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Freberg, Karen

Karen Freberg University of Louisville, USA

Karen Freberg (@kfreberg) is an Associate Professor in Strategic Communications at the University of Louisville.

She is also an adjunct faculty member for the West Virginia University IMC Graduate Online program. Freberg has presented at several U.S. and international research conferences, including ones in Australia, Brazil, China, Ireland, Greece, Italy, Ireland, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, The Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. In 2019, she was appointed Associate Adjunct Instructor during her sabbatical to Australia at the University of the Sunshine Coast.

In addition to academic conferences, Freberg has presented at professional and trade conferences such as PRSA, Adobe Creative Campus, SXSWedu, and Cannes Lions, as well as been invited to do industry workshops and talks to the Dallas Mavericks, Kentucky Organ Donors Affiliates, and Signature Healthcare on social media trends and strategies.

Freberg is also a research consultant in social media and crisis communications and has worked with several organizations and agencies such as Firestorm Solutions, Hootsuite, Kentucky Derby Festival, IMC Agency, DHS, CDC, National Center for Food Protection and Defense (NCFPD), Kentucky Organ Donor Affiliates, and the Colorado Ski Association. This experience lead her to be a 2015 Plank Center Fellow for General Motors (GM), where her responsibility was to work with the PR and social media teams forming best practices and recommendations on social media measurement strategies and influencer marketing practices. 

Freberg has coordinated and advised various companies on the areas of social media pedagogy and certification programs, such as Hootsuite (Advanced Social Media Certification and #HootAmb), Meltwater (certification program and contributor), Adobe (EDUMax Thought Leader), HubSpot (Education program and podcast), and Facebook Blueprint (Subject Matter Expert).

Along with her teaching, Freberg’s research has been published in several book chapters and in academic journals such as Public Relations Review, Media Psychology Review, Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management and Health Communication.  She also serves on the editorial board for Psychology for Popular Media Culture, Corporate Communication, Marketing Education Review, Journal of Public Relations Research, and Case Studies in Strategic Communication (CSSC). 

In addition to academic publications, Freberg has been interviewed for popular press publications such as USA Today, USA Today College, and Forbes. Freberg is also professionally active serving on the executive committee for the PRSA Entertainment and Sports section and is on the Technology Chapter Committee for the Commission for Public Relations Education (CPRE). Freberg is also a regular contributor and a young professionals award judge for Front Office Sports.

Before coming to the University of Louisville, Freberg earned a PhD in Communication and Information at the University of Tennessee in May 2011, and a Master's degree in Strategic Public Relations at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Southern California in August 2007. Freberg received her Bachelor’s of Science degree in Public Relations at the University of Florida in August 2005.