MIC People


Victor Pickard
Dr. Pickard is an Associate Professor of Communication at the Annenberg School for Communication. His research focuses on the history and political economy of media institutions, media activism, the future of journalism, and the politics and normative foundations of media policy. With Robert McChesney, he is the co-editor of the book Will the Last Reporter Please Turn out the Lights (The New Press), and the author of America’s Battle for Media Democracy (Cambridge). More

Todd Wolfson
Dr. Wolfson is Associate Professor of Journalism and Media Studies at Rutgers University and the digital media coordinator for the Master of Communication and Media program. His research focuses on the intersection of new media and contemporary social movements and he is author of “Digital Rebellion: The Birth of the Cyber Left” and co-editor of the forthcoming volume, “Great Refusal: Herbert Marcuse and Contemporary Social Movements.” Wolfson believes in the importance of engaged scholarship that leads to tangible action in the world, and to that end, he is a co-founder of the Media Mobilizing Project (MMP) based in Philadelphia, PA. More


Briar Smith is the Center’s program manager where she manages the Center’s grants, research endeavors, conferences, and the COMPASS program. She was formerly the Associate Director at the Center for Global Communication Studies at Annenberg where she oversaw the Center’s global grants, managed other research initiatives, and coauthored many CGCS/partner publications. While a graduate student at Annenberg, her research was focused on international cultural communications with particular focus on China and the Middle East. Briar has a Master’s degree in Communication from the University of Pennsylvania and a BAs in Chinese Language and Literature and Psychology from Swarthmore College.

Barbara “Barbie” Izquierdo is MIC’s Tech Exchange Fellow. She was born and raised in North Philadelphia in the Hunting Park section of the city. Since 2008, she has advocated for food justice, to end poverty and shared access to resources including mental health and drug and alcohol services. Barbara has organized behind victims of crime and domestic violence to empower and motivate others to use their voice in seeking justice. Working with the Pennsylvania Domestic Workers Alliance, Barbie is collaborating to organize Philadelphia’s 16,000 domestic workers and ensure they receive the paid time off through Alia, an online benefits platform created by NDWA Labs by and for domestic workers. This joint project between MIC and NWDA, made possible in part by funding from the Media Democracy Fund, supports an innovative breakthrough in providing legally mandated benefits for gig economy workers through the Philadelphia Domestic Workers Bill of Rights.

Barbie is one of 11 2019-2020 Fellows funded, in part, by the Ford/MDF Technology Exchange.


Chenjerai Kumanyika is a researcher, journalist, an artist who works as an assistant professor in Rutgers University’s Department of Journalism and Media Studies. His research and teaching focus on the intersections of social justice and emerging media in the cultural and creative industries. He has written about these issues in journals such as Popular Music & Society, Popular Communication, The Routledge Companion to Advertising and Promotional Culture and Technology, Pedagogy and Education. Currently, Kumanyika is the Co-Executive Producer and Co-Host of Gimlet Media’s new podcast on the Civil War. He has also been a contributor to Transom, NPR Codeswitch, All Things Considered, Invisibilia, VICE, and he is a news analyst for Rising Up Radio with Sonali Kolhatkar. More

Jeffrey Lane is Assistant Professor of Communication at Rutgers. He is an urban ethnographer who writes about communication and community in the life of the inner city. His research integrates face-to-face and digital fieldwork to understand how interpersonal relations and ties between people and institutions unfold over time. He studies urban communication and social life, specifically adolescent street life in the digital age. More

Clemencia Rodríguez has a PhD in International Telecommunication and a Master’s Degree in Communication and Development from Ohio University. She completed a BA in Communication at Universidad Javeriana in Bogotá, Colombia. Rodríguez is a Colombian US-based media and communication scholar recognized for her role in establishing and promoting the field of alternative and community media studies, notably through her work on ‘citizens’ media.’ In her book titled Fissures in the Mediascape: An International Study of Citizens’ Media (2001), Rodríguez developed her “citizens’ media theory,” a ground-breaking approach to understanding the role of community/alternative media in our societies. Her research explores how communities that engage in their own media production revise understandings of self, re-name the world, and activate individual and collective processes of empowerment and social change. More

Jessica Kate Crowell is a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication at Trinity University. Jessica’s ethnographic research addresses the intersection of media and social justice issues, including information access and policy; digital inequality; and, online labor. Her work has appeared in Communication, Culture & Critique; The Journal of Media Literacy Education; and, A Digital Journalism. Jessica has also authored governmental policy papers on broadband access in low-income urban communities for the U.S. Broadband Technology Opportunities Program, the New Jersey State Board of Public Utilities, and the New Jersey Office of Information Technology. More

Steve Viscelli is a Robert and Penny Fox Family Pavilion Scholar, Senior Fellow at the Kleinman Center for Energy Policy, and a lecturer in the Department of Sociology at the University of Pennsylvania. He studies work, labor markets and public policy related to freight transportation, automation and energy. His first book, The Big Rig: Trucking and the Decline of the American Dream (UC Press, 2016), examines how long-haul trucking went from being one of the best to one of the toughest blue-collar jobs in the US after the industry was deregulated and new communications technology introduced. Steve is currently working on two interrelated research projects. The first is a book project that explores the policy and politics of self-driving trucks and their potential impacts on labor and the environment (first report available at: www.driverlessreport.org). The second looks at the impacts of ecommerce and technology on last-mile freight delivery and related policy to ensure job quality in goods movement. In addition to his academic research, Steve works with a wide variety of public and private stakeholders to solve real-world problems in freight transportation.

