Graduate Student Directory

Paul Mena


Office: Weimer 2034 Email: Twitter: @PaulMena


Hometown: Quito, Ecuador

Ph.D. student, journalism instructor, and journalist with 20 years of working experience. His research interests are in journalism studies, misinformation, fact-checking, data journalism and data visualization. As a journalist, he has published in several Ecuadorian and international media outlets. From 2009 to 2016, he was a regular stringer for the BBC Spanish-language news website, BBC Mundo. He also wrote for the newspaper El Pais (Spain) for two years. He has taught digital journalism and media law and ethics courses at several universities in Ecuador for around 10 years. As a Fulbright scholar, he obtained his master’s degree in Mass Communications and Journalism Studies at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg. During his doctoral studies at the University of Florida, Paul Mena received an award as one of the top international graduate students in the College of Journalism and Communications.



Master of Arts. Mass Communications and Journalism Studies – University of South Florida
Bachelor’s, Communication – Universidad Central del Ecuador



Peer-reviewed Journal Articles:

Mena, P. (2018). Principles and boundaries of fact-checking: Journalists’ perceptions. Journalism Practice, 0(0), 1–16.

Conference Presentations:

Mena, P., Arceneaux, P., & Chan-Olmsted, S. M. (2019, March). Fact or opinion on Twitter: An experiment on credibility in the era of low media trust and digital diplomacy. Paper accepted for presentation at the 2019 International Studies Association (ISA) Annual Convention, Toronto, Canada.

Mena, P. (2018, August). Fact-checking and Facebook users’ engagement: Debunking fake news and verifying Trump’s claims. Paper presented at the 2018 AEJMC Annual Conference, Washington D.C.

Mena, P. (2017, May). Journalists’ perceptions of fact-checking and its boundaries with partisanship and activism. Paper presented at the 67th Annual Conference of the International Communication Association, San Diego, Calif.

Mena, P. (2017, April). How the sharing of fake news on Facebook affects users’ perceptions of real news stories. Poster presented at the 2017 UF Graduate Student Research Day, Gainesville, Fla.

Mena, P. (2017, March). How the sharing of fake news on Facebook affects users’ perceptions of real news stories. Paper presented at the  2017 AEJMC Southeast Colloquium, Fort Worth, TX.

Mena, P. (2017, March). How the sharing of fake news on Facebook affects users’ perceptions of real news stories. Poster presented at the 2017 CJC Research Symposium, Gainesville, Fla.

Mena, P. (2016, November). Hacia nuevas teorías para explicar el impacto de la tecnología en el  periodismo y las audiencias [Toward new theories to explain the impact of new technologies in journalism and audiences]. Paper presented at the Conferencia Internacional Periodismo en Debate 2016, Quito, Ecuador.

Mena. P. (2014, October). Periodismo de datos en un ambiente de pugna Gobierno-medios: ¿Por dónde empezar? Caso ecuatoriano [Data Journalism in an Environment of Competing Government Media: Where to Begin? Ecuador case]”. Paper presented at the 2014 Global Investigative Journalism Conference, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.



Doctoral Advisor:
Dr. Frank Waddell, Pennsylvania State University
Master’s Advisor:
Dr. Paul Wang, Ohio University

Paul Mena’s main research areas are journalism, misinformation, fact-checking, data journalism, and data visualization. His recent studies on fake news have addressed how the sharing of fake news affects user’s perceptions of real news stories, how journalists perceive fact-checking, and the effect of the correction of misinformation through “disputed” flags on Facebook users’ intentions to share fake news.


University of Florida:
MMC 3203 – Problems and Ethics in Mass Communications
RTV 4930 – Noticias WUFT (Spanish-language journalism)

Teaching Interests:

  • Data journalism
  • Data visualization
  • R for data management and statistics
  • Fact-checking
  • Investigative journalism
  • Spanish-language journalism
  • Media ethics