Dr Shayla Thiel-Stern

Dr Shayla Thiel-Stern

Shayla Thiel Stern is a senior digital strategist at Fast Horse and formerly an associate professor who teaches coursework that covers how the changing media environment and the production and consumption of digital media affects culture and society today. Her research--which questions the critical intersections of youth, interactive media and gender--uses a variety of research methodologies to understand how digital media both shapes and is shaped by culture and audiences. You can contact her at shaylastern at gmail dot com. Her new book, From the Dance Hall to Facebook: Teen Girls, Mass Media and Moral Panic, 1905-2010 (University of Massachusetts Press, 2014), uses several case studies to argue that the news media has used the same newsgathering and storytelling techniques to trivialize and marginalize teen girls.

Her previous book, Instant Identity: Adolescent Girls and the World of Instant Messaging (2007, Peter Lang), exposed how youth use interactive media to negotiate gender and sexual identity and navigate their social worlds through new media.

She previously worked at washingtonpost.com, Edmunds.com, cars.com and Iowa Public Radio and other media start-ups, and she contributed to CNN.com, Britannica, The Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post and the Chronicle of Higher Education. She served as editor of The Journal of Communication Inquiry, and has published scholarly research in Feminist Media Studies, Journal of Radio and Audio Media,Women's Studies in Communication, and Girlhood Studies, as well as in several edited books.

She earned a Ph.D. in Mass Communication from the University of Iowa and an M.A. in Communication, Culture and Technology from Georgetown University.

Educational Background & Specialties

Educational Background

  • Ph.D.: Mass Communication, University of Iowa, 2004.
  • M.A.: Communication, Culture and Technology, Georgetown University, Washington, D.C., 1999.

Curriculum Vitae


  • Youth and digital media/social media
  • Social media and culture
  • Media representation of adolescent girls
  • Qualitative research
  • Gender and mass media
Courses Taught
  • New Media & Culture
  • Qualitative Research Methods in Mass Communication
  • The Changing Media Environment
  • Editing for Print and Digital Audiences
  • Mass Media and Social Change
  • Introduction to Mass Communication
Research & Professional Activities


  • DigMe Initiative with Roosevelt High School (Minneapolis): Working with researchers from the College of Education on the implementation of a new curriculum using tools of Web 2.0 in learning, June 2008 - 2011
  • Locally Grown Northfield RepJ Project: Documenting the RepJ -- representative journalism project -- that involved placing a trained professional journalist within a blogging community to gather and deliver news for that community., October 2008 - July 2009
  • From the Dance Hall to Facebook: Teen Girls, Mass Media, and Moral Panic in the United States, 1905 to 2010. Stern, Shayla, University of Massachusetts Press, Author, 2014.
  • Girlhoods in the Golden Age of U.S. Radio: Music, Shared Popular Culture, and Memory: Stern, Shayla, Co-authors Sharon Mazzarella and Rebecca C. Hains, Journal of Radio and Audio Media, 2013.
  • Collaborative, Productive, Performative, Templated: Youth, Identity, and Breaking the “˜Fourth Wall’ Online: Stern, Shayla, Rebecca Ann Lind (Ed.), Peter Lang, Produsing’ Theory: Audiences and Production in a Digital World, 2012.
  • Re-presenting the Adolescent Girl through Online Citizen Journalism: Two Classrooms, Two Approaches to gender and digital media: Stern, Shayla, (Ed) Elaine O'Quinn, Routledge, Girls’ Literacy Experiences in and out of School: Learning and composing gendered identities, 2012.
  • “˜This is Not an Audience’: Another Reconsideration of Audience Studies in the Interactive Media Environment : Stern, Shayla, Ed. by Radhika Parameswaran, Wiley-Blackwell, Audience Studies, International Companion to Media Studies (Angharad Valdivia, series editor), Forthcoming, 2012.
  • 'We Didn't Have Any Hannah Montanas": Girlhood, Popular Culture, and Mass Media in the 1940s and 1950s: Stern, Shayla, Rebecca C. Hains, & Sharon R. Mazzarella. Ed by Mary Celeste Kearney, Peter Lang, Mediated Girlhoods: New Explorations of Girls' Media Culture, 113-132, 2011.
  • Growing Up White and Female During the American Great Depression: Popular Communication, Media, and Memory: Stern, Shayla, Rebecca C. Hains, Sharon R. Mazzarella, Routledge, Women's Studies in Communication, 34 161-182, 2011.
  • Femininity Out of Control on the Internet: A Critical Analysis of Media Representations of Gender, Youth, and MySpace.com in International News Discourses: Stern, Shayla, Berghan Books, Girlhood Studies, 1 , 2009.
  • Instant Identity: Adolescent Girls and the World of Instant Messaging. Stern, Shayla, Peter Lang Publishing, Author, 2007.
  • We didn't have adventures like that: The lure of adventure stories and courageous females for girls growing up in the United States during the mid-20th Century: Stern, Shayla, Sharon Mazzarella, R.C. Hains, Journal of Communication Inquiry, 38 131-148, 2014. Link
  • Mary Ann Yodelis Smith Award for Feminist Scholarship (AEJMC), Awarded Aug. 2012
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