About me

BlakeHeadShotSqI’ve been hooked on data analysis since I began using spreadsheets to analyze campaign contributions and voting patterns while I was a newspaper reporter covering local government during the early 1990s. I left reporting to earn a doctorate in mass communication at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. While there, I studied statistics and gained hands-on experience in public opinion polling. A Middle Tennessee State University School of Journalism faculty member since 1996, I am co-founder and director of the MTSU Poll, a recurring, scientifically valid statewide telephone poll of Tennessee adults.

I also direct the MTSU College of Mass Communication’s Office of Communication Research, maintain free, online video courses in data journalism and Excel-based statistical analysis, and am the founder and editor of The Data Reporter, a demonstration site for various data journalism techniques.

I teach undergraduate courses in writing and reporting as well as a graduate course in empirical media theory. My undergraduate teaching includes a fully online version of the School of Journalism’s introductory media writing course, for which I developed a digital approach to critiquing students’ writing. My most recent scholarly work investigates links between political partisanship, attention to partisan news media, and knowledge and beliefs regarding politically contested information. You can read more, if you like, in my academic vitae.

My wife, Amy, and I live in Murfreesboro and have two sons.