Thursday, August 11, 2022
Dr. Newly Paul is an assistant professor of print/digital media at the UNT Mayborn School of Journalism since Fall of 2018, as a tenure-track professor in the journalism department. Dr. Paul's previous five years of experience as a journalist in India and Los Angeles, later helped her transition into academia and research. Here, in Denton, she teaches various writing classes on news reporting and editing and conducts research on issues related to media coverage of race, gender, women in politics, and political reporting. Dr. Paul recently received the prestigious Lillian Lodge Kopenhaver Outstanding Early-Career Woman Scholar Award.
What is your favorite aspect of your job?
I enjoy interacting with students. It’s always refreshing to hear their take on the news and what’s going on in the world. I also enjoy working on research projects.
What led you to your particular field of study/expertise?
I used to be a journalist many years ago. I worked at various print and online publications in India and California and wrote on topics such as politics, entertainment, and local government. I used my reporting background to transition into research and academia.
You recently received the prestigious ‘Lillian Lodge Kopenhaver Outstanding Early-Career Woman Scholar Award,’ sponsored by the Kopenhaver Center for the Advancement of Women in Communication at Florida International University and the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication's Commission on the Status of Women. What can you tell us about this award and its significance?
This award is given to early career women academics who show an outstanding research record and a potential for future scholarship. According to the institute’s website, early-career faculty member is defined as a scholar who has a Ph.D., but does not have tenure, and is preferably on a tenure-track. This award is meant to honor and encourage scholarship done by the recipient, affirm that their work is important, and encourage them to carry on with their research agenda.
Congratulations on receiving this award and honor. How do you see it affecting and empowering your students’ direction and your own UNT career path?
For me, this award comes at a great time because my tenure file is currently under review. It means a lot to me to have an endorsement from one of the biggest mass communication organizations in the country. I hope the award will help me make a stronger case for the importance and impact of my research. The award will help me make a case for the importance of research to masters and Ph.D. students.
You have written a lot about the importance of journalism, and those works have been used as citations in other papers. Do you have any favorite or memorable experiences connected to the result of publishing it?
In 2020 when the pandemic hit, I came across a novel publishing opportunity. A Texas A&M professor circulated a call for writeups for an informal blog platform she had created on immigrants’ experiences in coping with the pandemic. I wrote a blog post on how I found comfort in cooking familiar foods at home at a time when the world seemed to be falling apart. I wrote about connecting with my immigrant roots by re-creating comfort foods from my childhood that my mother used to make. This brought me joy and helped me weather the most difficult days of the pandemic. The blog post was quite popular and got the highest number of views, and I was invited to edit the post and turn it into an academic writeup for a mass communication journal. My paper in the journal was published in 2021.
What do you see next as the most exciting areas regarding journalism and mass communication developing for the present and future?
A lot of new research areas are opening up in broad areas such as misinformation, news avoidance behaviors, and newsroom diversity.
What is your proudest work moment (other than winning the Lillian Lodge Kopenhaver Outstanding Early-Career Woman Scholar Award)?
Any time my research gets accepted into top journals is a proud moment for me. I also feel great when I’m able to come up with a good research idea and execute it well.
What is your proudest nonwork moment?
I enjoy learning new things. Any time I am able to get past my inhibitions and try something new, is a proud moment for me. I recently attended a workshop in San Diego where attendees were taught basic Japanese language. I was really proud when I was able to introduce myself in Japanese without stumbling.
Do you have any (professional or personal) recommendations that you would like to share?
I think it’s important to maintain a work-life balance and set realistic goals.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE...
Book:? I recently discovered author Brit Bennett, and she’s fabulous. I finished reading her novel “The vanishing half” in two days. It was riveting and was about twin sisters who were born of light-skinned black parents, but one of the sisters “passed” as white. The novel was about how race and identity can determine our prospects in life.
TV Show:? I just finished watching “Tokyo Vice” about a young American crime reporter making his way at a newspaper in Japan. It’s a very different show from the usual romances, true crimes, and suspense shows on TV, and especially interesting to me because of my background.
A place to visit:? I love places that have trees, flowers, and gardens. I recently visited the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park in San Diego. I loved the bonsai garden, the bamboo grove, koi ponds, pebbled streams, and the beautiful shaded walkways. It was a very peaceful place.
I noticed the ‘Japan’ titled book spine in your photo at the top. It appears that you have a strong interest in the culture:
My interest in Japanese culture started as a coincidence, but it has grown in the past couple years. In the fall of 2020, I was asked to co-lead the summer study abroad program to Japan from our department. I agreed, but it got canceled due to the pandemic. The same thing happened again for the summer of 2022. I am hoping that the program can finally go next summer. In the course of being named co-lead, I started to take an active interest in Japanese culture. I attended a two week on-campus workshop this summer at the University of San Diego where I got a crash course in all things related to Japan. From lectures on politics, business, and arts, to lessons on Taiko drumming, brush art, and flower arrangement, we got a taste of it all. That’s where I got my introductory Japanese language lesson. This workshop was one of the most fulfilling and fun professional development activities I have ever done.