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PIC LAB


Public Interest Communication Research Laboratory

The Public Interest Communication Research Lab (PIC Lab) unites strategic public interest communication scholars within the Reed College of Media, across West Virginia University, and beyond. Creating a hub for theoretically driven and practically relevant empirical social scientific research, the PIC Lab fosters collaboration, internal and external research funding opportunities, recruitment and retention of top research talent, and recognition of scholarly achievements. Reach out to us via email or follow us on Twitter.

Meet the team

Hongmin Ahn
Hongmin Ahn
Jasper Fessmann
Jasper Fessmann
Julia Fraustino
Julia Fraustino
Jennifer Harker
Jennifer Harker
Sammy Lee
Sammy Lee
Geah Pressgrove
Geah Pressgrove


About Us 

The Public Interest Communication Research Laboratory (PIC Lab) housed in the Media Innovation Center in the Reed College of Media at West Virginia University is a facility dedicated to conducting empirical research on strategic mass communication for positive, sustained social change. 

Lab members undertake quantitative and qualitative social science studies with prosocial outcomes. Research in this lab investigates multiple types of media and mass communication in relation to various psychological, cognitive, affective, and behavioral outcomes with implications for serving public interest.  Our studies explore a multitude of variables in organizational, corporate, nonprofit, government, community, and grassroots communication contexts. 

In addition to providing a space for conducting controlled experiments, surveys, focus groups, and in-depth interviews in the Media Innovation Center, the PIC Research Lab is a resource facility for scholars in many related areas. We collaborate, share results and ideas, test and build theory, identify and seek grant opportunities, and more. Ultimately, our leaders and affiliates work together to conduct research that is methodologically rigorous, theory based, and practically relevant. 

Our lab houses researchers with expertise in many areas such as risk, crisis, emergency, and disaster communication; public relations and public affairs; public communication ethics; nonprofit communication; media effects; mass communication theory; health communication; emerging technology and social, digital, and mobile media; and advertising. We work to train leading undergraduate and graduate students to continue the legacy of pursuing social science for social change.