Michelle Ferrier, Ph.D. is an avid gardener, herbalist and local food evangelist. She is also associate dean for innovation, research/creative activity and graduate studies at the Scripps College of Communication at Ohio University.
Michelle is a national advocate for journalism entrepreneurship and hyperlocal journalism, particularly in diverse and underserved communities. She is vice president of Journalism That Matters (JTM), a collaborative of educators, practitioners, community advocates and others remaking the media landscape. In the past three years through JTM, she spearheaded two conferences focused on the design, build and pitch of media projects by or for people of color or need. Journalism That Matters “Create or Die 2” was hosted in Greensboro in 2011; “Create or Die 1” was in Detroit in 2010.
She has been a frequent speaker, panelist and invited guest at conferences focused on digital entrepreneurship and was selected as a fellow at the inaugural Scripps Howard Journalism Entrepreneurship Workshop held in January 2012 at Arizona State University. She continues to be a tireless advocate for underrepresented communities in the new media landscape and recently launched the “media deserts” research project that seeks to make visible through GIS technology those communities for whom fresh local news and information is lacking. Her work has drawn national interest as it speaks to the concerns of the Federal Communications Commission and the Knight Commission reports on the information needs of communities. She is working with a broad coalition of diverse advocates such as the Poynter Institute, UNITY NewU program, the Comcast DreamItVentures and communications colleagues at higher education institutions across the country to create a media ecosystem that educates and nurtures media entrepreneurship by and for communities of color.
Michelle launched LocallyGrownNews.com almost four years ago with a grant from the New Women’s Media Entrepreneurship program run by J-Lab and the McCormick Foundation. Her initial site focused on Alamance, Guilford and Forsyth Counties. Since then, she has expanded with national content on food policy issues. She has grown the online resource and her visibility within the community and nationally in those two years.
Nationally, Michelle has been a featured speaker at BlogHer Business | Entrepreneurship | Technology and BlogHer Food as a result of her work on LocallyGrownNews.com. She has also been a featured speaker and sponsored participant at other professional conferences such as the Online News Association and the National Association of Black Journalists.