Project Team

Project Director: Dr. Michelle Ferrier

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What do you hope to accomplish?
I believe that we are at an inflection point when we develop new ways of framing our actions at the local level and of rebuilding trust between ourselves and our neighbors. How can we rebuild or create local communication systems such that residents are integral to driving dialogue, deliberation, vision and action toward community goals that are inclusive?

Dr. Michelle Ferrier is the principal investigator of the Media Deserts Project that maps media penetration at the ZIP Code level in the United States. She is the founder of, a service for women journalists who are targets of online harassment. She is the 2017 SXSW Dewey Winburne community service award recipient for her work with TrollBusters. Ferrier is a former columnist with a Florida newspaper and as a developer of online communities for commercial and nonprofit organizations. Ferrier is an associate professor at the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University. She holds a Ph.D. in Texts and Technology from the University of Central Florida and a master’s in journalism from the University of Memphis with research interests in digital identity and reputation management, online communities, hyperlocal online news and media entrepreneurship. She is a co-author on "Further Down the Virtual Vines: Managing Community-Based Work in Virtual Public Spaces," in Management and Participation in the Public Sphere and co-author of "Media Deserts: Monitoring the Changing Media Ecosystem," in The Communication Crisis in America and How to Fix It, eds. Mark Lloyd and Lewis Friedland.