Contact Us

Use the form on the right to contact us.

You can edit the text in this area, and change where the contact form on the right submits to, by entering edit mode using the modes on the bottom right. 

3502 Watt Way
Los Angeles, CA, 90089

Thomas J Billard is a doctoral student and Annenberg Graduate Fellow in the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. He is a political communication and mass media scholar whose research focuses on transgender politics and graphic design.


Research Interests

My general areas of study are political communication and mass media. My work is guided primarily by traditional political communication scholarship, as well as social psychological work on media effects and sociological theories of social movements and collective action. I conduct mixed methods research, utilizing quantitative content analysis, surveys, experiments, archival research, interviews, and ethnography. My research interests fall into two broad categories: transgender politics and graphic design.

Transgender Media and politics

The main focus of my research in this area is communication pertaining to the transgender community in the political realm. This includes the relationship between mainstream media and the transgender community, as well as the strategic communications of the transgender movement. I also study the effects of media representations of transgender individuals and identities on social and political attitudes.

Graphic Design

My research in this area focuses broadly on the processes of production in graphic design and typography. This includes the encoding of meaning in the design process, the design of visual identity in political campaigns (both electoral and activist), and the collective action of design art worlds. I am also interested in the perception of meaning in type, as well as the use of graphically designed resources by citizens to engage in political speech.

Current Projects

Communicative activism in transgender political advocacy
Transgender coverage in the digital news environment
The influence of media consumption patterns on the effects of representations of transgender people
Media system dependency and transgender political misinformation

Past Work

Before beginning my current projects, I completed a large-scale content analysis of transgender news coverage using a novel set of Legitimacy Indicators for Transgenderism. This project, titled “Writing in the margins: Mainstream news media representations of transgenderism,” began as my undergraduate honors thesis (advised by Kimberly Gross) at GWU’s SMPA. The paper was then accepted for presentation to the Political Communication Division of the International Communication Division (ICA) at their annual meeting, May 2015 in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The paper has since been published in the International Journal of Communication.

Between finishing my undergraduate and beginning my doctoral studies, I worked as a research analyst in the social science department of EurekaFacts, LLC, a DC-area market research firm. In that role I led and managed a team of researchers on a multi-million dollar health communication research project for a federal government agency. I also served as project manager on two series of survey studies for a national business association, and as research support conducting and coding interviews as part of a larger project on business prospects in Montgomery County, Maryland. Additionally, I designed and conducted a survey study on millennial news consumption habits, social media use, and political engagement for the EurekaFacts Millennial Panel, a portion of which was presented in the white paper "Quick look at millennial voters: Predictors of voting in the 2014 midterm elections.”