Rachel Davis Mersey is Associate Dean for Research for the Moody College of Communication, and also holds an appointment in the School of Journalism and Media where she is the Jesse H. Jones Centennial Professor. With more than a decade of experience in higher education and academic administration, she brings a passion for connecting scholarship and professional practice into grant-supported research and projects. She joins Moody College after serving at Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism, Media and Integrated Marketing Communications since 2008, most recently as associate dean for research and professor.
Mersey also held courtesy appointments in Northwestern’s Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences political science department and the School of Education and Social Policy learning science department. As a fellow at the Northwestern Institute for Policy Research, Mersey successfully collaborated across disciplines including serving as a PI on an NSF-funded project, Systematic Content Analysis of Litigation EventS or SCALES, to leverage artificial intelligence to bring transparency to court records.
She is the author of two books. Mobile Disruptions, with co-authors in the U.S. and the Middle East, examines the state of and opportunity for mobile media innovations in the Gulf states. Can Journalism Be Saved? Rediscovering America’s Appetite for News, which is at the foundation of work she still does today, stands as a formative argument recasting local news efforts as community-driven initiatives.
Mersey is currently collaborating with colleagues to examine the community infrastructure variables that are correlated with healthy local media markets. She is involved with a number of different industry-relevant projects including the examination of factors of media engagement; audience development via social video, and augmented and virtual reality; and podcasting as a means to community building.
Previously, Mersey was a reporter at the Gannett-owned Arizona Republic, where she worked with azcentral.com and the NBC-affiliate. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.