Cory MacNeil

Doctoral Student

While earning his Master of Arts in Journalism from Regent University, Cory MacNeil became deeply interested in the concept of world view; how world view affects understanding, shared understanding, and misunderstanding from the perspectives of journalist, subject, and audience. Post-graduation, he kept up a self-paced regimen of learning through a goal to watch all The Great Courses, where esteemed professors taught him

News photographs and news stories are how most American citizens see war and learn of war waged on their behalf. My research centers on the mediums of news stories and accompanying photographs as means of informing and challenging audiences to understand the complexities war.

I am Cory W. MacNeil, a Ph.D. of Journalism student at the University of Missouri. My research discipline is media sociology.

I arrived at the University of Missouri at the close a 20-year career in the US Army having turned down a promotion so that I could attend the doctoral program at the Missouri School of Journalism. I made this strategic decision as I saw a unique opportunity to combine my experience of 20 years in an Army at war with an opportunity to research how we converse about war through news media.

In broad perspective, my research investigates the role war reporting plays in posing moral and ethical questions to society. For journalists, my research inquiries pertain to the nature of professional norms, such as journalists as neutral observers (stenographers), or journalists as informed communicators (advocates). For journalism organizations, my research inquiries pertain to the influence of constraints, restraints, and the risks of creativity. For audiences, my research inquiries pertain to intellectual interaction with news media, what it means to be informed, and what to do when informed.

In narrow perspective, my research explores written and visual communication for its ability to present an audience with complex messages, further investigated through concepts such as moral imagination, objectivity, and patriotism. Such concepts allow me to examine the two-way lens of photojournalism—seeing is believing and believing is seeing—and probe the latent connotation in words when positioned to determine the meaning of actions.

Combining the experience of my career in an Army at war with my academic training, I am in a unique position as a media sociology scholar to ask pertinent research questions about the nature of reporting the buildup, conduct, and recovery from conflict and war.

psychology, anthropology, game theory, history, economics, mathematics, philosophy, religion, and other fields of scholarly study. It was during these hundreds of hours of lectures that Cory refined his academic interest in sociology while discovering a perfectly suited doctoral program at the University of Missouri.

Cory (First Sergeant MacNeil, retired) entered MU as he transitioned out of a twenty-year career in the U.S. Army where his occupational specialties were combat engineer, electronic warfare and cyber warfare. He is a member of the Sergeant Audie Murphy Club, Sergeant Morales Club and unwilling recipient of the enemy marksmanship badge (Purple Heart). He has lived in Texas, Colorado, Maryland; South Korea, Germany, Spain; and deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. Combining the experience of his prior career with his scholarly interests, he is researching the role conflict photography plays in posing moral and ethical questions to society.

Cory reads photograph books every day from the extensive collections at the MU journalism library with the intent to view them all before graduation. He is running all 240-miles of the Katy Trail, and doing giant sets and triple drop sets with every weight in the MU Student Recreation Center. He is reading books from the David Novak leadership library with his son, and Harry Potter with his daughter.

Cory is grateful to the MU students, professors, deans and administrators who offered their time during a busy semester to answer his questions about the application process, and offer frank assessment of the University and program as seen from the inside. He is glad to pay this benefit forward to future students by responding to inquiries from applicants who are looking closely at MU.

Updated: September 13, 2022