Rachel Davis Mersey is an associate professor at Medill and is the Senior Director of Research for Northwestern University’s Media Management Center. She is also a Fellow at
Northwestern Institute for Policy Research. Her specialization is in audience understanding. The focus of her work is on the craft of journalism and its impact on identity, sense of community, and social capital. She believes that these relationships deserve to be understood in a manner that can enhance professional decision-making when it comes to new product development and ongoing news and content management. Her aim is to improve the practice of journalism and content creation in a manner that enhances organization’s connections with individuals. Her research has been published in journals across a variety of disciplines and presented at academic and industry conferences. She has done work on young adults and newspapers, and on local information needs. She also served as an advisory member to the Knight Commission on the Information Needs of Communities in a Democracy, jointly organized by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Aspen Institute Her first book, Can Journalism Be Saved? Rediscovering America’s Appetite for News, was published by Praeger in August 2010.