Carolyn S. Carlson is an Associate Professor of Communication in Journalism and Emerging Media and is assistant director for the major. She has been researching the relationship between reporters and government public relations professionals. Reports on her research have received widespread attention during national Sunshine Week in March of 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016. She teaches the various reporting and writing courses at KSU as well as media law.
Before entering academia, Dr. Carlson worked as a political press secretary and as a longtime reporter and editor for The Associated Press. She was also a reporter for 5 years on The Augusta (Ga.) Chronicle and the Orlando (Fla.) Sentinel. While at the AP, she served as national president of the Society of Professional Journalists, which is the oldest and largest professional organization serving the news media. She is a former chair of the SPJ Ethics Committee and is currently a member of the SPJ Freedom of Information Committee. She is also adviser to the SPJ chapter at Kennesaw State. She is a founding board member and current treasurer of the Georgia First Amendment Foundation.
Dr. Carlson is the recipient of many awards, including SPJ’s highest honor for a member, the Wells Key, which she received in 1993, and the SPJ First Amendment Award, which she received in 1998 for founding the multi-organizational Campus Courts Task Force for its success in changing federal law to increase public access to college disciplinary records involving serious crime. She received her bachelor's in journalism from the Henry Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia, which awarded her with its John E. Drewry Outstanding Young Alumni Award in 1990. She is a past president of the Grady College Journalism Alumni Association. She earned a master's in urban studies and a Ph.D. in political communication at Georgia State University.