Faculty

Claudio Benzecry

Claudio Benzecry is an associate professor in the Department of Communication Studies specializing in the sociology of culture. He is author of The Opera Fanatic: Ethnography of an Obsession (University of Chicago Press, 2011) which earned several American Sociological Association awards and was declared one of ten major books in sociological theory by Contemporary Sociology. Benzecry’s book From Head to Toe: Everyday Globalization in a Creative Industry (University of Chicago Press) is currently under contract.

Jeremy Birnholtz

Jeremy Birnholtz's research focuses on human-computer interaction issues, such as attention, information sharing, and collaboration through the use of technology. He has lectured and published widely on subjects that include young people's attention to instant messaging, interruptions in attention in seniors with chronic pain, and deception in text messaging.

Pablo Boczkowski

Pablo J. Boczkowski's research examines the transformation of print culture in the digital age. He has written three books, most recently The News Gap (co-authored with Eugenia Mitchelstein, MIT Press, 2013), and over twenty journal articles and fifty conference presentations. For more information, see his personal site.

Aymar Jean Christian

Aymar Jean Christian's work focuses on new media and cultural production. He researches how producers and organizations create and distribute web series, integrating scholarship on television and media industry studies. His work has been published in the journals ContinuumTransformative Works & Culture, First Monday, Cinema Journal, and Communication, Culture and Critique, as well as in NewsweekThe Washington PostThe Wall Street Journal, and BusinessWeek. 

Noshir Contractor

Professor Noshir Contractor is investigating factors that lead to the formation, maintenance, and dissolution of dynamically linked social and knowledge networks in communities. Specifically, his research team is developing and testing theories and methods of network science to map, understand and enable more effective networks in a wide variety of contexts including communities of practice in business, science and engineering communities, disaster response teams, public health networks, digital media and learning networks, and in virtual worlds, such as Second Life.

James Ettema

James S. Ettema is professor of Communication Studies where his teaching and research focus on the social organization and cultural impact of mass media and new communication technologies. He worked as a film maker and photographer before pursuing doctoral studies at the University of Michigan. He is a co-founder of Northwestern University's Media, Technology and Society graduate program. He served for six years as chair of Communication Studies and for ten years as the faculty coordinator of professional graduate programs in the department.

Among his books is Custodians of Conscience: Investigative Journalism and Public Virtue written with Theodore L. Glasser of Stanford University. The book won the Frank Luther Mott-Kappa Tau Alpha Award from the National Journalism and Mass Communication Honor Society, the Bart Richards Award for Media Criticism from Penn State University, and the Sigma Delta Chi Award for research on journalism from the Society of Professional Journalists.

Recent articles include "A Community Confronts the Digital Divide: A Case Study of Social Capital Formation through Communication Activism" written with Andrew P. Herman;"Journalism as Reason-Giving: Deliberative Democracy, Institutional Accountability and the News Media's Mission; and "Crafting Cultural Resonance: Imaginative Power in Everyday Journalism." His current research includes media coverage of warfare and the contribution of new media to public affairs discourse.

Darren Gergle

Darren Gergle's teaching and research interests are broadly defined by the fields of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) and Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW). In particular, he is interested in furthering our theoretical understanding of the impact technological mediation has on communication, and applying this to the design, development, and evaluation of novel collaboration technologies.

Wendy Griswold

Wendy Griswold, Professor of Sociology and affiliated with Comparative Literary Studies, English, and Communications, holds a Ph.D. from Harvard (1980) and has previously taught there and at the University of Chicago. Her research and teaching interests include: cultural sociology; sociological approaches to literature, art and religion; regionalism, urban representations, and the culture of place; the Federal Writers' Project; and comparative studies of reading practices. Recent books include Bearing Witness: Readers, Writers, and the Novel in Nigeria (Princeton UP, 2000), Cultures and Societies in a Changing World 3rd ed. (Pine Forge 2008), and Regionalism and the Reading Class (University of Chicago Press, 2008). Professor Griswold directs the Culture and Society Workshop at the Alice Berline Kaplan Institute for the Humanities.

Eszter Hargittai

Eszter Hargittai's research focuses on the social and policy implications of information and communication technologies (ICTs) with a particular interest in how ICTs may be alleviating or contributing to social inequality. Her research projects have looked at differences in people's Web-use skills, the evolution of search engines and the organization and presentation of online content, political uses of information technologies, how people search for complex health questions online, the role of digital media in the job search process, and how IT are influencing the types of cultural products people consume, produce and disseminate. In her research group, the Web Use Project, she works with graduate and undergraduate students to explore the social, cultural, political and economic implications of digital media. She is editor of "Research Confidential: Solutions to Problems Most Social Scientists Pretend They Never Have" (The University of Michigan Press 2009), which presents a behind-the-scenes look at the realities of doing empirical social science research. She writes a career advice column called Ph.Do at Inside Higher Ed. In addition to her academic articles, her work is regularly featured in the media. Her current research has been supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the National Science Foundation, Nokia Research, Google and the Hiatt Fund at Northwestern University. For more information, including her CV, see eszter.com. For copies of her publications, see webuse.org/pubs.

