I am a native of Westchester County, New York. As the daughter of an immigrant born to Holocaust survivors, I am especially mindful of the challenges and opportunities tied up in chasing the American Dream. I have lived and worked in many corners of the US, from New Orleans, to Philadelphia, to Dallas, to Washington, D.C., to Boston to Los Angeles. I’ve traveled to 48 states in the US and find the US to be a fascinating, complicated and diverse country filled with so many different, rich stories and histories. I’ve also traveled across Europe, Asia, and Australia, and I hope to continue to expand my global perspective as I see the increased importance of understanding flows of global information and technology.
I began writing for professional print publications at age 16, writing sports news about high school tennis and track in my local town paper, The Scarsdale Inquirer. My passion for journalism continued with me to college, where I received an A.B. magna cum laude from Harvard University with a degree in history. I studied American and European intellectual history under James Hankins, James Kloppenberg, and Mark Molesky. At Harvard, I wrote my senior thesis on the first televised murder – Jack Ruby’s shooting of Lee Harvey Oswald. I relied on extensive archival data and used multiple research grants to travel to Texas and Washington, D.C. to gain insight into the trial. I was the first person to look at the trial from the perspective of jurors on the trial, taking advantage of three newly-donated juror diaries at the Sixth Floor Museum in Dallas.
At Harvard, I was a Senior News Executive on The Harvard Crimson, our student-run daily newspaper. I also edited and published a best-selling travel guide for Washington, D.C. for Let’s Go publications. I was a writer on numerous campus magazines, including Diversity and Distinction and the Institute of Politics’ Harvard Political Review. See here for more information about my journalism background.
After college, I worked as a reporter at for the Philadelphia Inquirer, covering high school sports for a five-county region of South Jersey, breaking sports news, and professional tennis. During my time at the Inky, and after watching lay-offs at the Los Angeles Times, I decided that my interests were more suited to academia – I wanted to understand the fundamental changes facing the news industry. When I left the Inky, blogs at the newspaper were a new idea, smart phones were a far-off dream, and wireless transmission from our laptops had never even occurred to many reporters. I was curious what new technology meant for the newspaper – and whether we would survive the changes that were ahead.
While at USC Annenberg School’s for Communication and Journalism, I worked with a tremendous team to complete my dissertation on business news and news decision-making at a time of technological innovation with my main research site, The New York Times. My advisor was Larry Gross, and others working to help me were Patti Riley, Geneva Overholser, Sarah Banet-Weiser and Geoffrey Cowan, and my outside committee member Henry Jenkins.
You can follow me for all sorts of updates, from my thoughts on business news to the future of journalism on Twitter @nikkiusher or on Google+ at +nikkiusher.
My wife and I slipped in the Proposition 8 window and are lucky enough to be legally married in California. She is a corporate lawyer and has published academic work. Together, we wrote a paper on new models for nonprofit newspapers that has been published in the Utah Law Review. In my spare time, I enjoy kayaking, running and tennis and am working on achieving triathlon dreams. I recently retired from the esteemed Santa Monica Women’s Rugby Football Club. After a few years in Southern California, I have turned into a rabid Trojan and Dodgers fan. I have strong feelings about Lane Kiffin.