Latest News


Associate Professor of Communication Dr. Janet Yang was interviewed on BBC New Hour on May 10, 2020 about risk communication regarding COVID-19.


Professor Janet Yang was recently featured on tbs eFM This Morning radio podcast out of Seoul, South Korea talking about the relationship between altruism and risk communication.

Dr. Yotam Ophir expresses his feelings of how several radio show hosts are feeling lax about the novel coronavirus. This is causing their listeners to think otherwise.

Dr. Helen Wang shares six essential media literacy tips in a recent interview with Buffalo Rising on how to navigate media in the age of COVID-19 pandemic.


In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Janet Yang sits down with Channel 4 News, Buffalo NPR, and UBNow to discuss the importance of spreading clear and simple risk communication.


In an article recently published for UBNow about how the nature of a message affects the audience's perception of the speaker, UB Professor Melanie Green, PhD, spoke about what may drive public doubt despite the conclusions of credible experts.

Tune in on Thursday, March 19th to join Communication's Dr. Janet Yang to discuss new and proposed research on COVID-19. 

In an article recently published for UBNow about communication related to COVID-19, UB Associate Professor Janet Yang, PhD, spoke about the mass confusion and misinformation that is permeating the general public.

Research by Dr. Mark Frank explores how wearing the color red can display a sense of advantage against an opponent.

In an article recently published about FLEXspace, a newly developed learning space, UB professor Lisa Stephens, phD, and her colleagues were interviewed about the purpose and future plans for this innovative tool that they helped to develop


Dr. Michael Stefanone was recently quoted in a Buffalo News article regarding the fatal stabbing that took place last week at the Mckinley Mall in Hamburg. The article surrounded a photo that was taken of the victim at the scene and quickly spread throughout social media networks. 


Dr. Thomas Feeley, Professor of Communication, in conjunction with Dr. Amanda Nickerson, has recently been awarded an IES grant from the National Center for Education Research. The grant will be used to conduct a study over the course of three years, in which high school students will be assessed on their attitudes, knowledge and behaviors towards bullying and harassment.  


After being awarded the Nila T. Gnamm Junior Faculty Research Award, Dr. Lance Rintamaki and his Master's students were able to fund their research involving patient and physician preferences towards the discussion of sexual health in Singapore. This research will help to better prepare clinicians for handling these subjects in the future.


Research by Dr. Melanie Green, associate professor for the Department of Communication was cited in a recent Business Insider  article "16 Habits of Extremely Boring People" by Shana Lebowitz and Allana Akhtar 

Haoran Chu, a doctoral candidate in UB’s Department of Communication, has been awarded the International Communication Association (ICA) Ethnicity and Race in Communication (ERIC) award.  Chu was awarded a monetary prize and a certificate for his paper titled “Together We Survive: Social Capital and Disaster Resilience among Minority Communities.” Chu will receive his award at the ERIC business meeting and will be attending the ICA conference in DC this year.
Dr. Melanie Green, a professor in the Department of Communication, was featured in the recent MarketWatch article “Mark Zuckerberg wants people to join Facebook groups, but critics say it’s another way to collect your most intimate data,” by Quentin Fottrell.

Dr. Melanie Green, associate professor for the department of communication, was recently quoted in a Wall Street Journal story titled “You’ve Told That Story 100 Times.  Please Stop.” This story, written by Elizabeth Bernstein, explains the concept of storytelling and how to be a better storyteller.

Dr. Mark Frank, chair of the department of communication, was interviewed for the Thrive Global article “If You’re Giving Critical Feedback, These Body Language Tips Will Help It Go Smoother,” written by Stephanie Fairyington.

Zena Toh, MA student and teaching assistant for the Department of Communication, was awarded the Nila T. Gnamm Junior Faculty Research Fund for her master’s thesis project.


