I am an associate professor of journalism in the Department of Communication and Media Studies at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. Previously, I worked at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, plus have taught courses at Rīga Stradiņš University and Turība University in Latvia.
My academic preparation includes a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale (1977); a master’s degree in American studies from the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities (1982); and a graduate certificate in digital public humanities through George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia (2018). I also have done work toward a doctorate in mass communications at the University of Minnesota.
Professional experience includes a dozen years working as a journalist for newspapers in Illinois and Minnesota, as well as some freelance magazine writing.
Research interests include the history of the immigrant press in North America, the nature of the community press in the United States, and diasporic media. I am vice chairman of the consultative board for the Centre for Diaspora and Migration Research at the University of Latvia.
My first exposure to digital media came in the mid-1990s, shortly after one of the first browsers was released (anyone remember Mosaic?). After teaching myself how to code HTML, I became involved in a succession of websites devoted to the Latvian diaspora, culminating in Latvians Online, for which I served as editor from 2000-2012.
In recent years, my interests also are combining journalistic training, media history research, and digital platforms to tell stories to the public. The first project in which I became involved was Latviešu pēdas pasaulē (Latvian Footprints), a digital exhibit created by Latvieši pasaulē, a museum and research center based in Rīga, Latvia.
I continue work on the digital project Latvian Baptists in America, 1890-1940, which aims to tell the story of a little studied aspect of immigration history. The Latvian Baptists were responsible for a number of pre-World War II publications and, I argue, played an important role in the maintenance of ethnic identity.
This website focuses primarily on my research, but also explores a number of passions, including books, music, and listening to far-away radio signals, also known as DXing.