• Journalism

Meg Heckman

Assistant Professor

Meg Heckman is a journalist, author and educator focused on building a news ecosystem that is robust, diverse and equipped to serve all segments of society. Her core research examines the practice and evolution of journalism through a feminist lens with the goal of better understanding the role women have played in the creation of news and, by extension, civic life.

And, because an important element of inclusive journalism is ensuring the tools of media innovation are available to all communities, Meg also engages in research exploring the contours of digital news production and dissemination, especially as it relates to local newspapers. She embraces a variety of qualitative practices—oral history, archival research, case studies, ethnography—and collaborates often with colleagues using quantitative methods in the digital humanities, gender studies, sociology and data science.

Her book, Political Godmother: Nackey Scripps Loeb and the Newspaper That Shook the Republican Party, documents the lasting impact of publisher and conservative activist Nackey Scripps Loeb, who, during the second half of the twentieth century, used her New Hampshire-based newspaper to shape national politics in ways that still reverberate today. The book, according to one reviewer, “not only chronicles the life of a fascinating woman but also the rise of right-wing populism in American politics and the strategies and tactics conservative media organizations… successfully implemented to foster growth over the past several decades.”

Meg strives to distribute her research in ways that contribute to building more inclusive news organizations now and in the future.  Her work has appeared in a variety of periodicals including the Columbia Journalism Review, USA Today, Poynter.org and The Conversation, as well as scholarly publications such as the Newspaper Research Journal and Teaching Journalism and Mass Communication.  She’s presented work at academic conferences in the U.S., Europe and Canada, and is a regular speaker at events for news industry leaders. In 2019, she was a delegate to the World Journalism Education Congress in Paris where her duties included serving on a committee tasked with developing best practices for gender-inclusive journalism education.

Meg teaches a mix of graduate and undergraduate classes that support students in cultivating skills in verification, story craft and audience engagement. She also developed a course that explores gender dynamics in the news industry. She is a faculty affiliate of the NULab for Texts, Maps, and Networks, an executive committee member for Northeastern’s Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies program and the vice head of AEJMC’s Commission on the Status of Women.  She is also a past president of the New Hampshire Press Association and has served twice as a Pulitzer juror.

Before coming to Northeastern in the fall of 2017, Meg was a journalism lecturer at the University of New Hampshire where she served as a faculty fellow at the Peter T. Paul Entrepreneurship Center. She spent more than a decade as a reporter and, later, the digital editor at the Concord (NH) Monitor, where she developed a fascination with presidential politics, a passion for local news and an appreciation for cars with four-wheel drive.

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Education

  • BA in English, UNH
  • MA in Journalism, NU

Awards

  • Kopenhaver Center for the Advancement of Women in Communication fellowship, 2017
  • Publick Occurrences Award, New England Newspaper & Press Association, 2011
  • Donald M. Murray Award for Outstanding Journalism, New Hampshire Writers’ Project, 2011
  • Best online engagement, New England Associated Press News Editors Association, 2011
  • Best use of social media, New Hampshire Press Association, 2011

Professional Experience

  • Online and community engagement editor, Concord (NH) Monitor
  • Reporter, Concord (NH) Monitor

Courses Taught

  • JRNL 2201: Intermediate Reporting
  • JRNL 6340: Fundamentals of Digital Journalism
  • JRNL 6201: Enterprise Reporting 2
  • JRNL 1101: Fundamentals of Reporting
  • JRNL 5250: Gender in the Newsroom

Research/Publications Highlights

Heckman, Meg and Maya Homan.* “The Syllabus is a Boys’ Club: The Paucity of Woman Authors in Journalism Course Materials.” Teaching Journalism and Mass Communication, (December, 2020.)

 

Heckman, Meg. “Conflicted: Student Media Advisors, Sexual Assault Coverage and Mandatory Reporting Under Title IX.” In Testing Tolerance: Addressing Controversy in the Journalism and Mass Communication Classroom, edited by Candi Carter Olson and Tracy Everbach. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, July 2020.

 

Heckman, Meg. Political Godmother: Nackey Scripps Loeb and the Newspaper That Shook the Republican Party. Lincoln, Nebraska: Potomac Books/University of Nebraska Press, June 2020.

 

Heckman, Meg. “The New Hampshire publisher who became the ‘Political Godmother’ of the modern Right.” Politico Magazine, February 7, 2020.

 

Heckman, Meg and Laurel Leff. “Protections against sexual misconduct on campus may end up stifling free speech.” The Conversation, November 22, 2019.

 

Heckman, Meg. “How this j school brought real world learning into the classroom.” Poynter.org, October 1, 2019.

 

Heckman, Meg and John Wihbey. “Mobile Matters—and publishers must remember that, even when resources are limited.”Poynter.org, June 21, 2019.

 

Heckman, Meg, and John Wihbey. “The Local-Mobile Paradox: Missed Innovation Opportunities at Local Newspapers.” Newspaper Research Journal, (May 2019). doi:10.1177/0739532919835610.

 

Heckman, Meg. “Meryl Streep as Katharine Graham in ‘The Post’ can help fix #MeToo media damage.”USA Today. January 5, 2018.

 

Heckman, Meg. “Used carefully, chatbots can be an asset to newsrooms.” Columbia Journalism Review. March 23, 2018.

Heckman, Meg. “Female leadership in the new news ecosystem.”Media Report to Women. Spring 2014.

 

Heckman, Meg “Women were digital media pioneers, but there’s still a gender gap there.” Columbia Journalism Review. March 24, 2014.

 

Heckman, Meg. “Software seeks to measure women’s participation in journalism.” Poynter.org. September 4, 2013.

Professional Affiliations

Service

• Development committee member, Journalism and Women Symposium. 2014-2017

• Regional captain, Journalism and Women Symposium. Ongoing

• Juror for breaking news, The Pulitzer Prizes. February 2016

• Judge for multiple reporting categories, New Hampshire Press Association. January 2016

• Juror for local reporting, The Pulitzer Prizes. February 2015

• Judge for online categories, New England Newspaper and Press Association. December 2012

• Board member, New Hampshire Press Association. October 2009 – August 2012

• President, New Hampshire Press Association. October 2010 – December 2011

 

Professional training

• Solutions journalism workshop, Concord, NH, May 2015

• Local Independent Online News Publishers’ Summit, Columbia College Chicago, October 2013

• New Media Women Entrepreneurs, National Press Club, September 2013

• Investigative journalism fellowship, New England First Amendment Institute, 2012

• National Freedom of Information Summit, Providence, RI, May, 2011

• Multi-platform reporting fellowship, The Poynter Institute, 2008

• Reporting and writing fellowship, The Poynter Institute, 2001

 

Memberships

• Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication Journalism and Women Symposium

 

Research Interests

  • digital storytelling
  • journalism/media entrepreneurship