J. Michael Lyons

Assistant Professor
Specialization: media and social change • civic media
Office: Bronstein Hall 302
Email: jlyons@sju.edu
Website: website @jmikelyons

My teaching, research and media work focuses on storytelling and civic media, particulaly related to narratives of crime and incarceration. In 2015, I co-founded the The Redemption Project with Aaron "Abdul Lateef" Phillips, John Pace and Kempis Songster, three men serving sentences of life without parole for crimes they committed as juveniles. Our goal is to bring the voices of incarcerated men and women across the prison walls to help lead the movement for criminal justice reform. 

I was a journalist with the Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and newspapers in the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, Alaska, the Caribbean and the United States before entering academia.

Julija Kulneva and I founded West Philly Local, which covers parts of West Philadelphia - where we live.



  • B.A., Temple University
  • Ph.D., Indiana University

Professional Experience


  • Media and civic engagement
  • Social movements
  • Multimedia storytelling
  • International communication

Courses Taught

  • Civic Media
  • Communication Ethics
  • Communication Theory and Practice
  • Digital Storytelling
  • Community Publishing


The Civic Web, Community Storytelling, Oral History

Magazine Articles

Faculty Expert Profile

  • Expertise: Hyperlocal Journalism, Social Media, Digital Media, Blogging, Urban Journalism, Foreign and International Communications