Hurricane threats, rising sea levels and wildfires are causing local leaders to assess the hazards and vulnerabilities of their communities. Dr. Janet Yang, associate professor of communication, conducted a series of experiments highlighting the impact of climate change in the U.S. and other countries.


Research by Dr. Janet Yang, recently published in Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, shows how fear and anger related to divisive topics such as the 2016 presidential election and climate change had unique effects on how those with liberal and conservative ideologies processed the information they received on those topics. 


A recent article by Consumer Affairs on the effects of social media on depression symptoms in older adults interviews Dr. Michael Stefanone.


A research team led by associate professor Dr. Helen Wang presented four studies on the controversial Netflix series 13 Reasons Why at the CDC National Conference on Health Communication, Marketing, and Media.


An alumnus of the Communication department, Georges Khalil (PhD, 2015), has received the prestigious K99 award from the National Institutes of Health.


Receiving emails used to excite people because it was the only way to communicate online.  However, with text messages being the primary source of interpersonal communication, emails are becoming more formal and less common. 


In an April 11th article published by UBNow, Associate Professor of Communication, Melanie Green comments on how polarizing issues and morals are often behind the disagreements between the two political parties. 


Stefanone weighs in on fake identities on Facebook in recent Newsweek article.


An article by Lecturer Joanne Slutsky was recently published in the Journal for Excellence in Business Education.


Associate Professor of Communication Melanie Green, and Chair of Psychiatry in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences Steven Dubovsky, give their thoughts on whether social media could be the reason for the recent increase of depression in the U.S.. 


Research by Professor Mark Frank featured in UB Now. 


Associate Professor of Communication Lance Rintamaki was recently featured in the Winter 2018 Edition of College Matters.


On May 24th-28th, 2018, the 68th annual International Communication Association conference will be held in Prague, Czech Republic. Though the acceptance rate was relatively low overall (less than 1/3 of papers were accepted this year), UB COM had a strong showing with 11 papers accepted.


An article published January 18, 2018 in the Smithsonian exploring the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to detect illness interviews Professor Mark G. Frank. 


A November 10, 2017 article in The Atlantic about artificial intelligence and the potential to use facial scans to infer personality traits and behaviors interviews Mark Frank, Professor of Communication.


A November 13th The Takeaway segment on NPR featured a debate with Assistant Professor Matthew Grizzard. 


Dr. Kelly Tenzek's research on death and dying in Disney and Pixar films was featured in UBNow on October 20, 2017.


Associate Professor Janet Yang has been awarded a presitigious National Science Foundation grant.


On May 25, 2017, the Department of Communication co-sponsored a preconference at the International Communication Association’s annual meeting in San Diego, along with BBC Media Action, The Asian Institute of Technology, and USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism. 


Recently published research by Assistant Professor Matthew Grizzard suggests that they way in which characters are framed has a lot to do with whether we like them or not, regardless of their morality. 


New York State Senator Timothy Kennedy, 63rd District, spent the afternoon with Dr. Stefanone’s COM450 Political Communication class discussing local and state issues. 


Associate Professor Dr. Lance Rintamaki teaches one of the most popular courses on campus - COM 492: Sexual Communication. The class, which fills each semester within minutes of being posted, aims to change the narrative on how we talk about sex. 


Aisha O'Mally, a doctoral student in the Department of Communication, understands first hand the life-changing impact of organ donation - she recieved a heart transplant in 2004, and is using health communication to change lives.


COM faculty partnered with Career Services and the Center for Education Innovation to develop the "Telling My Story" workshops, aimed at helping students use digital media savvy to land jobs after graduation. 


On Thursday, February 23rd, students in Dr. Michael Stefanone's COM 450 - Political Communication, got to interact with seasoned pros in the field.


Dr. Lance Rintamaki battled for his metaphorical life in the sixth annual Life Raft Debate.


Dr. Michael Stefanone offers his expert opinion on President Trump's executive order temporarily barring refugees from seven countries. 


Dr. Melanie Green's research was featured as one of the twelve research projects that caught the world's attention in 2016. 


