Warrior Spotlight on Grad Student Matt Morley

Producer. Videographer. Studio Supervisor.


These are just some of the hats graduating master’s student Matt Morley has worn at Wayne State.  Perhaps most impressive is that Morley has had two research papers accepted at academic organization conferences.


Morley, 27, will graduate in August with a master’s in communication and journalism concentration.


"I’ve always been super-into video games, so much of my research was based on different aspects of gaming," Morley says. "The very first paper I wrote in grad school was about product placement and advertising within video games and how it affects the integrity of game design." 


That paper, "The Effects of In-game Advertising on Gamers and the Video Game Industry," was presented at the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC), at its 2015 national conference in San Francisco.


More recently, Morley has researched agenda setting and propaganda by the U.S. military.


"Central Command is the branch of the U.S. military that conducts operations in the Middle East," Morley says. "I wrote a paper on Central Command’s YouTube account and how the content they post to that account shifted since we started unmanned drone strikes on Islamic State targets."


Morley says raw, black-and-white footage, shot from the drone cameras, started to appear on the site soon after President Obama announced that the military would conduct unmanned air strikes against the Islamic State, and the number of views for each new video increased dramatically.  


"Because YouTube videos can be embedded, these videos began to be incorporated by outlets such as CNN, which would pick up the stories from White House press releases," Morley says. "I was very interested in this from the perspective of agenda setting and propaganda."


"Death From Above: An Analysis of the Central Command YouTube Page" was accepted by the International Communication Association for their 2016 conference. Morley traveled to Japan to present his research.


However, Morley will complete his master’s with a creative as opposed to scholarly project. 


"It’s a documentary on the long and interesting history of the Detroit and Grosse Pointe border," he says.


Morley is also scheduled to teach a section of News Writing and Digital Editing (COM 2230), in the fall.


"Any student with an interest in working on audio, writing broadcast news, putting together interviews and news packages should check out 2230," he says.


Morley has advice for students interested in the Communications programs at Wayne State: be as involved as you can be.


"I can’t recommend Metro Arts Detroit (COM 5610 Advanced Television Production), enough for any student with an interest in any aspect of TV production," Morley says. 


In that class, students produce a program that features area artists and airs on Detroit Public Television. Metro Arts just finished its fifth season; Morley has been involved since season two, first as an editor, then producer. For the last two years, he has served as Graduate Student Assistant and Studio Supervisor.


"It’s a really great opportunity for students from a number of backgrounds because it’s a group project that provides a lot of technical experience," Morley says. "It’s something worthwhile to put on a resume."