Dr. Michelle Ferrier is the principal investigator for and founder of The Media Deserts Project. Conceived in 2010, The Media Deserts Project examines the changing media ecosystem using geographic information system technologies along with digital ethnography and content analyses. This combined approach maps changes to the ZIP code level and provides community-based detail about media conditions.
Ferrier is the vice president of Journalism That Matters, a nonprofit organization focused on helping professionals and educators navigate the new media landscape. Ferrier has received grant funding for a hyperlocal online news project, convened sponsored regional and national conferences around media entrepreneurship and community needs, and participated with a national team of researchers responding to the FCC research requests on community information needs. She can be reached at ferrierm(at)ohio(dot)edu.
In past years, she has worked with Dr. Ali Erkan, associate professor, Department of Computer Science and Department of Environmental Studies and Sciences at Ithaca College. Both Ferrier and Erkan participated in a National Science Foundation Interdisciplinary Computing Workshop in April 2011 that examined such intercollegiate collaborations. She also worked with Dr. Ryan Kirk at Elon University and with Elon University students in the School of Communications to develop the North Carolina prototype for the project.