Emily T. Metzgar is an alumnus of the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program and author of The JET Program and the US-Japan Relationship: Goodwill Goldmine (Lexington Books, 2017). An associate professor in the Media School at Indiana University, Emily is a former diplomat, policy analyst, opinion writer, and youth advocate. Her writing and research focuses on foreign affairs and the role of media in American politics. She is especially interested in the practice of public diplomacy as part of a country’s larger foreign policy strategy, publishing commentary and academic work emphasizing the “hard power” implications of activities traditionally considered “soft,” including America’s international broadcasting efforts, China’s Confucius Institutes, and Japan’s JET Program.
Over the course of her career, Emily has spent time at organizations as varied as the US Information Agency, the National Defense University, the US Department of State, and the US Institute of Peace. Now tenured faculty at Indiana University, Emily teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in international communication, media and culture in China, and media in American society. She also directs the Media School’s honors activities, overseeing the well-regarded Ernie Pyle Scholars Program, establishing the School’s new Media Scholars Program, and developing curricula for other high-performing students across the School’s three undergraduate degree programs. In addition, she supervises doctoral research on topics including Chinese ethnic media production and consumption patterns in the United States, the sociology of journalists in Azerbaijan, the political effects of incidental exposure to opposing views on social media, and the development of hyperlocal media organizations focused on police accountability in the United States.
Emily earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and French from the University of Michigan, a master’s degree in international affairs from The George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs, and a doctorate in media and public affairs from Louisiana State University’s Manship School of Mass Communication. While living in Louisiana, she also wrote a weekly opinion column focused on the state’s political and public policy environment for a Gannett paper, maintaining a blog and producing a podcast on the same subjects, and attracting a statewide audience in the process. This experience led to her dissertation research focused on the role of state-oriented political blogs across the United States. Insights derived from that study about the ways that user-generated content can disrupt established political and media institutions continue to inform her work.
Living in Louisiana during Hurricane Katrina, Emily saw first-hand the significant contributions that non-profit organizations can make to their communities. She takes that to heart and has been an active volunteer or board member for Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) in both Louisiana and Indiana, and is a member of the Bloomington (Indiana) Rotary Club. She co-edited and contributed a chapter to The Course Reflection Project, a volume focused on service-learning in the college classroom. She puts this educational philosophy into practice when she places her students in community-focused social service organizations to show them how often there is a disconnect between media coverage of a social issue and the reality on the ground.
When she’s not writing, teaching, or traveling Emily can be found exploring the trails of Southern Indiana with her faithful hound – an exuberant labradoodle named Harry. Since publication of The JET Program and the US-Japan Relationship, she is at work on a new book project examining the politics and policy of US information diplomacy since World War II. It is under contract with Oxford University Press.