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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 three esteemed Harvard University posts: the Nieman Foundation Visiting Journalism Fellowship (‘14), the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society Fellowship (‘20) and the Kennedy School’s Carr Center fellowship. 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 the Founding Director of USC's first Black media studies center, the Charlotta Bass Journalism & Justice Lab. Additionally, she is an affiliated researcher with New York University’s Center for Critical Race and Digital Studies (CR + DS).

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.


Just Tech

Trends in Mobile Journalism: Bearing Witness, Building Movements, and Crafting Counternarratives

Allissa Richardson examines how African American mobile journalism became a model for marginalized people’s political communication across the United States.

Nov 17, 2021

Stop Showing Violent Police Videos

Allissa Richardson interviewed by WBUR

May 6, 2021

The Verdict, the Video, and the Unreasonable Burden of Proof

Allissa Richardson joins Slate’s Amicus podcast

Apr 24, 2021
The Washington Post

You have the right to film police. Here’s how to do it effectively — and safely.

Allissa Richardson discusses filming police encounters

Apr 22, 2021

We have enough proof

Allissa Richardson argues against sharing videos of violent police encounters in an op-ed for Vox.

Apr 21, 2021

Here's why one journalism professor argues graphic video of Black deaths shouldn't be broadcast

Dr. Allissa Richardson spoke with WUSA9 about having Black deaths aired on TV

Apr 21, 2021
Harvard Law Today

How ‘digital witnesses’ are documenting history and challenging the status quo

Three community members discuss how young Black people use technology for activism around the world

Mar 18, 2021
Harvard Law Today

Deconstructing the ‘Karen’ meme

Apryl Williams puts memes in historical, cultural context

Feb 3, 2021
Start Making Sense

Black Cellphone Videos and Protest Journalism

Allissa Richardson talks protest journalism on the Start Making Sense podcast

Oct 14, 2020

Allissa Richardson thinks it’s time to shatter a few myths about citizen journalism

Allissa Richardson discusses her new book and the myth of objective journalism

Sep 28, 2020

Mental health and journalism

Allissa Richardson on mental health of Black journalists covering the anti-police brutality and Black Lives Matter protests

Sep 11, 2020
The Atlantic

The Problem With Police-Shooting Videos

Smartphone footage of police brutality highlights a dire need to tell more humane stories about Black victims, Allissa Richardson says

Aug 30, 2020


Mar 3, 2021 @ 12:00 PM

Digital Witnesses: The Power of Looking

Video & Podcast: Featuring Allissa Richardson, Nana Mgbechikwere Nwachukwu, and Hannane Ferdjani

Video & Podcast: A panel exploring how Black people around the world are using digital technology to bear witness to human rights injustices—from the Black Lives Matter movement,…

Feb 2, 2021 @ 12:00 PM

White Surveillance and Black Digital Publics

Video & Podcast: A Conversation with Dr. Apryl A. Williams and Dr. Allissa V. Richardson

Video & Podcast: Dr. Apryl A. Williams and Dr. Allissa V. Richardson will address the long-standing history of White vigilante-style surveillance of Black people in public spaces