Who is Julie Smith?

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College Professor



Social Media Apologist

Media Literacy Evangelist

The “official” Julie Smith description:  Julie has been teaching media literacy and media-related classes at the university level since 1997.  She holds her B.A. in Public Relations from the University of Tulsa and her M.S. in Mass Communication from Southern Illinois University – Edwardsville.  Julie is currently on the faculty at Webster University in St Louis.

She is the author of “Master the Media: How Teaching Media Literacy Can Save Our Plugged-In World” and over the last three years has traveled all over the world helping teachers and parents with media literacy, digital citizenship, classroom engagement and social media.  Julie is currently working on a book advocating for more engagement in the college classroom.

Julie is on the Board of Directors for the National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE)

  The “unofficial” Julie Smith description:  

Control Enthusiast

Diet Coke Addict /  Boy Mom

Media literacy has been my passion since 1997, and I will talk about it to anyone who will listen.  Worst thing ever said about me as a professor?  “She took the joy out of watching ‘Jersey Shore’ for me.”  The best thing?  “I never played games on my computer ONCE during her classes.”

I am a faculty member of the School of Communications at  Webster University

I also travel around preaching about media literacy and digital citizenship.  Why yes, I do have a box of my books in the trunk at all time!  I’m like an indie band selling CDs.

My current passions are researching how/why people share false information online.  In fact, I think the “verifying before sharing” idea should be a huge part of digital citizenship education.

Many people ask me to do my “internet safety” speech.  I don’t do an “internet safety” speech.  Even calling it “internet safety” implies that the internet is dangerous and something we need to fear.

Instead, I advocate less preaching and more coaching when it comes to digital citizenship education.

Whatever you call it – media literacy, digital literacy, digital citizenship, news literacy – it all boils down to one thing:


Some Favorite Things:

  • Genealogy (ask me about my ggggfather who was born July 4, 1776!)
  • Watching my three teenage sons play in their bands
  • Netflix binging
  • Buying groceries and then buying more groceries
  • Collecting fakes posted by my friends on Facebook
  • My Dad’s 90th Birthday Party
  • Seeing Omaha Beach in Normandy with my boys
  • Diet Coke


And in the Spirit of Keeping Things Honest Online….Things that Didn’t Go Very Well Last Year 

  • Planned something I thought my students would love but they just stared at me blankly
  • Gave a talk on digital citizenship to some high schoolers and then spent the next week reading nasty tweets about myself – from them
  • Went to give a talk to a parent group and only two people showed up (who weren’t even parents!)
  • I fell for an online hoax because I am so liable to believe bad things about cable news
  • Had my laptop freeze up during a presentation where the keynoter just HAPPENED to be there
  • I received a scathing email from someone about how much they hated my book (ouch)
  • A brilliant student emailed me after class to tell me how I missed a perfect chance for an important discussion (and she was absolutely right)
  • An online student failed my class and missed graduation
  • The moderator at a conference lost track of time and so then I only had seven minutes for my talk

But the glass is half full, folks.  Always half full.



Professional Affiliations: