Assistant Professor



At Colorado State University, Michael Humphrey researches how life stories emerge on social media as well as teaching Digital Storytelling & Audience Engagement, Entrepreneurial Journalism and Analytics. At, he was one of the early journalists to feature YouTube celebrities as entrepreneurs and entertainment disruptors.

His reporting and commentary were featured in the Morgan Spurlock-produced “Vlogumentary.” He has also covered social television, social video marketing, virtual and augmented reality and participatory culture.

Before receiving his M.A. at New York University, Humphrey wrote feature stories for The Kansas City Star and founded 1000 Stories, a life story writing program sponsored by KC metro area libraries that reached more than 2,000 adult students.

His writing has also appeared in SalonNational Catholic Reporter, True/Slant, The New YorkerNew York and others. Michael lives in Fort Collins with his partner Lorie Humphrey, a career counselor at the CSU College of Business



Refereed Journal Articles
Humphrey, M. (2018). Confession narratives and mass kinship of YouTube celebrities: A narrative rationality analysis. Interactions: Studies in Communication and Culture, 9(2), pp. 225-237.

Humphrey, M. (2017). ‘I Am In No Way This’: troll-hunters and pragmatic digital self-reference. Persona Studies, 3(2).

Keats, E. & Humphrey, M. (2018). From penning to pinning: performing personal ‘unfinished stories’ across multiple social media. Brill Publishers.

Humphrey, M. (In Press). The transmediated self as story: examining ‘working self’ narratives in social media. The Editorial Fund of the EAFIT University.

Manuscripts Under Review at Refereed Journals
Humphrey, M. & Humphrey, L. Career Construction in volatile settings: seeking congruence in a journalist’s world today. Life Writing.

Invited Manuscripts Accepted for Publication

Humphrey, M. (2018). No greater than who I actually am: virtue ethics in digital life narratives. In P. Plaisance (Ed.) Communication and Media Ethics. Berlin: de Gruyter Mouton.

Humphrey, M. (In Press). Has narrative found a challenge in Virtual Reality? Society for Technical Communication Intercom.

Refereed Proceedings/Transactions
Humphrey, M. (2017, May). First person persuasion: linguistic properties of personal narratives in persuasive political discourse on International Communication Association Conference in San Diego.

Humphrey, M., Champ, J., Russell, G. & Stone, L. (2017, May). Communicating science efficacy for governmental decision makers: a supply chain metaphor. International Communication Association Conference in San Diego.

Humphrey, M. (2015, October). ‘I could use some privilege’: digital rhetoric, white privilege and life narratives as terministic screens. Accepted via blind review to present at “Internet Research 16.0: Digital Imaginaries,” Association of Internet Researchers in Phoenix.

Humphrey, L. and Humphrey, M. (2015, August). Avoiding the “bad jump cut”: developing a senior year experience for journalism students. Internship and Careers Interest Group section of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication in San Francisco. (Awarded Best Paper).

Humphrey, M. (2015, April). Homo narrans digitalis? Examining life storytelling affordances in digital spaces. Western Social Sciences Association.

Humphrey, M. (2014, August). Uses & Grats 2.1: Considering ecosystem in User-Generated Content gratifications. Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication.

Non-Refereed Proceedings/Transactions
Humphrey, M. (2018, November). When a Story Is Not a “Story”: The Limits of Defining Literature Forms In A Digital World. Pacific Ancient and Modern Language Association.

Humphrey, M. (2015, June). Quantifying a life story in digital ecosystems: content analysis on International Auto-Biography Association-Americas.

Humphrey, M. (2015, March). The life you tell may be your own: social media and the algorithm of self narrative. “The Brain is Wider than the Sky” Conference, English Department, University of Wyoming.

Humphrey, M. (2014, October). ‘Small’ and ‘big’ narratives: considering the role of narrative arc in digital life storytelling. Pacific Ancient and Modern Language Association.

Humphrey, M. (2018, October). Storytelling in Immersive Environments. Office of Vice President for Research “Ram Reality” Symposium.

Humphrey, M. (2018, March). “The Flourishing ‘I’: Anscombe and the Ethics of Life Narrative in Digital Space.” Distinguished visiting scholar lecture sponsored by the Don W. Davis Program in Ethical Leadership in the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications, Penn State University.

Humphrey, M. (2015 & 2017, August). The Power of Story in Leadership. Presented as a module in the Leadership, Entrepreneurship, Arts and the Public, a Master’s-level program, at Colorado State University.

Humphrey, M. (2015, August). I Was A Start-Up Intern. A “lightning-round” presentation for the AEJMC Pre-Conference Workshop on Media Entrepreneurship, San Francisco.

Frank, R., Humphrey, M. and Manning, J. (2013, May). Developing digital-first student journalists. Presented at the Western Association of University Publication Managers, Denver.

Humphrey, M. (2013, February). Why UX matters for journalism. Presented at the Journalism/interactive Conference, Gainesville.

First Generation Story

From the time I can remember considering it, I knew college would be part of my future. Looking back now, I realize that clarity derived from needing to be part of communities that elevated the individual while also becoming more than the sum of its parts. Learning communities have been my bedrock as a human being and it is an honor to belong to this community, in the state where was I born and reared, welcoming and serving the next first generation to college.


  • JTC 326: Digital Storytelling & Audience Engagement

    By enrolling for JTC 326, students become better researchers, writers and editors in an online world, no matter the discipline, be it public relations or news reporting. The course and its related assignments help participants create digital media clearly, concisely, conversationally and creatively.

    Students are introduced to both the tools and strategies of online content-creation as a means of developing the skills needed for multi-platform newsrooms and PR shops.

    By the end of the semester, students have a better understanding of the challenges facing both online and traditional journalism today. They will:

    • use writing, video and audio to create digital articles for an online magazine;
    • create an engaging and conversational social media strategy;
    • practice the basics of digital media creation, including video, audio and writing;
    • produce an original long-form digital story about a topic that the student is deeply passionate about;
    • discuss User Experience in online life and how journalism can and should fit into that.

    In short, students leave this course not only with the skills considered vital in today’s communication fields, but also a critical understanding of how communicators in digital media best serve society.

  • JTC 500: Communication Research and Evaluation Methods

    Communication research and evaluation methodologies for assessing and improving communication in technology environments. Mainly for entering M.S. students. Credit not allowed for both JTC 500 and JTC 471.

  • JTC 490: Media Analytics

    Studying the theory, tools and thinking behind what media analytics can tell us about how to build community through content.