Jeannine Elisa Relly

About Jeannine Elisa Relly

Dr. Relly serves as Director of Global Initiatives for the School's Center for Border and Global Journalism. She holds a courtesy appointment with the School of Government and Public Policy.

Her research focuses on global influences on news media systems, government information policy, press-state relations, and democratic institutions, including freedom of expression and access to public information in countries that often are in conflict or in political or economic transition. Three of her most recent projects have focused on collective action and the influence of global networks or social movements on freedom of expression and access to public information. She also has a line of research focused on formal and informal institutions related to democratic governance, including issues related to public corruption, whistleblower protection and disinformation.

Research with collaborators has been conducted in Afghanistan, India, Iraq, Mexico, the U.S., the West Bank and Gaza. She also has worked with collaborators on information rights and freedom of expression projects in Sri Lanka and Tunisia. Her work includes more than a half dozen cross-national studies and a dozen single-nation projects focused on factors influencing democratic governance, such as information-access rights and various forms of  insecurity. Dr. Relly was a recent Fulbright-Nehru research scholar in India (2016-2017). She currently serves on the Fulbright Specialist roster (2015-2020) and is a research fellow with Columbia University's Tow Center for Digital Journalism. She also was a recent fellow (2018-2019) of the Institute for Diverse Leadership and has served as head of the International Communication Division of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication. 

Before joining the faculty, Dr. Relly worked for more than a dozen years as a journalist reporting in a number of states, the Caribbean and the Mexico-U.S. borderlands. She teaches courses focused on theory and practice; media and terrorism; reporting; data gathering, data analysis and research methods. 

Research work is available at        


  • B.S. Virginia Tech;
  • M.A. The University of Arizona;
  • Ph.D. Arizona State University

Courses Taught at the UA

  • J 205 Reporting the News
  • J 402/502 Media and Terrorism
  • J 405/505 Study of the News
  • J 508 Journalism Theory and Practice
  • J 489/589 Survey of Research Methods

See course descriptions

Affiliated Faculty

  • Center for Middle Eastern Studies 
  • Center for Latin American Studies
  • Center for Digital Society & Data Studies
  • Center for Border & Global Journalism
  • Graduate Human Rights Practice Program

Refereed Research

Book (under contract)

  • González de Bustamante, C. & Relly, J.E. Red light, green light: To report and survive in Mexico in times of violence. The University of Texas Press.


  • Relly, J.E.,& González de Bustamante, C. (2017) Global and domestic networks advancing prospects for institutional and social change: The collective action response to violence against journalists. Journalism & Communication Monographs, 19(2), 84-152.   

