Ilia Rodríguez

Department Chair

Associate Professor
Director of Masters Program

Photo: Ilia Rodríguez


Room 204

Ph.D., University of Minnesota, 1999


Dr. Rodríguez Nazario’s research centers the study of journalism as a discursive practice that constructs public knowledge and mediates social relations in today's multicultural society. Her fields of expertise are history of journalism, U.S. minoritized communities and media, and international communication with emphasis on Latin America. Her research advances a critique of the role of mainstream and community news media produced by Latinx and African Americans in shaping public understandings of multiculturalism, coloniality, race, nationality, and other social categories.

She teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in journalism, media studies, media theory, and qualitative research methods. She was the recipient of the 2021-2022 Outstanding Teacher of the Year Award at the University of New Mexico.

Professor Rodríguez Nazario obtained a Ph.D. in journalism and mass communication from the University of Minnesota School of Journalism, where she specialized in history of journalism, with a focus on ethnic minorities and media, and 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. She was a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Scholar at the University of Minnesota.

With a professional background in journalism, she has worked for news organizations and Latinx publications in Puerto Rico, California, Louisiana, and Minnesota.


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 her research. Further, she advances research 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. coloniality, 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 Latinx/African-American relations. From critical perspectives, Dr. Rodríguez Nazario employs the methods of discourse analysis, frame analysis and rhetorical criticism to elucidate media narratives and practices, and their ideological underpinnings.


Dr. Rodríguez Nazario teaches the graduate courses Foundations of Communication Research, Qualitative Research Methods I, Qualitative Research Methods II, Media & Society, and Media Theories.  At the undergraduate level, she teaches History of Media, Media Theory and Research, Multiculturalism, Gender & Media, International Perspectives in Communication, Media Criticism, and Media Writing and Reporting.

She applies 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. Her class activities are designed to 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, she strives 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.

Dr. Rodríguez Nazario has received multiple awards for her undergraduate and graduate teaching, including: the UNM Outstanding Teacher of the Year Award (2021-22); the Outstanding Faculty Award presented by The Project for New Mexico Graduates of Color (PNMGC, 2010, 2009); and C&J Comm Grads’ awards like Student Advocate Award (2015, 2013), Professor of the Year Award (2014); Faculty Mentor of the Year Award (2013), Best Teacher and Most Encouraging Teacher awards (2010, 2009, 2008).


Dr. Rodríguez Nazario’s professional, university and community service activities reflect her concern with journalism and media education, racial equity and social justice. She has been active in leadership positions in the Minorities and Communication Division of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication since 2003. She is also an elected member of the Research Committee of the Broadcasting Education Association. She has served as a reviewer for Howard Journal of Communications, Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly, Mass Media and Society, and Critical Studies in Media Communication, among others. At the University of New Mexico, she has served as Affiliate Faculty for the Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies Program, the Latin American & Iberian Institute, and the Southwest Hispanic Research Institute. She has contributed to campus organizations like the KUNM-FM Radio Board, the UNM Student Publications Board, the Student Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, Generation Justice Youth Media, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, and Albuquerque Public Schools initiatives like the Spanish-language Spelling Bee competition for bilingual students.

Sample Publications

  • Gustavus, S., & Rodríguez, I. (2021). Challenges, considerations and recommendations for improving representativeness in online news ranking and recommendation systems for local news. Technical Paper for NewsQ, an initiative of the Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism, CUNY.


  • Rodríguez, I. (2021).  Incorporating a critique of coloniality in diversity and media courses. In Daniels, G., & R. Blom (Ed's.), Struggles, strategies, and scholarship for teaching race. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.


  • Rael, R., Rodríguez, I., Maltrud, K., Cholka, C.B., & Luna-Peña, G. (2016).  From a space of love: Looking back at the impact of leadership and liberation building. Research report based on community engaged, evaluation research of impact of NM’s Generation Justice Youth Media Project in the program’s first 10 years.


  • Rodríguez, I. (2015).  The construction of Black Diasporic identities in news discourse on immigration in the U.S. Black press.  In Berry, V., A. dayo, & A. Fleming-Rife (Ed's.), Black culture and experience: Contemporary issues (pp. 235-255). New York: Peter Lang.


  • Santiago-Díaz, E., & Rodríguez, I. (2012).  Race writing against literary whiteness: The Afro-Puerto Rican outcry of Piri Thomas. Bilingual Review 31 (1), 13-26.


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


  • 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]


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • Rodríguez, I. (2003). "Mapping the Global Order in News Discourse: The Meanings of Globalization in News Magazines in the Early 1990's." 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.