Chua Siang Lee, now a reporter for the Straits Times, received the S-League (the Singapore football league) Story of the Year Award.


On October 27, 2016, Dr. Andrew Sachs conducted a workshop on public speaking for the New York State School Board Association. 


On October 20, 2016, three Department of Communication faculty members were honored at the 13th annual Celebration of Faculty and Staff Excellence.


A September 22 University at Buffalo news release highlights the recent work of Associate Professor Dr. Hua (Helen) Wang on the transmedia entertainment program, "East Los High."


The Department of Communication's Academic Advisor, Azita Safaie, has been featured in the UB Reporter for her lively and colorful office space.


Associate Professor Helen Wang was invited to speak at the Convening of “Investments in Entertainment-Education as a way to catalyze and sustain social and behavior change” in New York, co-hosted by the Rockefeller Foundation, the Population Foundation of India, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Ford Foundation, UNFPA, and UNICEF.


Results of a new study by Dr. Janet Yang and colleagues could change the conversation on both sides of the aisle about climate change, and hopefully encourage support for pro-enviromental policy. 


Dr. Melanie Green and her co-authors have developed an entirely new construct, called mind-reading motivation, with implications for relationships and advertising. 


In an opinion piece featured on the front page of, Associate Professor Dr. Arun Vishwanath argues that amid the heated debate about a physical wall that occupies a great deal of the 2016 Presidential primary election, what is lost is the wall the United States really needs: a cyberwall to securely identify users in the same way they are identified in the real world.


Erin Peterson of AtBuffalo magazine asked eight UB faculty members to think big for her latest piece, asking them, "If they had unlimited time, money and persuasion techniques, what audacious idea from their fields would they want to implement today?"  One of those who stepped up the intellectual challenge was Dr. Arun Vishwanath, Associate Professor in the Communication department.


Erin Peterson of AtBuffalo magazine asked eight UB faculty members to think big for her latest piece, asking them, "If they had unlimited time, money and persuasion techniques, what audacious idea from their fields would they want to implement today?" One of those who stepped up the intellectual challenge was Dr. Arun Vishwanath, Associate Professor in the Communication department.


In yet another piece for, internet security expert Dr. Arun Vishwanath takes on the security of apps. Apps present a myriad of security risks, says Vishwanath, from collecting information without the knowledge of the user, poor programming that leaves the user's information open to hackers, and screen optimization that often visually eliminates crucial data such as the sender of an email, or the SSL padlock symbol - or lack thereof. The responsibility for remedying these weaknesses, Vishwanath argues, lies with the owners of the mobile platforms, the custodians of app stores such as Google, Apple, Amazon and Microsoft.


In Dr. Arun Vishwanath's latest opinion piece for, he tackles the issue of "ransomware," software that encrypts files on a computer until a ransome is paid. Current attacks on hospitals, law firms, small businesses and individuals have already led to significant ransoms paid to attackers, and could easily escalate to attacks on computer-based technology including vehicles, demanding immediate ransoms for safety. As a result, 2016 has been dubbed the Year of Online Extortion. 


Clinical Assistant Professor Dr. Kelly Tenzek recently teamed with Abigail Unger, Director of Expressive Therapies at Hospice Buffalo, to provide a unique service learning experience for her End of Life Communication class.


Dr. Melanie Green's research on the persuasive power of narrative is featured in New York Time's Best Selling Auhtor Maria Konnikova's newest book, "The Confidence Game." 


Dr. Helen Wang and her research team have had a proposal accepted for Stage One of the highly competitive Innovation Next Awards. Innovation Next is a program of the National Campaign to Prevent Teen & Unplanned Pregnancy, and aims to apply unique technology solutions to affect the behavior of teens so that pregnancy is avoided.


