Researcher, author, prof.
Dr. Valérie Bélair-Gagnon is Assistant Professor at the Hubbard School of Journalism & Mass Communication, Director of the Minnnesota Journalism Center, and Affiliated Faculty in the Department of Sociology at the University of Minnesota. She is an Affiliated Fellow at the Yale Law School Information Society Project. Previously, she was Executive Director and Research Scholar as well as Postdoctoral Fellow at the Information Society Project at Yale Law School. She has been a fellow at Oslo Metropolitan University Digital Journalism Research Group and the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University. Born in Montréal (Québec, Canada), she earned a BA in Sociology (honors) from McGill University, an MSc in Sociology from Université de Montréal, and a PhD in Sociology from City, University of London. Prior to that, she worked in communications in Montréal (corporate, non-profit, and community radio).
Areas of Expertise
Media innovation, platforms, engagement, sociology of work, and the business of journalism
Dr. Bélair-Gagnon is the author of numerous academic and policy publications in the business of media and emerging technology.
She uses qualitative methods and use hybrid methodologies and theories at the intersection of the sociology of work and organizations, and journalism studies. Her work focuses on:
Media innovation, business models and engagement;
Platforms, professional identity and digital work; and
Social media, including misinformation and user-generated content.
She is the author of Journalism Research that Matters (Oxford University Press, 2021, with Nikki Usher), The Paradox of Disconnection (under contract with Illinois University Press with Diana Bossio, Logan Molyneux and Avery Holton), and Social Media at BBC News (Routledge, 2015).
She has been speaker and presenter at conferences worldwide including the International Journalism Festival, the Online News Association and the International Communication Association annual meeting. Her work has appeared in outlets including at the Nieman Journalism Lab.
Including contributions from journalists and academics, Journalism Research That Matters offers journalists a guide on what they need to know and journalism scholars a call to action for what kind of research they can do to best help the news industry reckon with disruption. The book looks at new research developments surrounding audience behavior, social networks, and journalism business models; the challenges that scholars face in making their research available to the public and to journalists; the financial survival of quality news and information; and blind spots in the way that researchers and journalists do their work, especially around race, diversity, and inequality. A final section includes contributions from journalists about how researchers can better engage on the ground with newsrooms and media professionals.