Nikki Usher, an assistant professor at the School of Media & Public Affairs at George Washington University, is the winner of the 2015 Lillian Lodge Kopenhaver Outstanding Junior Scholar Award.
Kopenhaver, dean emeritus and professor at Florida International University’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication, will present the award on Wednesday, Aug. 5 at the 2015 AEJMC Conference at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in San Francisco, California. AEJMC, the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, is a nonprofit organization for journalism and mass communication scholars, educators, students and professionals.
Usher studies the changing world of journalism in the digital age, particularly information and communication technologies. She employs media theory and effects in her research. She published a 2014 ethnographic study, “Making News at the New York Times,” (University of Michigan Press) that examined the nation’s premier newspaper during the digital age. Her second book, published by University of Illinois Press, is forthcoming. It focuses on the intersection of computer programming and journalism and examines media in the United States, United Kingdom and Middle East. She also has published numerous journal articles and book chapters focusing on topics including web analytics, news production, newsroom culture and coding.
Usher served as Tow Fellow at Columbia University’s School of Journalism and as a Reynolds Journalism Institute Fellow at the University of Missouri-Columbia. She produced a white paper for the journalism industry from the Tow fellowship.
Twenty-four scholars were nominated for this year’s Kopenhaver Award and the judges faced a challenge choosing among the accomplished nominees. The judges were impressed by Usher’s volume and quality of scholarly work, which they called “productive, ambitious and focused, with sophisticated use of theory and methods.” They also noted that her work crosses over into applied uses by the journalism industry, journalism educators, and even government.
Usher, a former newspaper reporter, holds a Ph.D. and an M.A. from the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Southern California. She earned her bachelor’s degree in history from Harvard University.
This is the second year for the Lillian Lodge Kopenhaver Outstanding Junior Scholar Award. Kopenhaver, executive director of the Lillian Lodge Kopenhaver Center for the Advancement of Women in Communication at Florida International University, and the AEJMC Commission on the Status of Women founded the award to honor a woman junior scholar who demonstrates outstanding research and great potential for future scholarship. The winner receives a $250 check and a certificate.
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