Allissa V. Richardson is an associate professor of journalism at USC Annenberg. She researches how African Americans use mobile and social media to produce innovative forms of journalism — especially in times of crisis.
Richardson is the author of Bearing Witness While Black: African Americans, Smartphones and the New Protest #Journalism (Oxford University Press, 2020). The book explores the lives of 15 mobile journalist-activists who have documented the Black Lives Matter movement using only their smartphones and Twitter.
Richardson’s research is informed by her award-winning work as a journalism innovator. She is considered a pioneer in mobile journalism (MOJO), having launched the world’s first smartphone-only college newsrooms in 2010, in the U.S., Morocco and South Africa.
Richardson won the National Association of Black Journalists’ prestigious Journalism Educator of the Year (‘12) award for her international work. Richardson is an inductee into Apple’s elite Distinguished Educator program. She is the recipient of two esteemed Harvard University posts: the Nieman Foundation Visiting Journalism Fellowship (‘14) and the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society Fellowship (‘20). Lastly, she is a fellow in Columbia University’s Tow Center for Digital Journalism (‘20).
Richardson’s research has been published in Convergence, Journal of Communication, Digital Journalism, Journalism Studies and The Black Scholar. Richardson serves on the editorial boards of Digital Journalism and the International Journal of Communication. She is an affiliated researcher with New York University’s Center for Critical Race and Digital Studies (CR + DS) as well.
Richardson holds a PhD in journalism studies from the University of Maryland College Park; a master’s degree in magazine publishing from Northwestern University’s Medill School; and a bachelor of science in biology from Xavier University of Louisiana, where she was named a “Top 40 Under 40” alumna.
Awards and Honors
Tankard Book Prize, Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (2021).
Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society Fellowship, Harvard University (2020).
Tow Center for Digital Journalism Fellowship, Columbia University (2020).
Nieman Foundation Journalism Fellowship, Harvard University (2014).
Journalism Educator of the Year, National Association of Black Journalists (2012).
Bearing witness while black: Smartphones, African Americans and the new protest #journalism, author (2020, Oxford University Press).
“Bearing witness while black: Theorizing African American mobile journalism after Ferguson,” author (2016, Digital Journalism).
“Dismantling respectability: The rise of new womanist communication models in the era of Black Lives Matter,” author (2019, Journal of Communication).
“Endless mode: Exploring the procedural rhetoric of a Black Lives Matter-themed newsgame,” author (2020, Convergence).
“The Poitier effect: Racial melodrama and fantasies of reconciliation by Sharon Willis,” author (2018, The Black Scholar).
“The Platform: How Pullman porters used railways to engage in networked journalism after the Great War,” author (2016, Journalism Studies).
“The problem with police shooting videos,” author (2020, The Atlantic)
“Why cellphone videos of Black people’s deaths should be considered sacred, like lynching photographs,” author (2020, The Conversation).
JOUR 580: Reporting on Race and Justice
JOUR 590: Directed Research
JOUR 595: Critical Thinking: The Art and Science of Not Getting Fooled