Journal Articles and Book Chapters

  • Chordiya, R., Sabharwal, M., Relly, J.E., & Berman, E. (2019). Organizational protection for whistleblowers: A cross-national study. Public Management Review. doi: 10.1080/14719037.2019.1599058 
  • Relly, J.E. & Hutchens, M.J. (2019). The influence of ‘dark networks’ on citizens’ confidence in democratic institutions in Mexico. The Social Science Journal, 56(4), 555-564
  • Relly, J.E., & Pakanati, R. (2018). Freedom of information lessons from India: Collaboration, coproduction and rights-based agenda building. Journalism: Theory, Practice and Criticism.
  • Schwalbe, C.B., Relly, J.E., Cruikshank, S.A., & Schwalbe, E. (2018). Human security as a conceptual framework: The case of Palestinian journalists. Journalism Studies.
  • Relly, J.E. & Zanger, M. (2017). The enigma of news media development with multi-pronged “capture”: The Afghanistan case. Journalism: Theory, Practice and Criticism, 18(10), 1233-1255.  Lead article.
  • Relly, J.E. & Schwalbe, C.B. (2016). How business lobby networks shaped the U.S. Freedom of Information Act: An examination of 60 years of Congressional testimony. Government Information Quarterly, 33(3), 404-416.
  • González de Bustamante, C., & Relly, J.E. (2016). Professionalism under the threat of violence: Journalism, self-reflexivity, and the potential for collective professional autonomy. Journalism Studies, 17(6), 684-702.
  • González de Bustamante, C. and Relly, J.E. (2016). The practice and study of journalism in zones of violence in Latin America: Mexico, a case study. Journal of Applied Journalism and Media Studies, 5(1), 55-73
  • Relly, J.E., Zanger, M., & Fahmy, S.  (2015).  News media landscape in a fragile state: Professional ethics perceptions in a post-Ba'athist Iraq. Mass Communication and Society, 18(4), 471-497.
  • Relly, J.E., Zanger, M., & Fahmy, S. (2015). Democratic norms and forces of gatekeeping: A study of influences on Iraqi journalists’ attitudes toward government information access. Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, 92(2), 346-373.
  • Relly, J.E., Zanger, M., & Fahmy, S.  (2015). Professional role perceptions among Iraqi Kurdish journalists from a 'state within a state.' Journalism: Theory, Practice and Criticism, 16(8), 1085-1106.
  • González de Bustamante, C., & Relly, J.E. (2014).  Journalism in times of violence: Social media use by U.S. and Mexican journalists working in northern Mexico. Digital Journalism.
  • Relly, J.E., and González de Bustamante, C. (2014). Silencing Mexico: A study of influences on journalists in the northern states. The International Journal of Press/Politics, 19(1), 108-131.
  • Relly, J.E, & Schwalbe, C. B. (2013). Watchdog journalism: India's three largest English-language newspapers and the Right to Information Act. Asian Journal of Communication, 23(3), 284-301.
  • Relly, J.E. (2012). News media constraints and freedom of information legislation in developing countries. International Communication Research Journal,  47(1-2), 2-25.
  • Relly, J.E. (2012). Freedom of information laws and global diffusion: Testing Rogers's model. Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly,  89(3), 431-457.
  • Relly, J.E. (2012). Examining a model of vertical accountability: A cross-national study of the influence of information access on the control of corruption. Government Information Quarterly,  29(3), 335-345.
  • Relly, J.E. (2011). Institutions of information access and constraint: The cases of China and India. In Y.C. Chen & P.Y. Chu (eds.), E-Governance and Cross-boundary collaboration: Innovations and advancing tools (pp. 247-269). Hershey, PA: IGI Global.
  • Relly, J.E. (2011). Corruption, secrecy and access-to-information legislation in Africa: A cross-national study of political institutions. In S.L.Maret (ed.), Research in Social Problems and Public Policy (pp. 325-352). Bingley, United Kingdom: Emerald Group Publishing.
  •  Relly, J.E., & Cuillier, D. (2010). A comparison of political, cultural, and economic indicators of access to information in Arab and non-Arab states. Government Information Quarterly, 27(4), 360-370.
  • Relly J.E. (2010). A study of E-government and political indicators in developing nations with and without access-to-information laws. In C.G Reddick (ed.), Comparative E-Government: An Examination of E-Government Across Countries (pp. 525-542). New York: Springer.
  • Fahmy, S., Relly, J.E., & Wanta, W. (2010). President's power to frame stem cell views limited. Newspaper Research Journal, 31(3), 62-74.
  • Relly, J.E., & Sabharwal, M. (2009). Perceptions of transparency of government policymaking. Government Information Quarterly, 26(1), 148-158.

Invited Academic Work 

  • Relly, J E. and González de Bustamante, C. (2018). Global violence against journalists: The power of impunity and emerging initiatives to evoke social change. In H. Tumber and S. Waisbord (eds.), Routledge Companion to Media & Human Rights.
  • González de Bustamante, C. and Relly, J.E. (2016). Use of social media along the northern Mexico border in violent times. In B. Franklin & S.A. Elridge (eds.), Routledge Companion to Digital Journalism Studies. Oxford, United Kingdom: Routledge.
  • Relly, J E. and González de Bustamante, C. (2016). Periodistas en peligro: un studio de influencias sobre periodistas en el norte de Mexico. In C.del Palacio Montiel (ed.), Medios de comunicación, poder y violencia en las regiones de México. Veracruz, Mexico: Universidad Veracruzana. (Spanish translation of 2014 article in International Journal of Press/Politics).
  • Relly, J.E., and Sabharwal, M. (2015). Perceptions of transparency of government policymaking: A cross-national study. In B.G. Peters and J. Pierre (eds.), Public Administration. Sage. Reprinted from article in Government Information Quarterly.

