Karen Freberg


  • Social Media
  • Public Relations
  • Crisis Communication

Academic background:

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

Professor 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 addition to academic conferences, Freberg has presented at professional and trade conferences such as PRSA, SXSWedu, and Cannes Lions, and she has also conducted industry workshops and talks to the Dallas Mavericks, Kentucky Organ Donor Affilates, and Signature Healthcare on social media trends and strategies.

Professor 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 led 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.

Professor 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), Adobe (EDUMax Thought Leader), and Hubspot (Education program and podcast).

Along with her teaching, Professor 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).  Professor Freberg is also professionally active serving on the executive committee for the PRSA Entertainment and Sports section and is a regular contributor and a young professionals award judge for Front Office Sports.

Before coming to the University of Louisville, Professor Freberg earned a Ph.D. 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. She received her Bachelor’s of Science degree in Public Relations at the University of Florida in August 2005.

Contact information

308C Strickler Hall
(502) 852 6976

Dr. Freberg is not only an amazing professor, but also a fantastic mentor and advisor to her students. I've never felt more confident in and cared for by a professor before. She really brings passion and warmth to her work.