Joel Beeson

West Virginia University


Joel William Beeson is an associate professor at the WVU P.I. Reed School of Journalism. Beeson’s specialty areas are visual journalism, race and ethnic studies, history, multimedia, new media and documentary studies. He brings nearly 15 years of professional experience as a photojournalist, photo editor and designer to the classroom.

His photography has appeared in such publications as USA TODAY, Southern Living magazine, the Los Angeles Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, San Francisco Chronicle, Phoenix Gazette, The Times of London and the Dallas Morning News.

Beeson has M.A. and B.A. degrees from the University of Missouri-Columbia and pursued doctoral studies in communications at the University of California-San Diego. He is currently a doctoral candidate in ethnic and media studies at the Union Institute and University, researching how new media can be used by communities to document, preserve and promote their own stories and cultural history. Beeson produced and directed the award-winning documentary, “Fighting on Two Fronts: the Untold Stories of African American WWII Veterans.”

Current scholarly research involves using ethnographic and oral history methodologies for social documentary visual reporting and a study on mapping the cultural history of multimedia production as social practice. Beeson is also currently doing research on disparate treatment of African American WWII troops in Europe and court martial proceedings in cases of rape and “fraternization” with local women.

The Congressional Black Caucus has honored Beeson’s work with African American veterans, and he is the recipient of numerous national awards for diversity-conscious, community-based storytelling. Beeson currently serves as national chair of the Broadcast Educators Association Interactive Media and Emerging Technologies Division.

Beeson strives to equip students with the historical and cultural contexts, critical thinking and adaptive skills they need to practice innovative visual communication for new and emerging global media.

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