The future of local news and the connection between local news and democracy are two of the hottest topics in philanthropy, education, and media these days. Nikki Usher addresses both head-on in her new book, News for the Rich, White, and Blue: How Place and Power Distort American Journalism (Columbia University Press, 2021).
In the book and in this conversation, Usher recasts the challenges facing journalism in terms of place, power, and inequality. She questions longstanding beliefs about the relationship between local news and civic engagement and separates observed behavior from myths about American democracy and the media's role within it.
Drawing on more than a decade of field research in newsrooms across the United States, Usher illuminates how news organizations strategize about the future and offers ideas for how they can meet community information needs in an inclusive, equitable way.
Nikki Usher is an associate professor in the College of Media at the University of Illinois .