Russell Frank


Russell Frank

Associate Professor

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  • Journalism Ethics
  • Literary Journalism
  • Internet Folklore


  • Bachelor's: SUNY Binghamton (Creatice Writing and Literature)
  • Master's: UCLA (Folklore and Mythology)
  • Ph.D.: University of Pennsylvania (Folklore and Folklife)



Professor Frank worked for newspapers in California and Pennsylvania as a reporter and editor for 12 years before joining the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications faculty in 1998. He teaches news writing, feature writing, column writing, news media ethics and the literature of journalism.

Frank writes about journalism ethics, literary journalism and Internet folklore. His research articles and essays have been published in Nieman Reports, News Media Ethics, Quill, Journal of Mass Media Ethics, Western Folklore, Journal of American Folklore, New Media and Society, Contemporary Legend, Journalism, Rural Sociology and Journalism and Mass Communication Educator.

He also writes an award-winning column for A collection of his columns, titled "Among the Woo People: A Survival Guide for Living in a College Town," was published in 2017 by the Penn State University Press. He is also the author a book about Internet folklore titled "Newslore." His freelance work has been published in The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post and other newspapers.

Frank has twice been a Fulbright Scholar: in Ukraine in 2012 and in Greece in 2019-20. He is a member of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, the American Folklore Society, the International Association for Literary Journalism Studies, the International Society for Contemporary Legend Research and the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication.


In the News



Among the Woo People: A Survival Guide for Living in a College Town, Penn State University Press (2017).

Newslore: Contemporary Folklore on the Internet. University Press of Mississippi (2011).

Recently published journalism:

“Field-Truthing a Dream,” Hidden Compass, January 2021.

“Invasion of the Red Bull Zombies,” New York Times, Nov. 5, 2017.

“Why Bill O’Reilly Got What He Deserved,” Fortune, April 22, 2017

“How to Spot the B.S.,” Good, (Dec. 16, 2016),

“In Praise of Fake News,” The Hill, (Dec. 16, 2016),

“The one Roger Ailes hire that changed American politics forever,” The Conversation, July 22, 2016.

Recently published scholarly articles:

“‘Someone’s Been Sleeping in My Bed’: Home Invasion Stories,” Western Folklore 76, (Fall 2017).

“Caveat Lector: Fake News as Folklore,” Journal of American Folklore 128, (Summer 2015).

“Covering Captain Cool: The ‘Miracle on the Hudson’ as a Hero Tale,” Western Folklore 72, (Winter 2013).


Russell Frank
125 Carnegie Building