María Len-Ríos

Associate Professor

140-J Walter Williams Hall
Missouri School of Journalism
Columbia, MO 65211-1200


MARÍA LEN-RÍOS joined the Missouri School of Journalism strategic communication faculty in 2004. She teaches undergraduate courses in public relations and cross-cultural journalism as well as theory and seminar courses for master’s and doctoral students. Students have selected Len-Ríos as a Mizzou ‘39 mentor, her students have won first place in the Arthur W. Page Society Case Study Competition in Corporate Communication, and her students have presented research at national and international academic conferences.

Len-Ríos’ research addresses women, underserved audiences and marginalized groups with regard to health reporting, health communication campaigns and crisis communication. She and her co-authors have earned nine Top Paper awards at regional, national and international academic conferences, including being selected as the 2010 PRSA Health Academy/Quinnipiac University Paper Competition Winner. Len-Ríos has collaborated on multi-interdisciplinary grant work, including a Washington University/Missouri School of Journalism Center for Excellence in Cancer Communication Research program as well as through the MU Mizzou Advantage campus program. She is an affiliate of the MU Center for Children and Families Across Cultures.

Len-Ríos serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of Public Relations Research, Public Relations Review, the International Journal of Strategic Communication, and The Howard Journal of Communications. Len-Ríos serves as a member of the Publications Committee for the Association for Education in Journalism & Mass Communication (AEJMC), and is a former head of the Communication Theory & Methodology Division of the AEJMC (2007-2008). She is also a member of the International Communication Association.

Refereed Publications

  • Len-Ríos, M. E., & Hinnant, A. (In press). Health literacy and numeracy: A comparison of magazine health messages. Howard Journal of Communications.
  • Lee, H., & Len-Ríos, M. E. (In press). Defining obesity: Second-level agenda setting attributes in Black newspapers and general audience newspapers. Journal of Health Communication.
  • Hinnant, A., Len-Ríos, M. E., & Young, R. (2013). Journalistic use of exemplars to humanize health news. Journalism Studies, 14(4): 539-554. doi:10.1080/1461670X.2012.721633.
  • Len-Ríos, M. E., Hinnant, A., & Jeong, J. (2012). Reporters’ gender affects views on health reporting. Newspaper Research Journal, 33(3): 76-88.
  • Hinnant, A., Len-Ríos, M. E., Oh, H. (2012). Are health journalists’ practices tied to their perceptions of audience? An attribution and expectancy-value approach. Health Communication, 27: 234-243. doi: 10.1080/10410236.2011.578331.
  • Park, S., Len-Ríos, M. E., & Hinnant, A. (2010). How intrinsic and extrinsic news factors affect health journalists’ cognitive and behavioural attitudes toward media relations. PRism, 7(1), 1-14. Available:
  • Len-Ríos, M. E. (2010). Image repair strategies, local news portrayals, and crisis stage: A case study of Duke University’s lacrosse team crisis. International Journal of Strategic Communication, 4(4), 267-287. doi: 10.1080/1553118X.2010.515534.
  • Cohen, E. L., Caburnay, C. A., Len-Ríos, M. E., Poor, T. J., Cameron, G. T., Luke, D. A., Powe, B., Stemmle, J., & Kreuter, M. W. (2010). Engaging ethnic media to expand the reach and effectiveness of communication strategies to reduce health disparities. Health Communication, 25(6), 569-571.
  • Jin, Y., Park, S., & Len-Ríos, M. E. (2010). Strategic communication of hope and anger: A case of Duke University’s conflict management with multiple publics. Public Relations Review, 36(1), 63-65.
  • Len-Ríos, M. E., Cohen, E., & Caburnay, C. (2010). Readers use black newspapers for health/cancer information. Newspaper Research Journal, 31(1), 20-35.
  • Len-Ríos, M. E., & Perry, E. (2009). Assessing cross-cultural learning and the effects of personality and negative attitudes on journalism students’ knowledge. Journalism & Mass Communication Educator, 64(3), 273-286.
  • Len-Ríos, M. E., Onyebadi, U., Fleshert, M., & Qiu, Q. (2009). The South African elite press and the prominence of HIV/AIDS on the media agenda. International Communication Bulletin, 44, 46-63.
  • Len-Ríos, M. E., Hinnant, A., Park, S., Cameron, G. T., Frisby, C. M., & Lee, Y. (2009). Health news agenda building: Journalists’ perceptions of the role of public relations. Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, 86(2), 315-331.
  • Len-Ríos, M. E., Hinnant, A., & Park, S. (2009). Understanding how health journalists judge public relations sources: A rules theory approach. Public Relations Review, 35(1), 56-65.
  • Hinnant, A., & Len-Ríos, M. E. (2009). Tacit understandings of health literacy: Interview and survey research with health journalists. Science Communication, 31(3), 84-115.
  • Len-Ríos, M. E., Park, S., Cameron, G. T., Luke, D. A., & Kreuter, M. (2008). Study asks if reporter’s gender or audience predict paper’s cancer coverage. Newspaper Research Journal, 29(2), 91-99.
  • Larsen, P. V., & Len-Ríos, M. E. (2006). Integration of advertising and public relations curricula: A 2005 status report. Journalism & Mass Communication Educator, 55(1), 152-168.
  • Len-Ríos, M. E., Rodgers, S., Thorson, E., & Yoon, D.  (2005). Representation of women in news and photos:  Comparing content to perceptions.  Journal of Communication, 55(1), 152-168. Used as a “reading” chapter in Marshall, M. J. (2009). Composing inquiry: Methods and readings for investigation and writing. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall.
  • Len-Ríos, M. E., & Benoit, W. L. (2004). Gary Condit’s image repair strategies: Determined denial and differentiation. Public Relations Review, 30, 95-106.
  • Len-Ríos, M. E. (2003). Consumer rules and orientations toward corporate Web sites: A pilot study. Journal of Promotion Management, 9(1/2), 125-143.
  • Len-Ríos, M. E. (2002). The Bush and Gore presidential campaign Web sites: Identifying with Hispanic voters during the 2000 Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary. Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, 79, 887-904.

