An Interview with Michelle Ferrier, Associate Dean for Innovation, Research/Creative Activity, Ohio University's Scripps College of Communication

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Name With the Face: Michelle Ferrier

Job Title: Associate Dean for Innovation, Research/Creative Activity, and Graduate Studies

Organization: Ohio University's Scripps College of Communication



Job Function

In her role at Ohio University's Scripps College of Communication, Michelle Ferrier studies innovation and entrepreneurship in media. "My primary research work is around harassment," says Ferrier, who founded TrollBusters (, a digital tool to combat online harassment against women journalists, bloggers, and publishers.

Ferrier also founded the Media Deserts Project, an initiative that uses geographic information system (GIS) technologies along with digital ethnography and content analyses to map the reach and penetration of newspapers. "This lets us see which communities lack access to fresh news and information to inform and educate the public," she says. The project identifies media national deserts, breaking down data by state to uncover underserved populations.

In a Day's Work

Given her role at Scripps, Ferrier spends much of her day working with grad students. "I'm also often collaborating with external universities and corporations, planning and conducting interviews, and writing- articles and grants alike." She takes pains to add, "We are not off in the summer months just because we work at a university. That's a myth."

Most Memorable Customer Encounter

"One of my research assistants on the Media Deserts project was an emancipated youth-a young man who had been a foster child and was putting himself through college. He took on a new discipline (mass communication) to apply it to his geography/geographic information systems background and created wonderful maps of our nation's media ecosystem. Before he graduated in spring 2015, he helped secure a grant for services for other foster youths at the university."

View From the Desk

"In my office, I face a whiteboard that lists all my current projects and travel, which keeps me highly motivated and reminds me of the daily impact of my work around the world. I also keep a troll doll someone gave me on top of a lamp in my office."

Outside Interest

"I'm an avid gardener. I also enjoy painting, although that is more of a special occasion hobby. I also like renovating old furniture and basically leaving things better than I found them."

If Not Econtent, Then What?

"I'd be an astronaut. I studied aerospace engineering and worked for NASA for several summers in high school. I always liked the cultural ambassadorship aspect of being an astronaut; it's something I strive to do in my current work."