Rachel Davis Mersey is an assistant professor at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. She uses quantitative and qualitative research strategies to examine journalism in light of the changing media environment. Her aim is to improve the practice of journalism in a manner that enhances publications’ relationships with their audiences by understanding their identities. Her classes have worked with Chicago-based clients such Crain’s Chicago Business, WGN and the Chicago Reader. She is also a member of the school’s innovation projects resource board, which focuses on guiding multiplatform development ventures.
Rachel’s research has been published in journals across a variety of disciplines and presented at academic and industry conferences including those for the Paley Center for Media in New York and the American Society of News Editors. In addition, she has done work for the Newspaper Association of America on young adults and newspapers and for the Chicago Community Trust on local information needs. Her first book, Can Journalism Be Saved? Rediscovering America’s Appetite for News, was published by Praeger in 2010.
She has professional journalism experience as a features reporter at the Arizona Republic in Phoenix. While there, Rachel was on the team that launched the paper’s weekly tabloid targeting women 18 to 34 years old, which won Gannett’s Innovator Drive for Excellence Award. During this time, she also worked across platforms with azcentral.com and the local NBC affiliate.
Rachel is a fellow at Northwestern’s Institute for Policy Research. She holds a Ph.D. in mass communication from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Before joining the Medill faculty in 2008, Rachel was an assistant professor at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities.