Allissa Richardson

Dr. Allissa V. Richardson is an Assistant Professor of Communication and 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. Additionally, Dr. Richardson investigates the historic contributions of the black press, examining specifically the intersections of advocacy journalism, black social movements and Critical Race Theory. 

Dr. Richardson is the author of the forthcoming book, Bearing Witness While Black: African Americans, Smartphones and the New Protest #Journalism (Oxford University Press). The text 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. Dr. Richardson’s research is informed by her award-winning work as an instructor and journalist. She is considered a pioneer in mobile journalism, 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 a recipient of the prestigious Harvard University Nieman Foundation Visiting Journalism Fellowship too.

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.

Selected Publications:
  1. Richardson, A. V. (2021). We have enough proof. Vox.
  2. Richardson, A. V. (2020). Smartphone witnessing becomes synonymous with black patriotism after George Floyd’s death. Blavity.
  3. Richardson, A. V. (2020). Mobile phone videos of black people dying are sacred, like lynching photographs. Consortium News.
  4. Richardson, A. (2020). Bearing witness while black: African Americans, smartphones and the new protest #journalism. New York: Oxford University Press.
  5. Richardson, A. V. (2019). Dismantling respectability: The rise of new womanist communication models in the era of Black Lives Matter. Journal of Communication.
  6. Richardson, A. V. (2017). Bearing witness while black: Theorizing African American mobile journalism after Ferguson. Digital Journalism, 5(6), 673–698.