– MPA 428
– Fall: Monday 12-2pm
Future of Journalism. Social Media. Journalism and New Media. Newsrooms and Digital Change. New Business Models for News. Citizen Journalism. Field and Ethnographic Research.
Ph.D., The Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, University of Southern California, 2011
M.A., The Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, University of Southern California, 2009
A.B., Harvard University, 2003
SMPA 2101, Journalism: Theory & Practice
SMPA 3194, Social Media
SMPA 6202, Theory Mediated Communication
Nikki Usher joined The George Washington School of Media and Public Affairs in Fall 2011 after completing a year and a half of intensive ethnographic research at three major news organizations going through change in the digital age. Her work focuses on the changes, challenges, and opportunities for journalism at a time when the news industry faces tremendous economic uncertainty. Usher is an optimist about the future of journalism, and sees great potential for new business models and new modes of newsgathering that can take advantage of the new ways that people are using both Web and mobile platforms.
She has conducted extensive field research at The New York Times, NPR, Marketplace, The Christian Science Monitor, TheStreet.com,
and The International Herald Tribune.
She employs multiple methods, from participant observation and interviews to surveys in order to understand how newsrooms are going through change. Some of the questions she is most interested in include the following: newsgathering, business models, and how newsrooms integrate online journalism, multimedia, Web and mobile strategy, and social media into their workflow. She is also interested in participatory journalism, and studies the potential of citizen journalism.
Current research projects include investigating the place of digital public media journalism in the U.S. and looking at the relationship between journalists and programmers in news innovation efforts. She is also a regular contributor to the future of journalism blog, Nieman Journalism Lab
Before entering academia, Usher was a sports reporter at the Philadelphia Inquirer
. She has also worked at the Los Angeles Times
, the Chicago Tribune, The Boston Globe, The Dallas Morning News, The Times-Picayune
(New Orleans), and freelanced for Chicago’s largest LGBT weekly, the Windy City Times
Usher, Nikki, Riley, Patricia and Porter, Vikki (forthcoming, 2011). US Public Service Broadcasting: The Case of National Public Radio Online. In Niels Brugger and Maureen Burns (Eds.), Histories of Public Service Broadcasting Online
. New York: Peter Lang
Usher, Nikki (2011). Professional Journalists – Hands Off! Citizen Journalism as Civic Responsibility. In Robert McChesney and Victor Pickard (Eds.), Will The Last Reporter Please Turn Out the Lights?
: The Collapse of Journalism and What Can Be Done to Fix It. New York, The New Press.
Usher, Nikki (2011). US Public Radio Moves Online: How Routines, Newsroom Decision-Making and Professional Identity adapt to Change. In David Domingo and Chris Patterson (Eds.), Making Online News, 2nd Edition
. New York, Peter Lang.
Usher, Nikki and Layser, Michelle. (2010). The Quest to Save Journalism: A Legal Analysis of New Models for Newspapers from Nonprofit Tax-Exempt Organizations to L3Cs. Utah Law Review
Usher, Nikki. (2010). Goodbye to the News: How out of Work Journalists Assess Enduring News Values and the New Media Landscape. New Media & Society
, 12 (6), 911-928.
Usher, Nikki. (2010). Resurrecting the 1938 St. Louis Post-Dispatch Symposium on the Freedom of the Press: Examining its contributions and their implications for today. Journalism Studies
, 11(3), 311-326.
Usher, Nikki. (2009). Recovery from Disaster: How journalists at the New Orleans Times-Picayune
understand the role of a post-Katrina newspaper. Journalism Practice
, 3(2), 216-232.
Usher, Nikki. (2009).
Reviewing Fauxtography: A blog-driven challenge to mass media power without the promises of networked publicity
. First Monday