About & Vitae

Robert E. Gutsche, Jr.40 Robert Gutsche

Assistant Professor, Tenure-Track
College of Communication, Architecture + The Arts
Department of Journalism + Media 
Florida International University

Lead, Mobile Virtual Reality Lab, FIU

Affiliated Faculty, African and African Diaspora Studies, FIU

Affiliated Faculty, Sea Level Solutions Center, FIU

Affiliated Faculty, Latin American and Caribbean Center, FIU

Research Scholar (2015-2016), Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute, University of Missouri


[Download my CV]

[Download my bio]

[Download high-res image]



Ph.D., Mass Communication, University of Iowa, 2012

Dissertation: Mediated constructions and lived experiences of place: An analysis of neighborhood news and mental mapping (recipient of the Gene Burd Urban Journalism Research Prize, Annual Dissertation Award from the Urban Communication Foundation and the Journalism Studies Division of the International Communication Association, 2013)

Graduate Certificate in Rhetoric of Inquiry, University of Iowa, 2011

M.S., Student Personnel Administration, Concordia University Wisconsin, 2008

Thesis: Understanding newsmakers: Exploring themes of interest surrounding the development and experiences of college student journalists

B.A., Journalism and Mass Communication, University of Wisconsin, 2006

A.A.S., University of Wisconsin-Richland, 2001



A journalist since 1996, having written for The Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Newsday, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Wisconsin State Journal, and other regional and local publications, my scholarship surrounds the cultural and social meanings of news.

Specifically, my research and teaching explore how journalists assign and transmit notions of power and social control through news. Therefore, I am interested in:

– How journalists serve the interests of the power elite. In this vein, I push the concept that the journalistic interpretive community includes members of society outside of journalism in order to maintain cultural authority and legitimacy of the power elite — and of the press.

– How journalists demarcate geography. Here, I explore how news place-making characterizes geography in ways that embed dominant ideologies to enforce public banishment, social control, and police surveillance.

– How journalism furthers notions of whiteness and white supremacy. Using Whiteness Studies as a conceptual lens, I examine the application of news narratives, storytelling, and practices to reveal media as a social and cultural institution that benefits white ideologies.

– How journalists are educated, trained, and operate. This area addresses how journalistic norms are solidified, naturalized, and maintained. I currently contribute to this area by participating in the Scholastic Journalism Division of AEJMC and by serving on the International Editorial Advisory Board for Journalism and Mass Communication Educator.


Selected Sponsored Research, Programming & Transparency

Beginning in April 2014, I was part of a team of faculty members from FIU’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication honored to receive a $35,000 Challenge Fund for Innovation in Journalism Education. None of the team members received funds related to our salaries; money was spent on public education, technology, and journalistic collaborations with community and educational partners. Finances related to this grant are public record. My students’ journalism and community engagement has been covered by several media outlets, including NBC’s TODAY, the Weather Channel, and The Washington Post.

In May 2015, I secured $17,000 in cash and in-kind resources for the Student Environmental Advocacy (SEA) Corp summer program through The Celebration of the Sea Foundation. The program provides students an opportunity to engage in SCUBA diving and advanced multimedia eco-journalism. Of that, $2,666 for my involvement was provided by FIU’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication’s Knight Innovator in Residence fund.

In June 2015, I was named a Donald W. Reynolds Research Scholar at the University of Missouri with two other faculty members at FIU and Kent State University. We were also awarded $29,000 to fund research about how audiences interact with multimedia journalism on mobile devices. My portion of this funding totaled $12,000, which included $2,300 in reimbursable travel funds.

An internal $3,800 grant from FIU’s College of Communication, Architecture + the Arts in March 2016 provided seed funding for me and 10 other faculty members to seek larger, national grants to support research and programming related to sea level rise issues. In June 2016, I was part of a team of four FIU faculty members — led by Jennifer Fu in the university’s GIS Center — to receive $50,000 from the City of Coral Gables, Florida, to create an app that tells stories of the city’s immigrant communities. A portion of this grant funded

Also in 2016, I began leading a team of four faculty from the School of Communication + Journalism to receive $25,000 of internal funding for a Mobile Virtual Reality Lab to visualize issues of sea level rise in South Florida, and have since raised more than funds to support the lab that make the project valued at more than $50,000 in technology.

A $5,000 grant from the Fund for Investigative Journalism in 2017 provided faculty and students an opportunity to investigate issues of development in Miami at a time of sea level rise, of which I am paid $1,000 to supervise.

In summer 2017, I became co-PI on a $304,000 grant to build the Inter-disciplinary Educational E-immersive Production Studio at FIU, which is focused on VR, AR, digital music, and immersive gaming and viewing.

This collective work received a 2015 Innovative Outreach to Scholastic Journalism award from the Scholastic Journalism Division of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, an award from the Images and Voices of Hope (IVOH) in 2017, and an Honorable Mention for a Best Practices in Service Learning in Journalism and Mass Communication award from the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, also in 2017.

I was also named a Tow-Knight Disruptive Educator in summer 2017, which covered many of my expenses to the ONA17 conference.



I am employed as an Assistant Professor in the School of Communication + Journalism at Florida International University in Miami. My salary is covered, in large part, by those who support public education, namely tax-payers. I also receive travel funds through my school and department, which allow me to present research locally and abroad. I am thankful for this public commitment to higher education and attempt to return any knowledge gained through my research and experience to my local communities.

On request, I am happy to supply additional information on the software and equipment provided to me that assists in my teaching, service, and research. Any additional fundings from outside the university structure is reported on this website, my CV, university documents, and on any publications that may emerge from such support.

Lastly, donations since January 2015 to the Community Foundation of Johnson County (Iowa) related to royalties from A Transplanted Chicago have equaled roughly $490.00 (as of March 2016). Authors’ royalties from the co-written News, Neoliberalism, and Miami’s Fragmented Urban Space, will also be donated to the Miami Workers Center. A portion of author royalties from Visual Culture for a Global Audience will be donated to Free Press.

I am also a paying member of FIU’s faculty union and the ACLU.

I live in South Florida with my wife, Carolina, our son, Martín Franco, and two dogs, Sam and Stella.