William J. Thorn
Dr. William J. ThornMarquette University

Johnston Hall, 339

MilwaukeeWI53201United States of America
(414) 288-3447(414) 288-3923 (FAX)

Associate Professor Emeritus of Journalism and Media Studies/Institute for Catholic Media


Ph.D., University of Minnesota (Mass Communication)
M.A., University of Wisconsin - Madison
B.A., Loras College (cum laude)

Courses Taught

JOUR 1964 Practicum in Student Publications
JOUR 5200 Publications Editing
JOUR 4600 History of American News Media
JOUR 4320 Religious Journalism
JOUR 4140 Public Affairs Reporting

Research Interests

Electronic database networks for church documents; Catholics as a media audience, Catholic use of media at diocesan level; effects of media on religious imagination of children; Church and Generation X.

Professional Experience

Newspaper reporter, editor; intern trainer (TV radio news); public relations.

Professional Affiliations

Catholic Press Association
Union Catholique
Internationale de la Presse (past board of directors)
Religious Research Association
Milwaukee Press Club

Selected Publications

Thorn, William (2008). Preschool children and the media. Communication Research Trends, Vol. 27 No. 2, 3-28.

Book Review: Communication in Theological Education: New Directions. Communication Research Trends, Vol. 26, No. 3, 2007. Book Review and retrospective on the work of Michael Traber.

Book Review: Cyberculture, by P. Levy. Communication Research Trends, Vol. 26, No. 4, 2007, (38-39).

Mountin, Susan, Runkel, P., and Thorn, W. (2000). Dorothy Day and the Catholic Worker Movement: Centenary essays. Marquette University Press.

Thorn, W. (1996). Models of church and communication, media, culture and Catholicism. Paul Soukup (Ed.), Sheed & Ward.

Thorn, W., (1990). History and role of the Catholic press. Chapter in Reporting Religion, Polebridge.

Why Marquette

The Jesuit approach to professional education has always struck me as the best model for preparation of journalists because it demands a rigorous liberal arts foundation and insists on ethics and critical awareness of mass media as the context for skills training. Milwaukee's central city and the larger metropolitan area provide a wonderful laboratory in politics, arts, social patterns, and major media which naturally become part of our classes. Marquette encourages my work with the Vatican and with Catholic and religious media. More profoundly, Marquette's Catholic and Christian identity recognizes each individual — student, staff member, professor and news source — as having been endowed by the Creator with inherent dignity.


Vatican committee on communication document;USCCB committee on Communications;Archdiocese of Milwaukee communications committee;Chair, Santa Fe Communications Board.