Robert E. Gutsche, Jr.2015-09-23T12:30:13+00:00

Robert E. Gutsche, Jr.

Robert E. Gutsche Jr., Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in the School of Communication and Journalism at Florida International University. His is also an affiliated faculty member with Florida International University’s African and African Diaspora Studies Program and was named a Research Scholar at the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute at the University of Missouri in June 2015 for a team-based research project related to understanding audience interaction with long-form journalism on mobile devices. He has been a journalist since 1996, with his work appearing in The Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Newsday, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Wisconsin State Journal, and other regional and local publications. In 2009, Gutsche worked as an interns director and multimedia reporter while he helped launch the online, nonprofit Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism ( He co-founded the Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism ( that same year.

Gutsche’s scholarship surrounds the cultural and social meanings of news, particularly the ways in which news media demarcate space and characterize place as ideological tools for imposing social control – particularly related to race. His work focuses on how journalists operate as an interpretive community alongside other social and cultural institutions. Gutsche has presented more than 30 research papers at domestic and international conferences and has published (or has accepted for publication) research in Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, Journalism: Theory, Practice, and Criticism, Journalism Practice, Journalism Studies, Visual Communication Quarterly, Visual Communication, Journal of Urban Affairs and refereed chapters in the peer-reviewed books Journalism Education, Training, and Employment (Routledge, 2011) and in The Iconic Obama, 2007-2009: Essays on Media Representations of the Candidate and New President (McFarland, 2012). Additionally, Gutsche reviews articles for several journals and sits on the International Editorial Advisory Board Member for Journalism and Mass Communication Educator and on the Editorial Board of Journalism Practice. He is an active participate in both the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) and the International Communication Association (ICA). Gutsche is also an affiliated faculty member with Florida International University’s African and African Diaspora Studies Program.

Gutsche’s first book, A transplanted Chicago: Race, place and the press in Iowa City (McFarland, 2014) explores the migration of black residents from inner-city Chicago to an Iowa City, Iowa neighborhood, a form of diaspora that has been met in recent years with increased stigmatization in news and public discourses. By applying sociological understandings and cultural theory, this project explicates how the institution of white supremacy operated within news coverage and public policy to subjugate these new arrivals in a historically white community. In particular, this book implicates news media as dominant place-makers through a methodology of mental mapping. Gutsche’s dissertation research that contributed to the book received the Gene Burd Urban Journalism Research Prize in 2013, which is awarded by the Journalism Studies Division of the International Communication Association and the Urban Communication Foundation.

A second book, Media control: News as an institution of power and social control (Bloomsbury, 2015) is a rearticulation of previous media studies research and empirical inquiry, this project argues that the journalistic community aligns itself so closely with the power elite that journalists operate as police agents, conduct surveillance for both governments and business, and, through the news, promote white ideologies – all under the mandates and guise of the Fourth Estate.

Gutsche’s co-authored book, Fragmented Miami: News, neoliberalism and contested urban space (Lexington, forthcoming), uncovers and interrogates how news media – in an era of globalization and the rapid acceleration of free market ideologies – are both harnessed by and are complicit in the capture and re-appropriation of spatial consciousness. At the center of this critique of neoliberalism’s role in the transformation of Miami’s neighborhoods and the city’s mediatized geographies is an emphasis on the role of news media as a means for promoting a very specific, and yet often veiled, political and economic agenda. The book will be released in 2016.

An edited reader, Visual culture for a global audience (Cognella, 2016), collects and analyzes some of the most important and thought-provoking works on visual communication and culture. Complete with an original introduction, section heads, and conclusion, this book provides insights on visual studies for students examining practice and theory. By addressing new technologies and dominant processes of meaning-making related to visual signs and symbols of the everyday, Gutsche uses this textbook to approach image-making and image-reading from a critical/cultural studies approach.

In April 2014, Gutsche was part of a team of faculty at Florida International University’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication to receive a $35,000 grant from the Challenge Fund for Innovation in Journalism Education to perform “crowd-hydrology” in Miami-Dade County as a means to measure the impact of sea level rise. Local partners for the project include WPBT2 public television, the national “Changing Seas” initiative, the FIU Geographic Information System Department, the South Florida Water Management District, the Climate Leadership Engagement Opportunities (CLEO) Institute, Code for Miami, Hacks/Hackers, and MAST @ FIU. The challenge was funded by the Excellence and Ethics in Journalism Foundation, the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, the John S. and James. L. Knight Foundation, and the Democracy Fund. received the Innovative Outreach to Scholastic Journalism award from the Scholastic Journalism Division of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication.

In May 2015, with the MAST@FIU Biscayne Bay Campus high school principal, Gutsche secured $17,000 in cash and in-kind resources for the Student Environmental Advocacy (SEA) Corp summer program through The Celebration of the Sea Foundation. The program provides students an opportunity to engage in SCUBA diving and advanced multimedia eco-journalism. In June 2015, Gutsche, as a Research Scholar at Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute at the University of Missouri in June 2015 for a team-based research project related to understanding audience interaction with long-form journalism on mobile devices, he and his partners at FIU and Kent State University received $29,000 in research funding. In June 2016, Gutsche was part of a team of four FIU faculty members to receive $50,000 from the City of Coral Gables, Florida, to create an app that tells stories of the city’s immigrant communities. In July 2016, he led a team of four faculty from the School of Communication + Journalism to receive $19,000 of internal funding for a Mobile Virtual Reality Lab to visualize issues of sea level rise in South Florida.

Gutsche graduated with an Associate’s Degree in Arts and Sciences from the University of Wisconsin-Richland in 2001, followed by a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2006. He holds a Master of Science degree in Student Personnel Administration from Concordia University Wisconsin. His thesis was based on the educational development of college student journalists. Gutsche received a Ph.D. in Mass Communications from the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Iowa in 2012. Originally from New England and the Midwest, he now lives in Miami.

Media expertise:

Representation: race and gender in traditional and new media; African Americans in news; whiteness; feminist approach

News media: reporting practices; ethics; sociology; culture; technology; crime news

News meaning: myth and folklore; place-making; covering urban/rural news