Bruce Lambert

Dr. Lambert received his B.A. (1987, Phi Beta Kappa, magna cum laude, with high distinction), his M.A. (1988), and his Ph.D. (1992) in Speech Communication from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He joined northwestern University in 2013, after 22 years at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). Dr. Lambert is currently professor in the Department of Communication Studies and Director of the Center for Communication and Health at Northwestern. Dr. Lambert’s research focuses on health communication, drug name confusion, patient and medication safety, health literacy, health information technology, prescribing behavior, pharmacoepidemiology, pharmaceutical promotion, health outcomes associated with provider-patient communication, and on information retrieval. He is currently the principal investigator on a five year center grant, funded by the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, to study techniques for optimizing medication safety. Dr. Lambert's publications have appeared in JAMA, The Archives of Internal Medicine, Journal of General Internal Medicine, Medical Care, The American Journal of Epidemiology, Drug Safety, The Journal of Medical Systems, Health Communication, Social Science & Medicine, The American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy, The Drug Information Journal and many others. He serves on the editorial board of the journal Health Communication. For his work on predicting and preventing drug name confusion errors, Dr. Lambert received the Best Published Paper award from the American Pharmaceutical Association in 1997, a Cheers Award from the Institute for Safe Medication Practices, and a Center Director’s Special Citation award from the U. S. Food and Drug Administration. Dr. Lambert is a founding member of the UIC Institute for Patient Safety Excellence. He is President of BLL Consulting, Inc. and Pharm I.R., Inc., firms that specialize in problems that involve health, communication, and technology. He has served as a Special Government Employee for the U. S. FDA and a member of the U. S. Pharmacopeia’s Consumer Interest and Health Education Advisory Panel. Dr. Lambert was a founding member of the Steering Committee of the Chicago Patient Safety Forum, is a Fellow of the Institute of Medicine of Chicago, is chair of the Research Committee of the National Patient Safety Foundation and serves on the Adverse Event Advisory Committee for the Illinois Department of Public Health.

Alexis Lauricella

Alexis Lauricella’s research examines the impact of media technology on children and adolescents with a focus on the educational potential of media experiences.  Her experimental research examined the production aspects lead to children’s learning from media.  She has conducted survey research to study parents’ and teachers’ attitudes toward and use of media with young children and is currently studying the effects of food marketing to young children.  Recent publications include empirical research articles in Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, Computers & Education, Journal of Children and Media, Media Psychology, Merrill Palmer Quarterly and reports for the Fred Rogers Center and the Center on Media and Human Development.  Dr. Lauricella is also the founder of www.PlayLearnParent.com, a website dedicated to translating child-development research for parents.

Barbara O'Keefe

Barbara J. O'Keefe is Professor of Communication Studies, Annenberg University Professor, and Dean of the School of Communication at Northwestern University. She earned her A.B., A. M., and Ph.D. in Speech Communication at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. She held faculty positions at Wayne State University, Pennsylvania State University, the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and the University of Michigan before joining the faculty at Northwestern.

Dr. O'Keefe's work is highly interdisciplinary. Prior to coming to Northwestern, she served as Director of the University of Michigan Media Union, a center for interdisciplinary study and application of emerging digital media. She has edited two books and authored over 60 technical publications, including contributed chapters in books, articles, or reviews in archive journals, and chapters in refereed conference proceedings. Much of this work is focused on developing and applying systems for content analysis of communication in studies of life-span communication development. She has also had a long-term interest in the application of interactive computing to support cooperative work and learning. She was a co-PI on Project CITY, a project funded by the NSF for 3 years to study human-centered design of collaboration technology to support sustainable management of civil infrastructure in a public works department. She has been involved in several additional studies of the use of interactive computing to support scientific and engineering teams. She has also studied and developed computer-based tools to support instruction and learning in communication and engineering education. Her work at the University of Michigan Media Union involved (1) development of an enterprise-wide learning technology infrastructure to allow faculty to use the web more effectively in their teaching; (2) management of the advanced technology facilities of the Media Union, including high-performance computing and networking, visualization and virtual reality technologies, and digital media production and post-production facilities; and (3) nurturing cross-disciplinary teams involved in applications of leading-edge technologies across the disciplines. She is currently part of a multi-institutional team, funded by the National Science Foundation, that is working to organize the available knowledge about interactive media for children and collaborating with industry partners to improve children's access to high-quality media.

She has served as a reviewer for Journal of Communication, Human Communication Research, Communication Research, Communication Monographs, Quarterly Journal of Speech, Language and Social Psychology, Research on Language and Social Interaction, International Journal of Systems, Man, and Cybernetics, Communication Theory, and other leading journals.

Daniel O'Keefe

Daniel O'Keefe is the Owen L. Coon Professor in the Department of Communication Studies. His research focuses on organizing and synthesizing the substantial body of work derived from persuasion studies—the effects of messages on persuasion and the distinctive problems associated with the development of dependable generalizations about persuasive message effects. His work seeks to derive and integrate findings from the large number of extant persuasion effects studies, especially through quantitative methods for research synthesis (meta-analysis).