In his latest opinion piece for, Dr. Arun Vishwanath argues that beyond the current controversy over whether or not Apple should unlock iPhones involved in terrorist activities lies a much more insidious problem: if a user downloads an app infected with malware, Apple (but also Google and Android) offers no protection to hacked users. Vishwanath discusses the likelihood of security breaches as situationally aware technology becomes more and more popular, and offers potential solutions to make interacting on our devices more secure. 


Dr. Andrew Sachs was recently featured in UB's independent student publication, the UB Spectrum. In the interview, Sachs reflects on the experiences that have made him such a popular lecturer in the department, including a non-traditional educational path, work in stage acting, and growing up Jewish in Alabama during the Civil Rights era. 


Dr. Arun Vishwanath was asked by CNN to contribute to the discussion on hacking and "spear-phishing" - targeted attacks in which a hacker hides a malware payload in the attachment of an email, which when clicked opens a back door into computer networks that are then used to hijack system controllers or extract data. These attacks have started to have concrete impacts on real world infrastructure. 


Dr. Arun Vishwanath was recently honored by the UB Men's Basketball team with the distinction of Coach of the Game for his distinguished service, excellent teaching and contributions to the university community.


Dr. Janet Yang was recently awarded a Rapid Research Grant by the National Science Foundation to study risk communication as it relates to altruistic behavior by examining responses to the recent outbreak of Ebola. Her research addressed why some people react altruistically to news about an Ebola outbreak while others do not. The results of her work have now been published by the Society for Risk Analysis and featured on Science Daily


Dr. Helen Wang's work on a popular Hulu web series, "East Los High," was featured on National Public Radio's Code Switch. The teen drama aims to not only entertain, but also educate, and Dr. Wang's work has been instrumental in determining whether or not the series and its companion website are an effective tool in helping to educate viewers on important topics like teen sexual health.


UB's recently released "The List", a progress report highlighting the best research and accomplishements from The University at Buffalo academic community in the 2014-2015 year, features the Communication department's own Associate Professor Dr. Arun Vishwanath, Associate Professor Dr. Janet Yang and Assistant Professor Dr. Helen Wang.


When UB's GroW Home Team needed help with a crowdfunding campaign to fund their work on their ultra-efficient, solar-powered architectural masterpiece for the Department of Energy's Solar Decathalon, they turned to Dr. Lance Rintamaki, Associate Professor of Communication. Dr. Rintamaki, in turn, looked to the students in the COM department to determine how to get the message out, and the funding in.


A recent USA today article cites Associate Professor Arun Vishwanath, who once again provides expert commentary on the data breach phenomenon. In the article, Vishwanath advocates for a senate bill that would allow data on hacks to be disseminated to the public much more quickly, allowing time for businesses and government entities to protect themselves and their information. 


In an article published in the UB Reporter, associate professor Arun Vishwanath discusses the latest breach of cybersecurity which compromised the data of federal employees. He asserts that this latest data breach is merely the tip of the iceberg, and that the weakness in the system is the users, not the technology, making the problem nearly impossible to fix. He suggests better internet safety training for individuals, but notes that bigger attacks may very well be on the way. 


Associate Professor Arun Vishwanath was published on CNN's website for the second time in six months, in a followup to his article "Where's the Outrage Over the Sony Hack?" (December 17, 2014). This latest article examines the factors contributing to the relative ease users offer hackers in phishing for information, and solutions to increase cybersecurity. 


Assistant Professor Matthew Grizzard and his research team were featured on the Science Channel's Emmy-nominated series Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman, in the April 29 episode that investigated whether human beings are naturally prejudiced. The episode, titled "Are We All Bigots?," highlights Grizzard's work with violence in video game play. Grizzard and his team contend that ulta-violent video game play can be used to fight bigotry. 

