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Dr. Rita Colistra

rita colistra

Ph.D. (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
Associate Professor

Dr. Rita Colistra returned to her home state and alma mater in fall 2008. She earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from theWVU Reed College of Media, where she graduated with honors in her graduate studies.

In 2004, Colistra was awarded a Roy H. Park Fellowship at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication and completed her doctoral studies in 2008. During her time at Carolina, her research in media management and economics earned her two top-three paper awards, as well as the Minnie S. and Eli A. Rubinstein Research Award. Colistra was also inducted into Alpha Epsilon Lambda, a national honor society for graduate/professional students.

Before pursuing her graduate studies, Colistra worked as the events and sports marketing coordinator for a major casino in southwest Colorado, where she planned and staged events ranging from car giveaways to live professional boxing. She also has experience in nonprofit public relations and strategic communications consulting.

Colistra’s research focuses on extramedia and organizational influences on media content, particularly economic pressures, and she has a strong interest in media theory. Her dissertation, “Reporter Perceptions of External and Influences on Media Content: A Structural Equation Model of the Agenda- and Frame-Building and Agenda-Cutting Processes in the Television Industry,” involved a national survey of reporters and encompassed her research specialty areas, while attempting to develop and expand a new theoretical approach for media and business research. She has presented and published her research both nationally and internationally and has been a keynote speaker at an international conference.

Colistra is a 1998 inductee of the honors and service organization Gamma Beta Phi and is a member of Kappa Tau Alpha, the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) and the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC). Colistra is the faculty advisor for PRSSA. She teaches beginning and advanced public relations courses.