Communication honours student studies online conspiracy theories, disinformation
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By Jaymee Salisi
When Kayli Jamieson began her studies at SFU, she had no idea she’d be graduating with an honours degree in communication. She originally thought she’d focus on criminology, but after taking The Political Economy of Communication with Dr. Enda Brophy, she discovered her passion.
Graduating in June 2021 with an honours degree in communication with a minor in business, and certificate in criminology, Jamieson is currently working as a research assistant with Ahmed Al-Rawi. Her research focuses on conspiracy theories and disinformation, news analysis, and East Asia studies.
Jamieson says one reason she chose to study at SFU was because she found the university’s communication program more developed and collaborative than other institutions.
She adds that student involvement in university initiatives is a beneficial way of networking within the community.
“It’s this sort of research engine, where faculty and staff are able to collaborate with each other when they see each other's works in different disciplines.”
As an avid reader, Jamieson attributes her interest in disinformation and news analysis to the books and articles she reads about history and current events. She says the topics in her media studies course readings also piqued her interest and got her to think more critically.
“I kept thinking, this would be a good paper topic, and this would be great to research further into.”
Jamieson describes her experience during her communication degree as extremely positive. “The professors were so kind, I didn't meet a single bad professor in the program. They were all genuinely caring about student interests and goals.”
This fall, Jamieson will begin her master’s in communication, with Al-Rawi as her supervisor.
“I'm currently looking at misinformation on Twitter, specifically in relation to gender. So, for example, you'll see some conspiracy theorists, or what [Dr. Ahmed Al-Rawi] calls ‘COVID hoaxers’ discussing conspiracy theories in relation to the pandemic,” says Jamieson.
Jamieson aims to focus on East Asia studies and plans to conduct a framing analysis of the anti-Chinese Communist Party (CCP) rhetoric in American and Canadian news. She says this focus of the CCP is not often explored.
Passionate about academia and research, Jamieson hopes to one day pursue her PhD and potentially become a postdoctoral researcher.
As Jamieson completes her BA in Communication, she encourages fellow graduates to be flexible and open to new experiences: “You change as a person; you're continually growing.”