Helena Vanhala, Ph.D
Department Head & Associate Professor of Media Arts
walk-in or by appointment
Dr. Helena Vanhala is a Finnish world-traveler who joined the RMU Media Arts Department in fall 2006. She received her Ph.D. in Communication and Society from the University of Oregon, and her M.A. and B.A. in English Philology from the University of Tampere, Finland. She has worked as a freelance journalist and in international programs. Dr. Vanhala’s research and teaching interests include film, terrorism and media, international communication and journalism, intercultural communication, TV and video production, and cultural studies and political economy of communications. She is currently the Vice Chair of the International Division of the Broadcast Education Association.
Dr. Vanhala has presented her research on media and terrorism in the U.S. and abroad. She is the author of The Depiction of Terrorists in Blockbuster Hollywood Films, 1980-2001. An Analytical Study (McFarland 2011). Her book examines how film portrayals of international terrorism compare to U.S. policies on and experiences with international terrorism and to news media portrayals. Particularly the work analyzes how the commercial film industry’s business interests and the classical Hollywood narrative structure have impacted the depictions.
In her free time you can find Dr. Vanhala kayaking, painting, traveling inside and outside the U.S., writing, motorcycling and enjoying time with family and friends.
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