Past Academic Positions

  • Assistant Professor, The University of Arizona, 2009-2015
  • Assistant Professor of Practice, The University of Arizona, 2004 - 2009
  • Diversity and Inclusion Coordinator, School of Journalism, The University of Arizona, 2004-2009, 2014-2015
  • Honors Program Coordinator, School of Journalism, The University of Arizona, 2006-2011
  • Assistant Director and Research Assistant, statewide public opinion poll - KAET/Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, Arizona State University (2004-2006)
  • Adjunct Lecturer, University of Arizona, 2003-2004, 1998
  • Adjunct Lecturer, Pima Community College, 1997 - 1998

Past Professional Positions

  • Faculty liaison/staff member, The New York Times Student Journalism Institute, Tucson, 2008 and 2010
  • Reporter, Arizona Daily Star, Tucson, 2000 - 2003
  • Reporter, The Associated Press, U.S. and British Virgin Islands, 1999-2000
  • Freelance reporter and / or photographer for publications including Discover magazine, Hispanic Link News Service, La Onda, Quill, Roanoke Times & World-News, Tucson Weekly, Tucson Monthly magazine, and Virginia magazine,1990-2003

Professional Organizations

  • Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication
  • International Communication Association
  • American Political Science Association
  • Investigative Reporters and Editors
  • Society of Professional Journalists

Selected Awards & Honors

•Received a Research Fellowship with Columbia University's Tow Center for Digital Journalism (2019-2020).

• Received Fellowship with the Institute for Diverse Leadership in Journalism and Mass Communication (2018-2019) through AEJMC and ASJMC.

• Received a Fulbright-Nehru Scholar Program grant to conduct research in India (2016-2017).

• Served as Head of the International Communication Division of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (2015-2016), Vice Head (2014-2015), Research Chair (2013-2014), Teaching Standards Chair (2012-2013), and Professional Freedom and Responsibility Chair (2010-2011).

• Received a competive grant to participate in the Palestinian American Research Center (PARC) Media Development Seminar in Jerusalem and the West Bank. (July 2016)

• Invited to serve as an Expert Reviewer of the Draft Taxonomy of JSTOR’s “Democracy Workbench Tool,” designed to facilitate the study of democracy, Social Science Research Council. (October 2015)

• Recommended for the Fulbright Specialist roster by the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and the Institute of International Education's Council for International Exchange of Scholars. The roster matches scholars by their expertise with incoming project requests from academic institutions abroad. (2015-2020)

• Selected as a faculty fellow, Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy, The University of Arizona. (Fall 2013)

• Received a courtesy appointment with the School of Government and Public Policy (2011-present) and is an affiliated faculty member of the Center for Latin American Studies at the University of Arizona (2006-present) and the Center for Middle Eastern Studies. (2014-present)

• Received the University of Arizona outstanding female faculty member of the year award through the Mortar Board National College Senior Honor Society. (2007)

• Received the Hugh and Jan Harelson Award for Excellence in Teaching. (2004, 2005, 2006)

Research Summary

Research focuses on global influences on news media systems, government information policy, press-state relations, democratic institutions, freedom of expression and access to information in countries often in conflict or political transition, and formal and informal institutions related to the policy issue of public corruption.

Jeannine Elisa Relly's picture

Contact Information

Jeannine Elisa Relly
Associate Professor, Director of Global Initiatives, Center for Border & Global Journalism
Telephone: 520-626-8680
Fax: 520-621-7557
Office: Marshall Room 326