Ilia Rodríguez

Department Chair

Associate Professor
Director of Masters Program

Photo: Ilia Rodríguez


Room 204

Ph.D., University of Minnesota, 1999


Dr. Rodríguez´s undergraduate teaching assignments in C&J include news writing and reporting for the print media, introduction to mass communication, international media systems, and multiculturalism, gender and media. In the graduate program, she has taught the courses Foundations of Communication Research and Qualitative Research Methods. Professor Rodríguez obtained a Ph.D. in journalism and mass communication from the University of Minnesota, where she specialized in history of journalism, with a focus on ethnic minorities and media, and in international communication with emphasis on Latin America. She has an M.A. in Latin American studies from the University of California and a B.A. in public communication from the University of Puerto Rico, with journalism coursework completed at the State University of New York.   As a doctoral student, she was selected as a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur scholar at the MacArthur Center for Peace and International Cooperation and received a dissertation fellowship to investigate the cultural role of the Puerto Rican press during the island´s period of industrialization (1948-1963). With a professional background in print journalism, she has worked for newspapers and Latino publications in Puerto Rico, California, Louisiana and Minnesota.


I study journalism as a practice that constructs public knowledge and mediates social relations in today's multicultural society. Drawing on my fields of expertise--history of journalism, U.S. ethnic minorities and media, and international communication with emphasis on Latin America--my work advances a critique of the role of mainstream and minority news media in shaping public understandings of multiculturalism, inter-ethnic relations, and national identities. Questions related to how media create, reproduce, or challenge particular discourses on race, ethnic, gender, class, postcolonial, and other positions of difference are of primary concern in my research. Further, I try to advance an approach that complements the study of representation of particular social groups in mainstream media by focusing attention on: 1) broader discourses or frameworks of understanding that cut across groups--i.e. liberal multiculturalism as a dominant discourse in media, racial hierarchization, conflict frames; 2) the relevance of ethnic and minority media as public fora in which to explore culturally grounded understandings; and 3) media discourses on Latino/African-American relations.

Sample Publications

  • Rodríguez, I. (2009). "'Diversity writing' and the Liberal Discourse on Multiculturalism in U.S. Mainstream Newspapers." Howard Journal of Communications 20 (2), 167-188.

  • Santiago-Díaz, E. & Rodríguez, I. (2009). "Desde las fronteras de dos casas letradas: Habla Piri Thomas." Revista Iberoamericana 75 (229), 1199-1122.

  • Rodríguez, I. (July 2008). "El valor de la investigación histórica para la teorización sobre la prensa 'étnica' en los Estados Unidos: El caso del periodismo en español de Nueva Orleans." Razón y Palabra. Primera Revista Electrónica en América Latina Especializada en Comunicación." [on-line serial] 63. Available at:

  • Rodríguez, I. (2007). "Telling stories of Latino population growth in the United States: Narratives of inter-ethnic conflict in mainstream, Hispanic and African-American newspapers." Journalism: Theory, Practice and Criticism 8 (5), 568-585.

  • Rodríguez, I. (2006). "The Spanish-language and bilingual press of New Orleans in the crosscurrents of journalistic trends in the 19th and early 20th centuries." Louisiana Communication Journal 8 , 42-57.

  • Villanueva, M., Calderon-Steck, F., Rodríguez I. & Tripp, L. (2005).   Latina Immigrants in Minnesota Communities: A Comparative Survey on Demographics, Needs, Barriers, and Assets. Working Paper #64, published by the Julian Samora Research Institute at Michigan State University.

  • Rodríguez, I. (2004). "Is everyone buying the American dream? Diversity as a news value and the pitfalls of liberal multiculturalism." Proceedings of the II Regional Conference of the Latin American Federation of Schools of Social Communication (University of Miami, Coral Gables). Lima: UNESCO, FELAFACS. (In CD-ROM format)

  • Rodríguez, I. (2003). "Mapping the Global Order in News Discourse: The Meanings of Globalization in News Magazines in the Early 1990s." In Representing Resistance: Media, Civil Disobedience and the Anti-Globalization Movement. Ed. Andrew Opel, Greenwood Press.
  • Rodríguez, I. (2002). "Global Discourse and Local Readings of Development: The Mediated Publicness of Operation Bootstrap in Puerto Rico." Gazette: International Journal for Communication Studies, Vol. 64.1: 74-101.
  • Rodríguez, I. (1998). "News Reporting and Colonial Discourse: The Representation of Puerto Ricans in the U.S. Press during the Spanish-American War." Howard Journal of Communications, 9.4, 283-302.


Some of my recent professional, university and community service activities reflect my concern with journalism education and interest in minority education and community empowerment. I have served as officer of the Minorities and Communication Division of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication since 2003. I am also a reviewer of manuscripts for Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly and have served in that capacity for Mass Media and Society and Critical Studies in Media Communication. For the past five years, I've contributed as a reviewer of conference papers for the Minorities and Communication and Newspaper divisions of AEJMC. At the University of New Mexico, I have served on the Executive Board of the Women Studies Program and participated as a member of the Latin American Faculty Council, KUNM-FM radio board, and the Southwest Hispanic Research Institute. My activities as a mentor for UNM graduate students of color and collaborations with Albuquerque High School programs have enriched my experience at UNM.


From critical perspectives, I have employed the methods of discourse analysis, frame analysis and rhetorical criticism to elucidate media narratives and their ideological underpinnings. I have also conducted focus group interviews and survey research using quantitative methods.

Teaching Style

I use multiple teaching methods to encourage students to relate to class material in creative ways, make connections across disciplinary boundaries, question received knowledge, and offer problem-solving ideas. I like to design class activities that give students the opportunity to apply principles and concepts learned in class, and reflect on the ethical and political dilemmas posed by current technological and economic trends in mass media. At the graduate level, I devote my efforts to: 1) teach students how to formulate and complete a research project, 2) use diverse teaching methods to expose them to a variety of qualitative methods and the theoretical paradigms that inform them, and 3) provide support to advance their academic careers through individual consultation regarding thesis and dissertation projects, conference presentations or fellowship applications.