More About Me

Nikki McClaran

Assistant Professor @ ASU

I am where I am today because of Criminal Minds.

Well, let me explain that a little bit more.

The year is 2012. I am currently a student at the University of Central Missouri majoring in English but knowing quite distinctly that I do not want to major in English. But, like many undergraduate students, it’s much easier to know what you don’t want to do rather than what you do. At a loss for my next steps, I turned on Criminal Minds. In the show, there is a character who acts as the media liaison. Until that point, I had never heard of a “media liaison” or any job related to the media other than being a journalist. That sent me down a rabbit hole where I eventually learned JJ (the media liaison) earned dual-major degrees in public relations and sociology. Inspired (and possibly desperate to find purpose), I enrolled in those same programs that weekend.

It wasn’t until years later that I recognized the significance of that moment: I dictated my future from a fictional TV show. How could I make such a monumental life decision purely based on media depictions? And more importantly, what other life decisions do people make from media?

This latter question has guided much of my work, from looking at how news media influence political choices during my master’s program at Florida State University, to now, looking at how health and risk information can be best communicated through mass media messages, such as in (full-circle moment) entertainment.

Some other non-work-related facts about me:

  • I’ve been a life-long, avid reader. My favorite author is Joan Didion, but I read a range of books. Find me on Goodreads!
  • I’m a slight hobbyist, aka I’m that person who loves picking up and trying a bunch of different things. My current hobbies include Wing Chun, fencing, and Tai Chi.
  • I’m awful at learning languages to the horror of my mother (who is fluent in four). But, I am also stubborn, so I’m currently trying to learn ASL (level 2, currently) and French (level 1).
  • I have two dogs, Sherlock and Marla, who are the two halves of my heart.
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