• Journalism

John P. Wihbey

Assistant Professor of Journalism and Media Innovation; Head of Graduate Programs

John Wihbey is an assistant professor of journalism and media innovation at Northeastern University, where he heads the graduate programs in the School of Journalism. He is a faculty affiliate with the Global Resilience Institute and the NULab for Texts, Maps, and Networks. His forthcoming book is The Social Fact: News and Knowledge in a Networked World (spring 2019, MIT Press). He is on the advisory board of Project Information Literacy and has been an advisor to media and social media companies. 

Having worked in newspapers, radio, and digital media, he helped found and oversee the Journalist’s Resource project at Harvard’s Shorenstein Center, where he continues to serve as a consultant. His recent research has included projects on state government financial disclosure; foundation funding of news nonprofits; and news literacy and engagement among college students

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  • A.B., Bowdoin College (magna cum laude)
  • M.A., Middlebury College
  • M.S., Columbia University


  • Research support from: Stanton Foundation, Facebook, Barr Foundation, Heising-Simons Foundation, Knight Foundation.
  • Dean's Research Fellow, College of Arts, Media and Design, Northeastern University. (2017-18)
  • Top Research Paper Award, International Symposium on Online Journalism (ISOJ). (April 21, 2017)
  • Second Place Faculty Award, AEJMC Research Conference, Newspaper and Online News Division (May 31, 2016).

Professional Experience

  • Assistant Director, Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School
  • Lecturer, Boston University College of Communications
  • Producer and Digital Editor, "On Point," WBUR-Boston/NPR
  • Reporter, The Star-Ledger (New Jersey)
  • Freelance writer/ correspondent, The Boston Globe, Yale Climate Connections, Pacific Standard, Land Lines (Lincoln Institute of Land Policy)

Courses Taught

  • Telling Your Story with Data
  • Digital Journalism and Social Media
  • Fundamentals of Digital Journalism
  • Understanding Today's News (honors)
  • Media and Advocacy in Theory and Practice

Research/Publications Highlights

• “The Social Silos of Journalism: Twitter, News Media, and Partisan Segregation,” (co-author) New Media & Society (forthcoming)

• “Credentialing Issues,” The International Encyclopedia of Journalism (forthcoming)

“How Students Engage with News: Five Takeaways for Educators, Journalists, and Librarians,” (co-author), Report, Project Information Literacy Research Institute, October 16, 2018

• “The Local-Mobile Paradox: Missed Innovation Opportunities and the Future of Local News,” (co-author) Newspaper and Online News Division, Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication Conference, August 2018

“Funding the News: Foundations and Nonprofit Media,” (co-author) Working Paper, Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy, June 18, 2018

Predicting News Coverage of Scientific Articles,” (co-author) Proceedings of the Twelfth International Conference on Web and Social Media, ICWSM 2018

• “State-level Policies for Personal Financial Disclosure: Exploring the Potential for Public Knowledge on Conflict-of-Interest Issues,” (co-author) Law & Policy Division, Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication Conference, August 2017

“Collaborative, Open, Mobile: A Thematic Exploration of Best Practices at the Forefront of Digital Journalism,” (co-author) Working Paper, Storybench.org Project, Northeastern University School of Journalism, May 26, 2017

“Knowing the Numbers: Assessing Attitudes among Journalists and Educators about Using and Interpreting Data, Statistics, and Research,” (co-author) #ISOJ — The Official Journal of the International Symposium on Online Journalism, April 2017

“Journalists’ Use of Knowledge in an Online World,” Journalism Practice, Nov. 3, 2016

“Communicating about Climate Change with Journalists and Media Producers,” (co-author) Oxford Research Encyclopedias, Climate Science, Jan. 2016

“The Challenges of Democratizing News and Information: Examining Data on Social Media, Viral Patterns and Digital Influence,” Discussion Paper Series, Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School, June 6, 2014

“Who Gets a Press Pass? Media Credentialing Practices in the United States,” (co-author) Berkman Center Research Publication, Harvard University, June 5, 2014


Select media publications:

“It Is Really Hard to Know What is Real,” Nieman Reports, Oct. 16, 2018

• ‘“200 Years of U.S. Immigration Looks Like the Rings of a Tree,” National Geographic, June 28, 2018

“The Syrian Migrant Crisis You’ve Never Heard of—and Why It Matters Today,” Pacific Standard, March 9, 2017

“There Are Huge Holes in How the U.S. States Investigate Politicians’ Conflicts of Interest,” The Washington Post, Jan. 12, 2017

“Why It’s So Hard to See Politicians’ Financial Data,” The New York Times, Oct. 4, 2016

“Big Data’s Impending Struggle to Combat Climate Change,” Pacific Standard, April 23, 2016

“From ‘Facebook Revolution’ to ‘Twitter Jihad’: Five Years on, How We Got from Tunisia and the Arab Spring to Where We are Now,” Pacific Standard, Dec. 17, 2015

“The Looming Battle for Clean Data,” The Boston Globe, Nov. 22, 2015

“Does the Secret to Social Networking Lie in the Remote Jungle?” The Boston Globe, Oct. 4, 2015

“Agricultural Drones May Change the Way We Farm,” The  Boston Globe, Aug. 22, 2015

“At Sea in a Deluge of Data,” Chronicle of Higher Education, July 7, 2014

“Rethinking Viral: Why the Digital World is Not as Democratic as We Think,” Pacific Standard, June 9, 2014

“Aaron Swartz and the Cause of Openness,” The Boston Globe, Jan. 8, 2014

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