In a CNN article, Associate Professor of Communication Arun Vishwanath question why the increasing rate of cyber attacks, hacks, and leaks hasn't lead to a greater amount of public outrage. The internet, he argues, is a virtual extension of our neighborhoods, and yet when there are neighborhood intruders, the public is largely silent. This is in part because of the way news sources choose to report on hacking events and the lack of direct cost to consumers. It is also because the public is in large part responsible for the attacks because of the way in which the internet is accessed, and the dearth of reporting on hacking attempts and successes. Vishwanath suggests the development of a national reporting gateway for cyberthreats, similar to the 911 system, as one way to protect cyberinfrastructures. 
Charitable fundraising once depended primarily upon a charity’s size, efficiency and longstanding reputation. That was before Razoo, Kickstarter, Facebook and Twitter came to town. In the first academic study to look at what determines charitable giving on social-media sites, Gregory Saxton, associate professor in the Department of Communication, and co-author Lili Wang from Arizona State, found that those media have created a more level playing field in the nonprofit world, one in which successful use of technology can make up for limited organizational size. Technology and social media, it turns out, can not only raise the online profile of even small organizations, but increase their support bases and their ability to generate donations online and off. That is among the findings of their recent article, “The Social Network Effect: Determinants of Giving Through Social Media."
New evidence suggests heinous behavior played out in a virtual environment can lead to players’ increased sensitivity toward the moral codes they violated. That is the surprising finding of a study led by Matthew Grizzard, assistant professor in the Department of Communication, and co-authored by researchers at Michigan State University and the University of Texas, Austin.
Armed with a one-year, $56,265 grant from the Population Media Center,  Hua (Helen) Wang, UB assistant professor of communication,  is about to dive into Hulu’s popular teen Latino webnovela “East Los High.”
Because information about climate change is ubiquitous in the media, researchers Janet Yang from the University at Buffalo and Lee Ann Kahlor from UT - Austin looked at why many Americans know so little about its causes and why many are not interested in finding out more. Their study found that people with negative feelings toward climate change seek out more information. The researchers say the study results present several ways to improve the communication of risk information related to climate change.
Listen to a podcast of Dr. Janet Yang discussing her article, co-authored with LeeAnn Kahlor, "What, Me Worry? The Role of Affect in Information Seeking and Avoidance" from the April 2013 issue of Science Communication.
A new study in the Journal of Communication links verbal aggression to prenatal testosterone exposure. The lead researcher, Allison Shaw, at University at Buffalo -- used the 2D:4D measure to predict verbal aggression. This study is the first to use this method to examine prenatal testosterone exposure as a determinant of a communication trait.
A new study by Thomas Feeley, Ashley Anker, and Ariel Aloe has found that, while the well known 'door-in-the-face' strategy has a significant effect on verbal compliance, its effect on behavioral compliance is statistically insignificant. In other words, it may get people to agree to a donation, for instance, but it is not effective in getting them to follow through with their verbal commitment.
In their project, "Healthy Moms, Healthy Babies: Developing Information Communication Strategies for Reducing Infant and Maternal Mortality Rates in Buffalo," UB's Dr. Helen Wang and Ophelia Morey will conduct research with Buffalo Prenatal-Perinatal Network Inc. (BPPN) aimed at encouraging safer pregnancies.
Research by Dr. Mark Frank explores whether machines can read the visual cues that give away human deceit.
According to research by Dr. Janet Yang, we might expect that when offered an effective—and often free—flu vaccine, college students would get one. But the vast majority do not, and it poses a serious threat to their own health and that of those around them.
The Internet is considered primarily a "visual" medium, as opposed to an aural one, and is thought by many to pose little barrier to non-hearing users. So hearing persons may be surprised to learn how difficult and dangerous the Internet can be for culturally Deaf persons seeking medical or health information.
Mark Frank has spent two decades studying the faces of people lying when in high-stakes situations and has good news for security experts.
Two UB professors were among the authors of a study that explores who tends to be more susceptible to email phishing.
In a study published in the journal Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking, UB researcher Michael A. Stefanone, PhD, and colleagues found that females who base their self worth on their appearance tend to share more photos online and maintain larger networks on online social networking sites.