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Nicole Smith Dahmen is an Associate Professor at the School of Journalism and Communication at the University of Oregon. Dahmen approaches her scholarship through a normative lens, asking not just what journalism is, but what it should be. In a time of journalistic disruption, an overabundance of negative and sensational news, extreme political partisanship, and low levels of public trust in the news media, journalism can and should do better. Her research often illuminates journalism’s shortcomings, not to criticize unjustly, but to advocate for the principles of professional, credible, and ethical journalism in a democracy. Dahmen has gained a national and international reputation for her scholarship, which falls into three key areas, sometimes standing alone but more frequently intersecting: visual journalism, ethics, and contextual reporting. In sum, her research seeks to advance public-interest journalism—reporting that holds the powerful accountable, elevates underrepresented voices, and makes a positive impact in society. Her research, while academic in nature, has critical implications for the journalism profession, which is paramount in a professional discipline. When journalism is stronger and more just, society is better served.

Dahmen’s research is published in such diverse and leading journals as American Behavioral Scientist, Journalism Studies, Digital Journalism, and Journalism: Theory, Practice and Criticism. And due to the subject matter of her research, her work is also published in the two leading journals for visual scholarship, Visual Communication Quarterly and Visual Communication. She has presented more than 40 conference papers, with top paper awards at both the AEJMC and ICA conferences. Dahmen is co-director of The Catalyst Journalism Project and the co-coordinator of the Charles Snowden Program for Excellence in Journalism. She is on the editorial boards of Visual Communication Quarterly and Newspaper Research Journal.

Dahmen also has extensive professional design experience, ranging from the development of content to design and production for multiple platforms. She has been working with desktop publishing software since the mid-1990s and has developed and executed extensive print and multimedia materials.

Dahmen spent seven years at the Manship School of Mass Communication at Louisiana State University as an assistant and later as an associate professor prior to joining the faculty at the SOJC. She blogs about visual communication in the digital age at