Dr. Valerie Belair-Gagnon is executive director and research scholar at the Yale Information Society Project. Her research focuses on media sociology, social media, news production, global media, and media institutions. Previously she was a postdoctoral fellow and Knight Law and Media Program Director at the ISP. She has a PhD in Sociology and Global Communication from City University London, a MSc in Sociology from Université de Montréal, and a BA in Sociology from McGill University. Her first monograph, Social Media at BBC News: The Re-Making of Crisis Reporting, was published by Routledge in 2015.
Valerie’s Tow Fellowship project, Meeting in Digital Spaces: News Organizations Using Chat Apps to Cover Political Unrest, explores the ways that journalists at major American and other Western news organizations (e.g. the BBC, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Quartz, Storyful, Bloomberg, Reuters, AP, and others) are using chat apps as meeting, newsgathering and distribution tools in coverage of domestic and international stories. It analyzes how journalists covered fast-moving events on different chat apps, the ways that journalistic chat app usage followed and differed from practices in “traditional” social media reporting in previous crisis events (e.g. Occupy Wall Street, the Boston Marathon bombing, the Arab Spring protests, and the 2009 Tehran protests), and the spaces that are now features of reporting and news production.