement to End “The Other Death Penalty,” at the Oral History Association annual conference, Oct. 11-13, Montreal, Quebec.

Lyons, J. Michael, “A Persona Separate from His Crime”: Multimedia “Redemption Narratives” and the Voices of “Juvenile Lifers” in the United States,” at the 68th Annual International Communication Association conference, “Voices” , Prague, Czech Republic, 24 through 28 May, 2018.

Lyons, J. Michael, “When I Google my Brother, All I See is Him’: Multimedia Oral History Across Prison Walls,” at Dangerous Oral Histories: Annual Conference of the Oral History Society in Belfast, Northern Ireland, June 28-29, 2018.

Lyons, J. Michael, “Storytelling and Movement Building: Collaborative Mediamaking Across Prison Walls” at the  Our (Digital) Humanity: Storytelling, Media Organizing and Social Justice Conference April 20-22, 2018 as part of the “Documentary Storymaking Track.” This presentation is with our friends at Lifelines: Voices Against the Other Death Penalty.

Lyons, J. Michael. “Redemption Stories: Narrative capital and multimedia life narratives of juvenile lifers.” Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities Communication Conference, July 23, 2015. Boston, Mass.

Lyons, J. Michael. “The Juvenile Lifers Project: Life narratives as forms of resistance in Pennsylvania prisons.” Presentation at the International Association of Mass Communication Research Conference, July 14, 2015. Montreal, Canada.

Lyons, J. Michael. “Just Stories: The Classroom as a Civic Media Maker Space,” Paper presented at the Engagement Scholarship Consortium, October 8, 2014 Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

Lyons, J. Michael. “Civic Communication: Building a Curriculum from the Ground Up,” Paper presented at the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities Communication Conference, Fairfield University, July 18, 2014.

Lyons, J. Michael. “Lifer Stories: How Do We Get Oral Histories When No Technology is Allowed?” Presentation to the Oral Historians of the Mid-Atlantic Region conference, April 23, 2014, Philadelphia, PA.

Lyons, J. Michael, “Blog by Block: Participatory Urban Journalism in a Changing Media Landscape,” panel presentation at the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication conference, August 8, 2013.

Lyons, J. Michael , “The Diffusion of Dissent: The Montgomery Story comic and teaching civil disobedience,” research paper presented at the International Association of Mass Communication Research, Dublin, Ireland, June 27, 2013.

Lyons, J. Michael, “Wikifying War: Information Control and Networked Curation,” panel presentation, Networking Democracy? New Media Innovations in Participatory Politics Symposium, Cluj, Romania, June 25, 2010.

Lyons, J. Michael, “Conversations in Exile: Social Networks and the Role of Print in the Russian Freedom Movement,” research paper presented to the American Journalism Historians Association convention, October 11, 2007 (Richmond, Virginia).

Lyons J. Michael, A Crucible of Discontent: The Settlement House Writers and Literary Journalism on the Lower East Side, Research paper presented to the International  Association for Literary Journalism Studies, May 18, 2007 (Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris, Paris, France).

Lyons, J. Michael, A Debate on the Sovereignty of Truth: The libel battle between The Associated Press and The Masses, Research paper presented to the Joint Meeting of the American Association of Journalism History and the History Division of the Association  for Education and Journalism and Mass Communication, March 24, 2007 (New York).

Lyons, J. Michael, Cookman, Claude and Mandel, Sara, Just in Time Teaching in a History of Photography Course, Research paper presented to the International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, November 6, 2006 (Washington, D.C.).

Lyons, J. Michael, Muckraking the Czar: Reform Journalism Meets Foreign Affairs Reporting in Revolutionary Russia, Research paper presented to the American Association of Journalism Historians, October 13, 2006 (Wichita, Kansas).

Invited Presentations/Panels

“Technology, Civic Participation and Social Change: Exploring Civic Media Across Practice, Research and Pedagogy,” Panel seminar at the National Communication Association annual Conference, Philadelphia, November 9, 2016.

Lyons J. Michael, “Reflections on the Recent Attack in Paris: Are We Really All Charlie?” Panel discussion at Wolfington Teletorium, Saint Joseph’s University, Feb. 3, 2015.