Joseph Torres is the Senior Director of Strategy and Engagement at Free Press. Joseph advocates in Washington to ensure that our nation’s media policies serve the public interest and builds coalitions to broaden the movement’s base. Joseph writes frequently on media and internet issues and is the co-author of the New York Times bestseller News for All the People: The Epic Story of Race and the American Media. He is the 2015 recipient of the Everett C. Parker Award, which recognizes an individual whose work embodies the principles and values of the public interest. Before joining Free Press, Joseph worked as deputy director of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists and was a journalist for several years. He earned a degree in communications from the College of Staten Island.

Bryan Mercer has served as the Executive Director of the Media Mobilizing Project since 2013. He has led a number of major programs areas, including a collaboration with nearly two-dozen partner organizations to create Keyspots, a city-wide digital literacy program to broaden internet access. Bryan is committed to using strategic media and communications to strengthen and connect communities organizing for their human rights, and he frequently leads trainings and workshops to share practices for media in organizing. Bryan also works on state and national media policy advocacy, and serves as a board member of the Center for Media Justice, which is committed to a ground-up approach to securing media rights and access.  Bryan received his bachelor’s degree from Columbia University in Anthropology and Comparative Ethnic Studies.


Lauren Bridges conducts research at the intersection of media, technology, and policy; her interests include media industries, digital labor, global media systems, digital methods, and the political economy of media and communication. Before coming to the Annenberg School, she worked in academic publishing and nonprofits aimed at advancing social policy research. More

Antoine Haywood is a doctoral student at the Annenberg School for Communication. Prior to studying at Annenberg, he spent fifteen years working in public access television and community radio in Atlanta and Philadelphia. During his professional career, he has played an active role in building the field of community media through his work with the Alliance for Community Media, National Alliance for Media Arts and Culture, Allied Media Project, Rockwood Leadership Institute, Media Action Grassroots Network, and the Youth Media Reporter. Antoine holds a B.A. in English from Morehouse College and an M.A. in Media Studies from the New School University and his research interests include media activism, public policy reform, and community-based models for access to education. Beyond his extensive work as a media activist, he is also a video producer, guitarist, and vinyl DJ. Antoine is a proud native of West Palm Beach, Florida.

Henry Boachi‘s research explores the intersections of media and social movements. Specifically, his research covers social movements aimed at Blacks, including those in Africa and Blacks in the diaspora. He is also interesting in researching ethnic media. He worked previously as a journalist and communication practitioner before enrolling in Rutgers University’s Media Studies PhD program.

Matt Reichel is a doctoral student specializing in the interplay between digital communication technologies and social movements, with a focus on teachers’ movements. His supporting interests include revolutionary theory, autonomist Marxism, radical pedagogy, and alternative journalism. Prior to commencing his doctoral studies at Rutgers, Reichel worked as a freelance writer and journalist for several reputable online publications, including Alternet and Counterpunch. Reichel obtained his undergraduate degree in political science and history at the University of Illinois (Urbana) and his Master’s in diplomacy and international relations at the American Graduate School of Paris. His research currently focuses on developing the theoretical foundations for explaining the emergence of teachers’ movements in recent years, specifically the role of discourse and pedagogy in realizing radical breaks in social consciousness and structure, and how the interaction between ideas, discourse and social structure have been disrupted by the concomitant forces of digitization and economic crisis.

Pawel Popiel is interested in examining the way media are shaped through the interactions between media industries, state and nongovernmental institutions, and media users. This includes consideration of economic, legal and political dimensions of media policy issues such as online privacy, net neutrality and internet governance. In his previous work, he has also explored the effects of federal and city grant programs for local nonprofits addressing the digital divide. He holds a B.A. in Political Science from McGill University and an M.A. in Media Studies from the University of Texas at Austin. More


Aaron Shapiro holds an M.A. in Anthropology and received his Ph.D. from the Annenberg School for Communication. His research focuses on the relationship between media technologies, culture, and social inequalities, with a particular emphasis on the politics of urban development, labor, and policing and surveillance. His work has been published in Nature, New Media & Society, Media, Culture & Society, and Surveillance & Society, and he is currently preparing a book manuscript based on his dissertation research on the “smart city.” More

Brice Nixon is a Postdoctoral Visiting Scholar at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania and an Adjunct Instructor in the Department of Media Studies and Production at Temple University and. His research concerns the political economy of communication, media and cultural industries, communication policy, critical theory, and journalism studies. His research has been published in the International Journal of Communication; Journalism; Media, Culture & Society; and tripleC: Communication, Capitalism & Critique. He has a Ph.D. in Communication, with an emphasis in Media Studies and a Graduate Certificate in Critical Theory, from the University of Colorado Boulder. He was a 2011 COMPASS Communication Policy Fellow at the Media and Democracy Coalition. More

Errol Salamon is a Postdoctoral Researcher (funded by CWA Canada) and a Visiting Scholar at the University of Pennsylvania in the Annenberg School for Communication. His research interests include the history and political economy of media organizations, technology and organizational change, media work and labor, media policy reform, and communication activism in a digital age. Salamon is co-editor of the book Journalism in Crisis: Bridging Theory and Practice for Democratic Media Strategies in Canada (University of Toronto Press, 2016). His journal articles have been published in Journalism Studies, Journalism Practice, Digital Journalism, tripleC: Communication, Capitalism & Critique, and Canadian Journal of Communication. He is also a contributing editor at J-Source and a freelance writer. Salamon’s journalistic writing has been published in the Huffington Post Canada, Policy Options, rabble.ca, RankandFile.ca, and Story Board. He received his Ph.D. in Communication Studies from McGill University.