J.D. Notre Dame Law School
M.A. Florida A&M University
B.A. Political Science DePaul University
I began my teaching career as a visiting professor in September 2001. I fell in love with the college and the quality of life in Vermont and joined the tenure track faculty one year later. I came to St. Michael’s College from Chicago where I was a correspondent with The Associated Press. I also worked as a national editor for The Associated Press broadcast division in Washington D.C.
Utilizing my law degree and years as a professional journalist, my teaching focuses on Media Law and Ethics in the Digital Age. The course focuses on the legal and ethical boundaries and parameters of modern media. I also created a special topics course on Race, Gender & Ethnicity in Media. The course studies the way media creates meaning about race, gender and ethnicity, and plays an important role in shaping the way we understand them as part of our identity, our history, our social institutions, and our everyday lives.
I currently serve as a board member for The Vermont ACLU, and The Vermont Press Association. I work with numerous local organizations and serve the community through her work focusing on the issues of homelessness, poverty and AIDS.
Areas of Expertise
Media law, Ethics in the media, Intellectual Freedom and Censorship, Racial and ethnic representation in media
Courses I Teach:
Media Law & Ethics
Race, Gender & Ethnicity in Media
Media Studies Internship
Reporting for Media
In the Steps of Ghengis Khan: Comparative Media Study tour in Mongolia
The Great Firewall: Comparative Media Study tour in China
Awards & Recognition
Traci Griffith, associate professor of media studies, journalism and digital arts, received the 2018 Dupont Award for faculty during the annual Senior Awards Brunch. The event, which recognizes exceptional members of the senior class as well as student-selected faculty and staff, annually brings forth inspirational figures who have demonstrated an outstanding commitment to the Saint Michael’s community. Griffith was also awarded the 2017 Joanne Rathgeb outstanding teaching award. The award is selected by the faculty and honors colleagues for excellence and innovation in the classroom.
Demonstrating her commitment to the larger community, Griffith was elected to the Executive Committee of the National American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Board. An attorney as well as professor, Griffith has been active with the Vermont ACLU Chapter for many years, including serving as Vermont affiliate representative to the national board. She also serves on the board of Christ the King School in Burlington.
A Favorite Quote:
“I can accept failure. Everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.” — Michael Jordan
Traci Griffith of the Saint Michael’s Media Studies, Journalism and Digital Arts faculty, on a leave from teaching this past year, did frequent media appearances covering a wide range of issues in recent months; on March 5, she was a guest on Vermont Public Radio with Mitch Wertlieb for his Morning Edition show to discuss the documentary Coded Bias, which “follows MIT Media Lab researcher Joy Buolamwini’s startling discovery that many facial recognition technologies fail more often on darker-skinned faces,” according to publicity for the documentary. Traci is part of a planning group that organized a previous online screening of this film over two weeks in December 2020, and then this year had screenings/discussions that began February 22 ran through March 8. Also, a June report on the Burlington-area TV news channel NBC5 by reporter Lauren Granada included an interview with Traci about the significance of the new federal Juneteenth holiday.
(posted July 2021)
Traci Griffith of the media studies, journalism and digital arts faculty co-hosted a conversation on Vermont Public Radio June 18 concerning issues of race, injustice and policing for Vermont. The virtual conversation also included Traci’s co-host, Peter Hirschfeld of VPR. Traci during her leave of absence from campus teaching duties has among her many projects, been co-hosting a podcast for regional Public Radio, called NEXT, about important current issues in the region, the most recent being a report titled “What The Biden Administration Will Mean For Climate Change In New England.” NEXT is “a weekly radio show and podcast about New England, one of America’s oldest places, at a time of change.” It’s based at Connecticut Public Radio in Hartford and is hosted by Morgan Springer, including with Traci in some recent podcasts such as this one. Also, Traci moderated a virtual panel with the director of the film Coded Bias on December 12. This Sundance film looks at the bias inherent in facial recognition technology. The night of the November presidential election she was a guest analyst for Burlington-area local news Channel 22/44, the ABC and FOX affiliate. In late October Traci served as moderator for a panel for the Vermont International Film Festival – an online event this year. The panel discussed The World is Watching with the director Peter Raymont. It is a political film about the moral issues surrounding news gathering and news-making in the electronic age. In late October Traci was named to the Board of Directors of Spectrum Youth Services, a nationally recognized leader in helping youth ages 12-26 and their families turn their lives around. Each year, it serves 1,500 teenagers, young adults, and their family members, with programs for youth centered in Burlington and St. Albans. Earlier this fall Traci was elected as secretary for the executive board of the national American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), making her among the key national officers of the prominent organization. Also in early fall, she co-hosted a four-part series about racism in New England for the New England News Collaborative. She was interviewed by reporter Tom Garris for the Burlington/Plattsburgh NBC affiliate WPTZ for a July 3 story about whether Americans were feeling less patriotic this recent July Fourth.
