Dr. Allissa V. Richardson is an Assistant Professor of Journalism at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School. She researches how African Americans use mobile and social media to produce innovative forms of journalism — especially in times of crisis.
Dr. Richardson is the author of the award-winning book, 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 documented the Black Lives Matter movement using only their smartphones and Twitter, from 2014 to 2018. The text has won the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication's Tankard Book Award and its Frank Luther Mott Book Award. It is also the recipient of the International Communication Association's Best Book Award in Political Communication.
Dr. Richardson’s research is informed by her award-winning work as an instructor and journalist. She is considered a pioneer in mobile journalism (MOJO), having launched the first smartphone-only college newsroom in 2010. The MOJO Lab, based on the campus of Morgan State University in Baltimore, was the only American college to boast such a program at the time.
Dr. Richardson expanded the MOJO Lab curriculum throughout the continent of Africa, creating classes for allied nonprofit organizations in Morocco and South Africa. The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) said Richardson empowered her students around the globe “to speak truth to power using new media.” NABJ recognized her as its 2012 Journalism Educator of the Year for her international work. Apple, Inc. inducted Dr. Richardson into its elite Distinguished Educator program for her innovative uses of its products the following year. She is also a recipient of two prestigious Harvard University posts: the Nieman Foundation’s Visiting Journalism Fellowship and the Law School’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society Fellowship.
Dr. Richardson’s research has been published in Journal of Communication, Digital Journalism, Journalism Studies, The Black Scholar and many other venues. One of her most highly-cited papers, ""Dismantling Respectability,"" won the $10,000 grand prize at the University of Florida's frank research competition in 2020.
Dr. Richardson has lectured to diverse and wide-ranging audiences around the world—from SXSW to SnapChat, Microsoft and the NFL. Her expertise in mobile media activism has made her a frequent commentator for news outlets such as ABC, BBC, CBC, Columbia Journalism Review, Los Angeles Times, MSNBC, NPR, Teen Vogue and Vox. Dr. Richardson is also a sought-after educational technology consultant who has designed courses for Google, YouTube and PBS.
Dr. Richardson serves on the editorial boards of Digital Journalism and the International Journal of Communication. She is an affiliated researcher with New York University’s Center for Critical Race and Digital Studies (CR + DS) also.
Dr. Richardson holds a Ph.D. 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.