Book Chapters

  • Len-Ríos, M. E. (2010). Public Relations. In P. Moy (Ed.). Oxford Bibliographies Online. Oxford Publishers.
  • Park, S., & Len-Ríos, M. E. (2010). Who suffers? The effect of injured party on attributions of crisis responsibility. In W. T. Coombs and S. J. Holladay (Eds.), Handbook of crisis communication (pp. 591-606). Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.
  • Len-Ríos, M. E. (2008). Communication strategies for reducing racial and cultural disparities. In J.C. Parker & E. Thorson (Eds.), Health communication in the new media landscape (pp. 41-58). New York: Springer Publishing.
  • Len-Ríos, M. E. (2008). Following communication rules: A communications-centered theory for public relations. In T. L. Hansen-Horn & B. D. Neff (Eds.), Public relations: From theory to practice (pp. 181-194). Boston: Allyn & Bacon.
  • Len-Ríos, M. E. (2005). Rules theory. In R. L. Heath (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Public Relations (Vol. 2, pp.758-761). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
  • Len-Ríos, M. E., & Leshner, G. (2002). The effects of exposure to Web site subscription rates on intention to pay for future Web site content. In J. Biberman & A. Alkhafaji. (Eds.), Business Research Yearbook: Vol. 9. Advertising/marketing communication (pp. 85-89). Scranton, PA: International Association of Business Disciplines.
  • Len-Ríos, M. E. (1999). Preparing for full stewardship: a public information campaign for the Panama Canal. In J. V. Turk & L. H. Scanlan. (Eds.), Fifteen case studies in international public relations – the evolution of public relations: Case studies from countries in transition. (pp. 42-51). Gainesville, FL: The Institute for Public Relations.

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