(posted February 2021)
Traci Griffith of the media studies, journalism and digital arts faculty this spring spoke with WCAX anchor Celine McArthur about media layoffs brought on by domino effects of the coronavirus. In another appearance, Vermont Public Radio reporter John Dillon posted an extended story about the regular press conferences of Vermont Gov. Phil Scott and his team during the pandemic, and a key analyst he quotes in the piece is Traci. In the story she gives Scott high marks for transparency and talking directly to Vermonters. But she said the normal dynamic between a probing press corps and a government it tries to hold accountable has shifted. Also quoted in Dillon’s piece is Mike Donoghue, former longtime journalism adjunct at St. Mike’s, who still operates the Vermont Press Association from an office in the College’s MJD office suite.
(posted June 2020)
Traci Griffith of the Saint Michael’s College Media Studies, Journalism and Digital Arts faculty joined a panel for a Vermont Public Radio Vermont Edition program that had the headline on the VPR website “Understanding Major News Mergers and What They Mean for Vermont’s News Media” for the August 20 edition. Other panelists were Candace Page, (longtime Free Press reporter) and Paul Heintz, staff writer and political editor for Seven Days.
(posted February 2020)
Traci Griffith of the media studies, journalism and digital arts faculty and Katie Kirby (philosophy faculty), led 13 Saint Michael’s students on a study trip to South Africa, The group used both Cape Town and Johannesburg as their classrooms. The course title for this May 13-28 trip was “South Africa – Resistance, Revolution, & Representation.”
(posted June 2019)
Traci Griffith, professor of media studies, journalism and digital arts, and Michael Donoghue from the same department, served on a committee for Burlington Public Schools that drafted a new student media policy that is in line with a state law protecting the First Amendment rights of student journalists, as reported recently on the Vermont online news site vtdigger. Mike is also the executive director of the Vermont Press Association. Traci also in January of 2019 was elected to national board of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
(posted January 2019)
Traci Griffith, professor/chair of media studies, journalism and digital arts, on May 10 received the Dupont Award for faculty during the annual Senior Awards Brunch. The event, which recognizes exceptional members of the senior class as well as student-selected faculty and staff, annually brings forth inspirational figures who have demonstrated an outstanding commitment to the Saint Michael’s community. Staff winner was Anna Boesch of the MOVE Office, while student winner was Sophia Adams ’18, recent Student Association president. Earlier Traci was elected to the Executive Committee of the National American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Board during a late-January meeting in Atlanta. An attorney as well as professor, Traci has been active with the Vermont ACLU Chapter for many years, including her role for the past four years as Vermont affiliate representative to the national board. She also led an Edmundite Campus Ministry MOVE service trip for students to help out with her as volunteers in the Edmundite Southern Missions Center of Hope in Selma, AL, just after Commencement, helping to prepare meals for guests there. In early January, TV, radio and print journalists sought Traci out after a Burlington Free Press editor was fired in the wake of some controversial “Tweets.” With her law and journalism background, Traci is an experienced and frequently sought commentator on matters of journalistic ethics and legal issues. She was a guest on Vermont Public Radio’s Vermont Edition program, was interviewed for an article in the Burlington weekly Seven Days, and was invited for an extended interview on a WCAX Channel 3 on this matter.
(posted June 2018)
Traci Griffith, professor and chair of media studies, journalism and digital arts, was a guest on Vermont Public Radio’s Morning Edition about an interesting case involving two northeastern Vermont newspapers, with one being accused of stealing the other’s password to access Associated Press photos without properly paying for it. The case is being prosecuted using RICO statutes — more typically used to prosecute organized crime and the MAFIA, making it somewhat unusual. She spoke with the VPR reporters and morning hosts Mitch Wertlieb and Melody Bodette. Traci also was cited extensively in a November report the same case written by Aaron Nicodemus, Boston correspondent for Bloomberg BNA (Bureau of National Affairs), which is a source of legal, tax, regulatory, and business information for professionals, headquartered in Arlington County, VA. Also in November, Traci hosted a visiting group of Russian journalists, sponsored by the Vermont Council on World Affairs, who sat in on her Media Ethics class and, through a translator, heard a spirited discussion applying ethical consideration to various highly charged scenarios that a reporter might face. Traci was invited as a guest on the WCAX Channel 3 TV news program “You Can Quote Me” on Sunday, September 10, to talk with host and anchor Derron Perron concerning issues in transparency by state officials in cases such as Vermont State Police involvement in a deadly shooting in Poultney.
(posted December 2017)
Traci Griffith, associate professor of media studies, journalism and digital arts, appeared on National Public Radio’s syndicated news talk show “Here and Now” on March 25. Traci spoke about the January purchase of Al Gore’s Current TV by the Qatar-based television network Al Jazeera to form the new Al Jazeera America. Traci told an interviewer she watches the network for another perspective, and does not perceive an anti-American bias. She added that not all her students agreed, though a few who have had farther-reaching international life experiences indicated they would feel comfortable working there.
Traci Griffith, associate professor of media studies, journalism and digital arts, was elected this fall to be vice-president of the Vermont ACLU. She also was appointed by the governor to the Vermont Humanities Council. Traci spoke about media representations of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the issue of race at the city of Burlington during a Speak Out event on the King Holiday, Monday January 16, 2012.