For more information, see his personal site.

Anne Marie Piper

Anne Marie Piper investigates natural user interfaces to support communication, social interaction, and developmental needs of people throughout the lifespan. Her work focuses on technology-based solutions for individuals with disabilities and older adults. In the past she has designed and developed interactive technologies for people with speech, language, hearing, and social disabilities. She has worked as a user experience researcher at Microsoft and LeapFrog.

For more information, see her personal site.

Janice Radway

Janice Radway is the author of Reading the Romance: Women, Patriarchy and Popular Literature, and A Feeling for Books: The Book- of-the-Month Club, Literary Taste, and Middle Class Desire. She has just completed volume 4 of a five-volume, collaborative history of the book in the United States (with Carl Kaestle). Her current research interests are in the history of literacy and reading in the United States, particularly as they bear on the lives of women. Radway is a past president of the American Studies Association.

Madhu Reddy

Madhu Reddy is a professor in the Department of Communication Studies and a faculty member in the Center for Communication and Health. His primary interests are in understanding how we can better design and implement health information technologies to improve communication and collaboration in clinical settings. His interdisciplinary research connects medical informatics, computer-supported cooperative work, and information sciences. Reddy’s research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, Lockheed Martin, and the Commonwealth Fund. He was awarded the American Medical Informatics Association’s Diana Forsythe Award in 2002 and 2010. Reddy was elected as a Fellow of the American College of Medical Informatics in 2015 for his contributions to the field of informatics.

Courtney Scherr

Courtney Scherr is an assistant professor in the Department of Communication Studies and a faculty member in the Center for Communication and Health. Her research agenda focuses on the theory guided design and evaluation of messages containing scientific information about risk to patients. The goal of her work is to increase patient understanding, engage patients in informed decision making, and increase adherence to medical recommendations. Her current projects examine the communication of hereditary cancer risk and patient outcomes from genetic testing.

James Schwoch

James Schwoch explores global media, media history, international studies, and security issues. His research and teaching encompass methods and approaches for understanding media, technology and society that move beyond traditional categories of global analysis, such as comparing media systems of nation-states. Schwoch centrally develops ways to understand media, technology, and society through analyzing extraterritorial, planetary, and extraplanetary frameworks, such as the electromagnetic spectrum, satellite orbits, or space debris. He has published six books and a wide range of articles, and his research has been funded by many organizations, including NSF, NEH, the Fulbright Commission, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and the Ford Foundation. Schwoch has also advised foundations, research organizations, and government agencies around the world. From 2008-2012, he worked at the Northwestern campus in Doha, Qatar as a faculty member and a Senior Associate Dean.

Aaron Shaw

Aaron Shaw studies collective action, collaboration, and mobilization online. His current research projects address the the organizational factors that determine whether efforts to create public goods in peer production communities (like Wikipedia) are effective or not. He holds degrees from Stanford University and UC Berkeley and is a Faculty Associate of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University. Aaron is also the Director of Graduate Studies for the Ph.D. program in Media, Technology & Society.

Michelle Shumate

Michelle Shumate investigates the dynamics of interorganizational networks designed to impact large social issues, developing and testing theories to visualize, understand, and enable effective interorganizational networks in a variety of contexts including nongovernmental organization (NGO)-corporate partnerships, development and disease NGOs, expert-NGO partnerships in sustainable development, and interorganizational networks for healthy communities. She has published in a range of journals including Human Communication Research, Journal of Computer Mediated Communication, Management Communication Quarterly, and Journal of Communication. She was awarded a National Science Foundation CAREER award and a Beckman Fellowship at the Center for Advanced Study at the University of Illinois, where she was the director of the Interorganizational Networks research group.

Ellen Wartella

Ellen Wartella researches the effects of media on children and adolescents, and the impact of food marketing in the childhood obesity crisis.

James Webster

James G. Webster is a Professor of Communication Studies at Northwestern University. His primary research interest is media use. He's written extensively about television audience behavior, program choice and, more recently, patterns of media consumption across digital platforms.  Secondary areas of interest are audience measurement, media industries, and the social impact of new media. He is the author of Ratings Analysis: The Theory and Practice of Audience Research, which is the standard text on electronic media measurement.

From 1990 to 2005, Prof. Webster served as Associate Dean in Northwestern's School of Communication where he oversaw facilities planning, graduate education and helped create the doctoral program in Media, Technology and Society. He is on the editorial boards of the Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media and the Journal of Communication.  He has served as a consultant to Nielsen, Arbitron, Initiative Media, and the Rudd Center at Yale University. For more information, see his personal site.

D. Charles Whitney

Whitney is professor of communication studies and associate dean of the school for academic affairs. His research focuses on the sociology and social history of mass communicators. He joined the faculty in 2010 from the University of California, Riverside, where he was chair of the Department of Creative Writing and a professor of Media and Cultural Studies.