William Youmans

William Youmans

Assistant Professor of Media and Public Affairs
MPA 444; Office Hours: T/Th, 11:30am-12:30pm and by appointment
Address: School of Media and Public Affairs
805 21st Street NW
Washington, DC, 20052
Phone: 202-994-6353
Fax: 202-994-5806

Areas of Expertise

Media law; global news; international broadcasting; social movements; Middle Eastern politics and society; Arab-American studies, media and terrorism


William Youmans is an Assistant Professor at the School of Media and Public Affairs.  Broadly interested in questions of transnationalism and news media in conflict, his primary research interests include global news media, journalism, media law, and social movements.  Other areas of interest include contemporary American public diplomacy, terrorism and international broadcasting.

Youmans wrote his dissertation on Al Jazeera English's audience-building efforts in the United States before and after the "Arab Spring." He is currently researching the development of Arab media law as well as the role of transnational media in US-Arab relations.

Youmans has presented at numerous conferences, including the annual gatherings of the Middle East Studies Association, the International Communication Association, the National Communication Association, the International Studies Association, and the American Sociological Association.

His 2012 paper won an award for the best paper in the International Communication division at the 2013 International Studies Association conference.

Follow him on Twitter @wyoumans.




Ph.D., Communications Studies, University of Michigan, 2012
J.D., University of California, Berkeley, 2003
B.A., Political Science, University of Michigan, 2000 


Book Chapters:

“Al Jazeera English after the Arab Spring: The Changing Politics of Distribution in the United States.” Al Jazeera English (2012) Seib, Philip (ed.) New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
“Domestic Foreign Policy: Arab Detroit as an Important Place in the War on Terror.” Abraham, Nabeel, Andrew Shryock and Sally Howell (eds.) Arab Detroit 9/11: The Terror Decade (2011) Detroit: Wayne State University Press.
Journal Articles:
Remote Negotiations: International Broadcasting as Bargaining in the Information Age.” Co-authored with Shawn Powers. International Journal of Intercultural Communication (2012), 2149-2172.

Intermedia Framing and Intercultural Communication: How Other Media Affect American Antipathy Toward Al Jazeera English.” Co-authored with Katie Brown.  Journal of Intercultural Communication Research (2012), 41(2), 173-191.

A New Purpose for International Broadcasting: Subsidizing Deliberative Technologies in Non-transitioning States.” Co-authored with Shawn Powers. Journal of Public Deliberation (2012), 8(1), Article 13.

Social Media and the Activist Toolkit: User Agreements, Corporate Interests, and the Information Infrastructure of Modern Social Movements.” Co-authored with Jillian York. Journal of Communication (2012), (62) 2, 315-329.

“The Debate over Al Jazeera, English in Burlington, VT.” Arab Media & Society (2011), Issue 13, Summer.

Can Al Jazeera English Leverage its 'Egypt Moment' into an American Audience?” Co-authored with Katie Brown. Arab Media & Society (2011), Issue 12, Spring.
The War on Ideas: Alhurra and US International Broadcasting Law in the ‘War on Terror.’” Westminster Papers in Communication and Culture (2009), Vol. 6, No. 1. pp. 45-68.
Humor Against Hegemony: Al-Hurra, Jokes, and the Limits of American Soft Power.Middle East Journal of Culture and Communication (2009), Vol. 2, No. 1. pp. 76-99.

Classes Taught

SMPA 2173, Media Law

SMPA 3469, International Communication

SMPA 6205, Media, Development and Globalization 


Faculty Soundbite

"We are becoming global citizens whether we accept that or not."

Assistant Professor William Youmans discusses the increasingly global nature of communication, which plays a pivotal role in his class, International Communication.

The Faculty Soundbites Series reveals the most captivating and rewarding aspects of SMPA professors' work in the field and in the classroom.

Selected Media Clips

How the Video of Saddam Hussein's Execution Went Viral Before You Owned a Smartphone, PolicyMic, December 30, 2013

Al Jazeera America Konkurrenz zu CNN (German). ARD, August 27, 2013

Al Jazeera's American Play. Council on Foreign Relations, August 19, 2013.