Tom Jacobson
Tom Jacobson
Departments: Globalization and Development Communication, Media & Communication, Media Studies and Production
Office: 215-204-8980
218 Tomlinson Theater



Development and Social Change, Normative Theory, Deliberation, Ethics.  

Before coming to Temple, Tom was at the State University of New York at Buffalo for seventeen years where he served as Chair of its Department of Communication and founding director of the Informatics Research Center. He has also been Visiting Professor at Northwestern and Cornell universities. He is past President of the Participatory Communication Research Section of the International Association of Media and Communication Research, where he is currently Chair of that Association’s Scholarly Review Committee. Currently, at Temple, Tom serves as Director of Klein College interdepartmental Master of Science program in Communication for Development and Social Change.  He has published over fifty peer reviewed articles and book chapters, and co-edited three books. In 2006, Tom served on the Scientific Committee planning the World Congress on Communication for Development (World Bank), in Rome, and has consulted with the World Bank’s Communication and Governance Accountability Program, as well as other international organizations and NGOs.  He holds memberships in the International Communication Association, the National Communication Association, and the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication. He sits on the editorial advisory boards of a number of journals, including Communication Monographs, Telematics & Informatics, and Communicar. Tom and his wife Tamar live in the Chestnut Hill neighborhood of Philadelphia. 







Communication Theory

University of Washington


International Communication

University of Washington


Philosophy of Social Theory

Western Washington University


Jacobson T. (2021) Global Alliance for Social and Behaviour Change. In: Fourali C., French J. (eds). The Palgrave Encyclopedia of Social Marketing. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.

Jacobson, T. (2021). Media and Public Communication Toward Social Justice: A Review of the Capabilities Approach, In (Eds) Srinivas Raj Melkote & Arvind Singhal. Handbook of Communication and Development (pp. 40-58). London: Edward Elgar.

Jacobson, T., & Garlic, N. L. (2021, June 28). “Participatory Communication in International Context.” In J. Nussbaum (Ed.), Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Communication. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/acrefore/9780190228613.013.955

Chen, Q. & Jacobson, T. L. (2022). “A process model of the public sphere: A case study of municipal policy debates on Sina Weibo. Policy & Internet, 14(1)

Pan, L., Chen, Q & Jacobson, T. (2019) Communication environment, performance evaluations and decision legitimacy: A case study in China. International Journal of Communication. 13, 1-22; Jacobson, T. L., Chang, L. (2019).

Sen’s Capabilities Approach and the Measurement of Communication Outcomes. Journal of Information Policy. Vol. 9.: 111-131; Jacobson, T. (2019). Solutions Journalism and a Normative Model for Media and Development, In International Media Development: Historical Perspectives and New Frontiers (pp. 191-199). (Eds.)

Nicholas Benequista, Susan Abbott, Paul Rothman, and Winston Mano. New York: Peter Lang Publishing; Jacobson, T. (2018). The Relevance of Habermasian Theory for Development and Participatory Communication, In the Handbook of Communication for Development and Social Change (pp. 1 - 22); Jan Servaes (Ed.), Singapore: Springer Publishing International. Current research focuses on ethics in social and behavior change work, conducted in association with the Global Alliance for Social and Behavior Change.


Other Projects

Tom currently represents the International Association for Media and Communication Research to the Global Alliance for Social and Behavior Change, as a member of its Alliance Task Force.  He is also on the International Steering Community planning the International Social and Behavior Change Communication Summit to be held in Marrakesh, March/April, 2020