Jacob Nelson is an assistant professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. He uses qualitative and quantitative methods to study the changing relationship between journalism and the public.
He is the author of "Imagined Audiences: How Journalists Perceive and Pursue the Public" (Oxford University Press, 2021). The book draws on ethnographic data collected from the Chicago Tribune, City Bureau, and Hearken to examine how journalists' think about and approach their audiences. Nelson complements these data with audience studies research to explore the extent to which journalists' assumptions about their audiences align with how audiences actually behave.
His current Tow project uses the news industry's unfolding efforts to make audience engagement central to news production as an opportunity to learn how journalism is changing, who within the field has the power to change it, and why they believe it should change.