Dr. Lorraine Ahearn

Dr. Lorraine Ahearn

Assistant Professor
Department of Communication

Research Interests

  • Journalism history
  • Subaltern representation
  • Public memory


Lorraine Ahearn is an assistant professor, and holds a BA and MLA from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and a PhD from UNC-Chapel Hill, where she was a Park Fellow in the School of Media and Journalism with a focus on media history and self-representation by marginalized communities. She specializes in cultural studies and qualitative methods including oral history, in-depth interviewing, and ethnography. Ahearn has been a lead writer and researcher for the Center for Creative Leadership, Northwestern University-Qatar, Doha Film Institute, and the UNC Center for Media Innovation and Sustainability. She received UNC’s Graduate Research Impact Award for a digital humanities project with the UNC Digital Innovation Lab.

Before joining the academy, Ahearn was a longtime investigative reporter and metro columnist for the Greensboro News & Record and the Annapolis Capital, and a featured commentator for NPR. She is a recipient of the national Casey Medal for Distinguished Commentary; other professional honors include the Associated Press Mark Twain Award for Investigative Reporting and the Public Service Award from the Maryland-Delaware-DC Press Association. She previously taught at Elon University, Guilford College, and the University of North Carolina.


  • Ahearn, L. (2014) "When Hollywood Crossed the Color Line: Jim Crow Movie Censors and Black Audience Resistance in Greensboro, North Carolina, 1937-38," in Naeemah Clark, ed., African Americans in the History of Mass Communication (Peter Lang)
  • Ahearn, L. (2012) Back to the Forge: How the Roy H. Park Fellowship is Recasting a New Media Legacy (UNC School of Media and Journalism/ Triad Foundation)
  • Ahearn, L. (under revision) "Hostage-Taking at the Robesonian Newspaper: How a Native American Protest Placed Media Detachment Under Siege."
  • Ahearn, L. (under revision) "Public Memory and Constitutive Rhetoric in Lumbee Indian Newspapers."  
  • Ahearn, L., Friedman, B. (under revision) "Regret the Error: Memory and Apology in Birmingham News Coverage of Civil Rights.”


  • CA 545 Ethics and Social Responsibility in Communication
  • CA 502 Communication Theory
  • CA 445 Ethics and Social Responsibility in Communication
  • CA 387 Magazine and Feature Writing
  • CA 370 Intermediate Reporting-Writing
  • CA 288 History of the Mass Media
  • CA 281 Editing and Layout
  • CA 220 Writing for Communication Media