Nikki Usher

Professor, Journalist and more…


I am broadly interested in the changing shape of journalism in a new media age. I like to think of myself as a scholar of transformation and change.  My work is oriented by a number of different foundational approaches: journalism studies, political communication, organizational communication, cultural theory, history, production studies, economics and discussions about citizenship and democracy.  The influence of new media on journalism is of utmost important in my work, but I temper utopian fervor with historical grounding. I am most interested in understanding how traditional forms of journalism are being challenged and changed and in discovering how participatory forms of journalism take shape and alter the larger news and media ecology. Questions that drive my research include ideas of journalistic professionalism and identity; the future of journalism and its economic and content models; the intersection of networked news ecosystems, social media and search algorithms, and politics; transformations of structural shape and form of news organization form and organizational culture; the social shaping of new technology; and the practices and dynamics of journalism production.  As such, I am also interested in the changing information flows as a result of new technologies and the way that people shape and construct technology in their own lives.

My work also has a strongly practical outlook as well as a theoretical one; I am interested in understanding and developing new models for journalism, finding ways to involve the audience in news creation and dialogue, and reshaping news for a new media age –while still preserving journalism’s best qualities.When I’m not writing on journalism, you will often find me collaborating with my colleagues on a wide array of projects designed to bring our joint perspectives together to reflect upon communication problems or writing for industry publications and blogs. In addition to journalism research, I have published and presented on the following: political communication, entertainment and media studies, LGBT studies, rhetorical analysis, cultural memory, and visual culture. All of these disparate subjects come back to interests in democratic discourse, media studies, new media, and cultural production.