Lyons, J. Michael. “Comments are Content: Getting the Most out of the Crowd,” Presentation at the ACP/CMA College Media Conference, Oct. 29, 2014.

Lyons, J. Michael. “Chase the Vision: Taking a Chance on a Journalism Startup,” panel presentation at the ACP/CMA College Media Conference, Oct. 29, 2014.

“Goodbye newspapers, hello ‘civic web,’” Panel presentation at the annual Bar Camp News Innovation conference, Temple University, April 26, 2014.

“Crowdsourcing Change,” presentation to digital media for social change group Philly NetSquared Symposium, Feb. 4, 2014.

“And Now This: Why the Media Doesn’t Help us Understand Gun Violence,” campuswide talk as part of SJU Reads Oct. 1, 2013, Saint Joseph’s University.

“Using Social Media to Strengthen and Connect Local Communities,” invited panel presentation at Philly Net Squared symposium, Philadelphia, Sept. 3, 2013.

“Urban Hyperlocals and Social Change,” presentation at the Block by Block Community News Summit sponsored by the University of Missouri’s Reynolds Journalism Institute, Chicago, September 13-15, 2012.

“Building Audience: Comments as Content,” presentation at Engaging Communities conference, Temple University, November 12, 2011.

“Small Media: Digital networks and the collapse of the Soviet Union,” panel presentation as part of “Reflections on the Fall of The USSR”, Saint Joseph’s University, November 10, 2011.

“Tyrants and Twitterers: The New Media Moment in Historical Perspective,” University of North Carolina, Wilmington, Nov. 14, 2009.

“The cultural politics of global media,” presented to C201, Hot Topics in Journalism (a course for about 350 undergraduates), Indiana University School of Journalism, Dec. 8, 2008.

Lyons, J. Michael, Fighting the Good (or Bad) Fight: Battles Over Freedom of Information and Freedom of Expression, Moderator/Discussant, American Journalism Historians Association, October 11, 2007 (Richmond, Virginia).

Lyons, J. Michael, A Node in a Network of Reform: Woman’s Journal Editor Alice Stone Blackwell, panel presentation to the American Journalism Historians Association convention, October 11, 2007 (Richmond, Virginia).

Media Work Experience


Dec. 2010 – Present

A community website that covers a growing and diverse section of Philadelphia. My partner and I started the site, which was named Philadelphia’s best community news site by Philadelphia Weekly, to help provide civic information in the neighborhood.

 Reporter, The Associated Press

June 2000 – July 2003

Covered the former Soviet republics Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania for the world’s largest newsgathering organization. I produced stories on topics ranging from Eastern European politics to World Cup soccer to the European Union.

Reporter, Agence France-Presse

June 1998 – June 2000

Lead correspondent in the Baltic region for the French news agency. I

covered a variety of issues, including international soccer and regional politics, and helped regional bureau editors in Warsaw, Poland manage a group of native-language stringers.

Editorial consultant, The Baltic Times – Riga, Latvia

June 1998 – January 2003

Consulted in all operational facets of the well-regarded English-language newspaper covering the Baltic region, Belarus and western Russia. I helped hire and train editorial and advertising staff and served on an interim basis as the paper’s managing editor.

Sports and Outdoor Editor, The Homer News – Homer, Alaska

September 1995 – June 1998

Wrote for and edited the award-winning sports and outdoors sections for the

Alaskan newspaper, regarded as one of the best in the state.

Senior Reporter, The British Virgin Islands Beacon – Road Town, Tortola, British West Indies.

November 1993 – September 1995

Lead reporter at the feisty Caribbean weekly and covered topics ranging from sailing and tourism to regional Caribbean politics.

Reporter, Williamsport Sun-Gazette – Williamsport, Pennsylvania

June 1992 – November 1993

Covered courts, cops and local politics for the seven-day Pennsylvania daily.


Freelance work (writing and photography) has appeared in The New York Times, MacLean’s Magazine, Caribbean Boating, Caribbean Conservation and Alaska Magazine.

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