Directors and Senior Research Fellow


Matthew Powers is Associate Professor in the Department of Communication and Co-Director of the Center for Journalism, Media and Democracy. His research explores transformations in contemporary journalism through a comparative lens. His first book, NGOs as Newsmakers: The Changing Landscape of International News, examines the growing role non-governmental organizations play in shaping–and in some cases directly producing–international news coverage of humanitarian and human rights issues. With Adrienne Russell, he is co-editor of Rethinking Media for Changing Societies, which features leading scholars examining pressing issues confronting researchers of media and politics. For several years, he has been engaged in a comparative analysis of journalism in France and the United States with Sandra Vera-Zambrano.

At the University of Washington, Powers teaches undergraduate courses in ethics and comparative media. At the graduate level, he teaches courses and advises students in qualitative and comparative research methods, and the sociology of journalism and cultural production. He received his Ph.D. in Media, Culture and Communication from New York University. Before entering the academy, he worked as a journalist at the Burlington Free Press in Vermont.

Adrienne Russell is Mary Laird Wood Professor in the Department of Communication. Her research and teaching focus on the changing field of journalism. She studies the intersection of emerging technologies and pressing social problems, with an eye toward how these changes can cultivate innovation and new practices and values that bolster democratic and participatory publics. She has written on media producers in countries around the world. She spotlights ways national and transnational media systems in the networked era are evolving and explores the ways different media systems influence content and practice. Russell’s work includes study of activists, technologists, media publics and others who shape information products and spaces.  As part of the larger exploration of journalism and activism, Russell’s work explores several specific contemporary issues, including the climate crisis, surveillance, and protest movements.

Before joining the Department of Communication faculty at the University of Washington, Russell was Director of Graduate Studies for the Department of Media, Film, and Journalism Studies and associate professor with a joint appointment in Media, Film, and Journalism and Emergent Digital Practices at the University of Denver. Before that, she was an assistant professor in the Department of Global Communication at the American University of Paris.  She has also held fellowships with the Annenberg Center at University of Southern California and the Department of Media and Communication at London School of Economics.


Senior Research Fellow

Lance Bennett received his Ph.D. in political science from Yale University in 1974, and has taught since then at the University of Washington, where he is Ruddick C. Lawrence Professor Communication and Professor of Political Science. Bennett founded the Center for Communication and Civic Engagement (, which became the Center for Journalism, Media and Democracy in 2020.

Bennett has lectured internationally on media and information systems in civic life. His current research interests include: press-government relations and the quality of public information; communication and social movements; transnational activism; citizenship and youth civic engagement, digital media and political participation, and modeling the organization of technology enabled crowds. His current work focuses on how to better align thinking about the economy, democracy and the environment in order to build more equitable and sustainable human systems on the planet.