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Theresa M. de los Santos Faculty Profile

Theresa M. de los Santos

Associate Professor of Communication
NewsWaves Advisor
Communication Division, Seaver College
CCB 255


Theresa de los Santos is an assistant professor of communication in the Communication Division at Pepperdine University in Malibu. She obtained a bachelor of arts degree in broadcast journalism and political science and a master of arts degree in media communication from Pepperdine. She earned her PhD in media communication at University of California, Santa Barbara. She is an Emmy award-winning television news producer, formerly working at FOX 6 in San Diego and on the FOX 11 Morning News and Good Day L.A. at KTTV in Los Angeles. As a news producer she covered Hurricane Katrina, the Malibu wildfires, and the immigrations protests of 2006, which made her step back and question the impact of the language used in news messages on audiences. As a result, her research focuses on the effect of discrete emotions in news coverage on attitude, opinion, and behavior change. At Pepperdine she teaches in the areas of journalism, media, and research methods and leads the broadcast co-curricular programs.


  • PhD in Media Communication, University of California, Santa Barbara, 2014
    • Dissertation: "Emotionally Charged: Exploring the Role of Emotion in Online News Information Seeking, Processing, and Sharing"
  • MA in Media Communication, Pepperdine University, 2008
  • BA in Telecommunications (Broadcast Journalism), Pepperdine University, 2001

Published Manuscripts

  • de los Santos, T., & Nabi, R. L. (in press). Emotionally charged: Exploring the role of emotion in online news information seeking and processing. Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media.
  • Littlefield, C., de los Santos, T., Rear, P. G., & Janssen, S. (in press). Patriotism and a free press: A content analysis of civil religion in Aaron Sorkin's The West Wing and The Newsroom. Journal of Media and Religion.
  • de los Santos, T., Smith, E., & Cohen, M. (2018). Targeting truth: How museums can collaboratively address social issues. Journal of Museum Education, 43(2), 104-113.

Digital Library Products

  • de los Santos, T. (Spring, 2018). Purpose of experimental research. [Streaming video]. SAGE Research Methods Video: Practical Research and Academic Skills.
  • de los Santos, T. (Spring, 2018). Introduction to sampling. [Streaming video]. SAGE Research Methods Video: Practical Research and Academic Skills.

Book Chapter

  • Nabi R. L., So, J., & de los Santos, T. (2011). Tracing the course of research on reality TV. In E. Scharrer (Ed.), Media effects/media psychology. Wiley-Blackwell.

Manuscripts in Preparation

  • de los Santos, T. & Nabi, R. L. (in progress). Extending the Emotions-as-Frames Model: How context influences affective response to mixed emotion news stories.
  • de los Santos, T. & Nabi, R. L. (in progress). To share or not to share? How emotion guides social media sharing of online news content.


  • Howard A. White Award for Teaching Excellence, Pepperdine University, 2017
  • de los Santos, T., Amaro, L., & Joseph N. (2017, May). Emotion, social support, and social comparison in online mommy platforms: A content analysis. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Communication Association – Information Systems Division, San Diego, CA.
  • de los Santos, T. (2017, May). Fake news, real emotion: Connecting emotion to news consumption. Panelist and Training Session Leader at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum "Truth and the News" Media Literacy Forum, Simi Valley, CA.
  • de los Santos, T. & Fisher, A. (2016, November). Teaching and doing solutions journalism. Session led at the annual Associated Collegiate Press conference, Washington, D.C.
  • de los Santos, T., & Nabi, R. L. (2015, June). To share or not to share? How emotional frames influence the sharing of online news stories. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Communication Association – Mass Communication Division, Fukuoka, Japan.
  • Cross-Disciplinary/Interdisciplinary Undergraduate Research Program, Pepperdine University, Summer 2018, Summer 2017, Summer 2016
  • Academic Year Undergraduate Research Initiative, Pepperdine University, Fall 2018, Spring 2018, Fall 2017, Fall 2016, Spring 2016, Fall 2012


  • Journalism
  • Media Communication
  • Research Methods


  • JOUR 590 – Special Topics in Journalism (4 units)
  • JOUR 330 – Journalism Presentation Principles (4 units)
  • JOUR 241 – Introduction to News Writing and Editing (4 units)
  • JOUR 251/351, MPRD 261/361 – Journalism, Media Production Practicum (1 unit)
  • COM 300 – Introduction to Communication Research Methods (3 units)
  • COM 260 – Introduction to Media (4 units)