Current committee, as of May 2021

Chair: Mary A. Bock (2021-23)

Mary A. Bock


Mary Angela Bock is a former journalist turned academic with an interest in the sociology of photographic practice, the rhetorical relationship between words and images, and digital media. Her previous career was spent primarily in local television news, first as a TV reporter for KCCI-TV in Des Moines, Iowa; then as an assignment editor and field producer in Philadelphia’s WPVI-TV. She has also worked short stints as a newspaper reporter, a radio journalist, and public relations writer.

Vice-Chair: Saumava Mitra (2021-23)


Saumava Mitra is an Assistant Professor at the School of Communications of Dublin City University. Mitra researches on various issues of media’s – particularly visual media’s – relationship with violent and social conflicts. He is interested in both the questions of how socio-economic and political inequities are inscribed into the photographic images of conflicts as well as the effects of these inequities on the lives and livelihoods of those who produce these images. His current research project involves exploring the gendered and geopolitical inequities inherent in photographs of – and acts surrounding photographing – places and peoples embroiled in various violent and social conflicts, based on the perspectives and practices of photojournalists and documentary photographers with ties to the Global South. Mitra’s previous research has focused on issues surrounding safety of journalists and news-workers, and the local-international interactions inherent in foreign news production in conflict-affected contexts. Mitra received his PhD at University of Western Ontario in Canada. His doctoral thesis focused on the working conditions of, and images of Afghanistan produced by, Afghan photojournalists who cater to international audiences. Prior to joining DCU, he worked in journalism, communications and in academia in South Asia, East Africa, North and Central Americas and Western Europe.

Secretary: Kyser Lough (2020-22)

Email: KyserL(at)

Kyser Lough is an assistant professor of journalism at the University of Georgia and a freelance photographer. His visual communication research investigates how news images are made, selected and interpreted, as well as the photographers themselves in how they define and operate within their field as they fight for legitimacy and job security. His solutions journalism work investigates how it is conceptualized/created, audience effects and the interplay of words and images. In 2019, he completed his PhD from the University of Texas at Austin’s School of Journalism with a dissertation focusing on the field of concert photography. He’s worked as a photographer since 2002, mainly in sports and music photojournalism.

Incoming Secretary: T.J. Thomson (2022-2024)

International Liaison: T.J. Thomson (2019-22)


Dr T.J. Thomson, SFHEA, is a senior lecturer in visual communication and media and a chief investigator at the QUT Digital Media Research Centre. He recently published “To See and Be Seen: The Environments, Interactions, and Identities Behind News Images” (winner of the NCA’s Diane S. Hope Book of the Year Award). T.J.’s research focuses on how visual journalism is produced—by whom, in what environments, through which processes, and with what results. He also examines visual self-representation on social media and everyday image making. His approach is based on a combination of ethnography (both physical and virtual), interviews, textual analysis, and digital media methods. He sits on the editorial board of the journal Visual Communication Quarterly and has, since 2017, also served as its associate editor. He is the 2019 Anne Dunn Scholar of the Year (jointly bestowed by the Journalism Education and Research Association of Australia and the Australia and New Zealand Communication Association) and is on the advisory board of the Society for Phenomenology and Media.

Incoming International Liaison: Anat Leshnick, University of Colorado, Boulder (2022-2024)

Student and Early Career Representative: Hannah E. Morris (2020-22)


Hanna E. Morris is a doctoral candidate at the Annenberg School for Communication with a research focus in environmental communication. Morris is an interdisciplinary scholar committed to deciphering the historical roots of contemporary climate discourse and images and determining how these representations shape responses to the threats of climate change. Morris is motivated by questions of power, representation, and environmental justice. 

Incoming Student and Early Career Representative (2022-2024): Natalia Mielczarek, Virginia Tech

For previous committee members, see the list of past officers of the Visual Communication Studies division

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