Associate Professor of Public Relations
Research and Creative Interests
- Corporate Social Responsibility
- Reputation Management
- Political Communication
- Public Relations
- Corporate Social Performance
- Organizational Advocacy
- Strategic Communication
Dr. Browning teaches several undergraduate and graduate courses in the PR sequence. He co-authored the textbook Writing for Public Relations and Strategic Communication, to which he brings over a decade of experience teaching persuasive writing.
Outside the classroom, Browning serves as associate editor of the Journal of Public Relations Research, the field’s preeminent academic journal. He is also the co-founder and director of IU’s Strategic Communication Research Lab, a collaborative effort among students and faculty to produce high-quality, original scholarship.
Browning labors as a researcher as well. His primary interests include business and communication ethics, corporate social responsibility, organizational advocacy, and reputation and relationship management. His scholarship has been published in several respected outlets, including the Journal of Public Relations Research, Public Relations Review, Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, and the Journal of Media Ethics.
Professor Browning teaches and researches in the field of public relations. Before arriving at IU, he taught PR courses at the University of Louisville and the University of Georgia. He is an experienced instructor of introductory PR courses as well as skills-based courses in writing and campaigns. He has also taught mass communication theory, as well as courses that examine the role of mass media in producing societal change. As an assistant professor at IU, he teaches the following courses:
- MSCH C-208/R-321: Principles of Public Relations
- MSCH R-349: Public Relations Writing
- MSCH R-429: Public Relations Campaigns
- MSCH J-560: Introduction to Strategic Communication (graduate seminar)
Browning’s research focuses on the impacts organizational ethics and actions have on organization-stakeholder relationships within business and political contexts. His scholarship is informed by a variety of questions derived from these interests: What factors govern stable relationships? How do organizations manage these factors to their benefit? How is power obtained and leveraged within these relationships? And how can ethical behavior be nurtured to promote societal good? While these questions and themes permeate his various scholarly endeavors, his research agenda is perhaps best categorized as spanning three main areas: communication, business, and PR ethics; PR-centric perspectives on reputation management, corporate social responsibility (CSR), and organizational advocacy; and political public relations.
Browning, N. (2022). Betsy Ann Plank: The Making of a Public Relations Icon. American Journalism, 39(3), 340-342. https://doi.org/10.1080/08821127.2022.2097842
Heatherly, K., Yang, S.-U., Browning, N., and Kim, E. (2022). Words, Money, or Action? How Corporate Social Advocacy Drove Media Coverage in Response to the Black Lives Matter Protests of 2020. Public Relations Journal, 15(2), 1-22. https://prjournal.instituteforpr.org/wp-content/uploads/Heatherly.PRJ_.15.2.pdf
Yang, S.-U., & Browning, N. (2022). Editor’s essay: A new Chapter. Journal of Public Relations Research, 34(1-2), 175-178. https://doi.org/10.1080/1062726X.2022.2073728
Moon, B., & Browning, N. (2022). When publics collide: Developing the dual orientation conflict model in inter-public conflict. Public Relations Review, 48(4), 1-11. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pubrev.2022.102211 [Published as part of the special issue, The Contingency Theory of Strategic Conflict Management]
Browning, N. (2022). Ethics in Public Relations. In G. A. Borchard (Ed.), The SAGE Encyclopedia of Journalism (2nd ed.) (pp. 1353-1357). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. https://dx.doi.org/10.4135/9781544391199.n336
Browning, N., Lee, E., Lee, S. H., & Yang, S.-U. (2022). We’re All In This Together: Legitimacy and Coronavirus-Oriented CSR Messaging. Sustainability, 14(5), 1-38. https://doi.org/10.3390/su14052534 [Published as part of the Arthur W. Page Center for Integrity in Public Communication’s special issue, Corporate Social Responsibility, Corporate Social Advocacy, and Societal Changes]
Comfort, S. E., Gruszczynski, M., & Browning, N. (2022). Building the Science News Agenda: The Permeability of Science Journalism to Public Relations. Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly. https://doi.org/10.1177/10776990211047949
Thompson, W., & Browning, N. (2022). Writing for Public Relations and Strategic Communication. San Diego, CA: Cognella.
Browning, N. (2021). What is Shared in the Sharing Economy? Ethics and Externalities in Public-Private Partnerships. Indiana Journal of Law and Social Equality, 9(1), 18-51. https://www.repository.law.indiana.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1118&context=ijlse
Browning, N., Lee, E., Park, Y. E., Kim, T., and Collins, R. (2020). Muting or Meddling? Advocacy as a Relational Communication Strategy Affecting Organization-Public Relationships and Stakeholder Response. Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, 97(4), 1026-1053. https://doi.org/10.1177/1077699020916810
Browning, N., & Sweetser, K. D. (2020). How Media Diet, Partisan Frames, Candidate Traits, and Political Organization-Public Relationship Communication Drive Party Reputation. Public Relations Review, 46(2), 1-17. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pubrev.2020.101884
Browning, N., Yang, S.-U., Park, Y. E., Lee, E., & Kim, T. (2019). Do Ethics Matter? Investigating Donor Responses to Primary and Tertiary Ethical Violations. Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, 96(4), 1145-1171. https://doi.org/10.1177/1077699019835903
Browning, N. (2018). Ethics and the Profession: The Evolution of PR Practice from Association to Accreditation, 1936-1964. American Journalism, 35(2), 140-170. https://doi.org/10.1080/08821127.2018.1455400 [Selected for Teaching Our Journal]
Browning, N., Gogo, O., & Kimmel, M. (2018). Comprehending CSR Messages: Applying the Elaboration Likelihood Model. Corporate Communications: An International Journal, 23(1), 17-34. https://doi.org/10.1108/CCIJ-07-2017-0068
Cacciatore, M.A., Browning, N., Scheufele, D.A., Brossard, D., Xenos, M.A., & Corley, E.A. (2018). Opposing Ends of the Spectrum: Exploring Trust in Scientific and Religious Authorities. Public Understanding of Science, 27(1), 11-28. https://doi.org/10.1177/0963662516661090
Sweetser, K. D., & Browning, N. (2017). Credibility or Credulity? Examining Political Organization-Public Relationships in an Election of Interloping Candidates. Journal of Public Relations Research, 29(5), 200-218. https://doi.org/10.1080/1062726X.2017.1388240
Browning, N. (2015). The Ethics of Two-Way Symmetry and the Dilemmas of Dialogic Kantianism. Journal of Mass Media Ethics, 30(1), 3-18. https://doi.org/10.1080/08900523.2014.985295
Browning, N., & Sweetser, K. D. (2014). The Let Down Effect: Satisfaction, Motivation, and Credibility Assessments of Political Infotainment. American Behavioral Scientist, 58(6), 810-826. https://doi.org/10.1177/0002764213515227
Browning, N. (2011). Mad Money Madness: Jim Cramer’s Image Restoration Effort. Public Relations Review, 37(2), 184-186. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pubrev.2011.01.009
Browning earned his Ph.D. in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Grady College at the University of Georgia. As an undergraduate he studied communication, English, psychology, and philosophy at the University of Louisville.