Influential researchers

In 2013, Deen Freelon, PhD, an assistant professor at American University, created a brilliant co-citation map of the major theoretical works in Communication. The result is a networked landscape of nine major theoretical groups and the influential academics within and across groups. For the full list of researchers and groups, see Dr. Freelon’s interactive visualization here. Here is his blog post, explicating his method and more details about the theories.

Source: Deen Freelon,
Source: Deen Freelon,

Below is a list of major researchers, linked out to their Google Scholar pages, in the Media and Communications field. Some are pulled from Freelon’s map and others added in. There are many more than those listed, but these can be a good place from which to start in an exploration of foundational emerging media research works.

Boczkowski, Pablo J., Professor & Director, Program in Leadership for Creative Enterprises, Northwestern University
Media, Technology, Innovation, Institutions, Politics

boyd, danah, Principal Researcher, Microsoft Research and Research Assistant Professor, New York University
Social media, Youth culture, Internet studies, Big data

Campbell, Scott W., Associate Professor, Pohs Professor of Telecommunication, University of Michigan
New media, Mobile communication, Social networks, Civic life

Contractor, Noshir, Jane S. & William J. White Professor of Behavioral Sciences, Northwestern University
Social and knowledge network analysis, Communication technologies, Computational modeling, Longitudinal methods

Dixon, Travis L., Associate Professor, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Communication, Mass communication, Media effects, Stereotyping

Dutton, William, Quello Professor of Media and Information Policy
Internet, Communication, Media, Society, Politics

Ellison, Nicole B., Professor, School of Information, University of Michigan
Computer-mediated communication, Social network sites, Social media, Facebook, Online dating

Esser, Frank, Professor of International and Comparative Media Research, University of Zurich
Political communication, Journalism, Comparing media systems

Fiske, Susan, Eugene Higgins Professor, Psychology & Public Affairs, Princeton University
Social psychology, Social neuroscience

Freelon, Deen, Assistant Professor of Communication, American University
Political communication, Network analysis, Content analysis, Computational methods, Social media

Gil de Zúñiga, Homero, Holds the Medienwandel Professorship, and directs (MiLab) at University of Vienna
Political communication, Media innovation, Social media, Political behavior, Citizenship

Groshek, Jacob, Assistant Professor, Digital Media and Methods, Boston University
Media, Communication, Politics, Technology, Democratic change

Guo, Lei, Assistant Professor, Boston University
Media effects, Emerging/Digital media, Network analysis, Alternative media, International communication

Humphreys, Lee, Associate Professor of Communication, Cornell University
Mobile social media, privacy, Historicizing media practices

Kreiss, Daniel, Assistant Professor, School of Journalism and Mass Communication, UNC-Chapel Hill
Politics, Campaigns, Media, Social movements, Collective action

Lewis Seth C., Associate Professor, School of Journalism and Mass Communication, University of Minnesota
Journalism, Technology, Innovation, Media sociology, Media work

Newhagen, John, Associate Proressor Emeritus, University of Maryland
Emotion, New media, Memory, Access

Nisbet, Erik, Ohio State University
Political communication, Science communication, Comparative politics, Public opinion

Nisbet, Matthew C., Associate Professor, Northeastern University
Environmental politics, Public Oopinion, Science communication, Political communication, Environmental communication

Papacharissi, Zizi, Professor and Head, Communication, University of Illinois at Chicago
New media, Political engagement, Sociality

Reeves, Byron, Professor of Communication, Stanford University
Media psychology

Shah, Devavrat, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Statistical inference, Networks, Algorithms, Communications

Tuchman, Gaye, Sociology, University of Connecticut
Higher education, Cultural sociology, Gender

Tufekci, Zeynep, University of North Carolina, Princeton CITP, and Harvard Berkman
Social media, Internet, Sociology, Privacy, Social movements

Turkle, Sherry, Rockefeller Mauzé Professor of the Social Studies of Science and Technology, Director, MIT Initiative on Technology and Self Program in Science, Technology, and Society, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Mobile technology, Social networking, Sociable robotics

Van Dijck, Jose, University of Amsterdam
Cultural analysis, Cross-cultural studies, Media theory, New media technology, Cultural history of information technology and media

Walther, Joseph B., Professor, Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information, Nanyang Technological University,
Computer-mediated communication (CMC), Social media, Internet

Wanta, Wayne, University of Florida
Political communication, Media effects, Sports journalism, Visual communication

Wellman, Barry, Professor of Sociology, University of Toronto
Social networks, Internet and society, Mobile phones and society