Daniela Gerson

smiling woman
Assistant Professor
Office location:
MZ 332; Office Hours: Thursday 9- 12 p.m.


As a journalist and educator, I report on immigrant and multiethnic populations and investigate how digital media can promote civic engagement in underrepresented communities.
In January, the same week the first travel ban went into effect, I created Migratory Notes, a pop-up immigration newsletter. I partnered with another experienced immigration reporter, Elizabeth Aguilera. We have never covered a time like this. So we’re doing our best to help make sense of it all. You can find an archive of past Migratory Notes here.
In fall 2016 I joined the Journalism Department at California State University, Northridge, in a new faculty position with a focus on community, ethnic and participatory media. I was also named a Senior Fellow and Consultant at the Democracy Fund, a bipartisan foundation working to ensure that our political system is able to withstand new challenges and deliver on its promise to the American people. I advise the Public Square Program on its work to strengthen ecosystem news through journalism innovation and engagement with multiethnic communities.
The previous year I worked with the Los Angeles Times as a community engagement editor. A priority was to integrate readers into the reporting process. Our projects on student immigration walkoutsclosure of LAUSDPorter Ranch gas leak, San Bernardino victim memories and iftar celebrations implemented new approaches. We also worked to reach new communities of readers via Spanish-translation with our partners at Hoy for our education coverage and used other emerging platforms such as Medium and SnapChat. Our bilingual education forum and other meetings with students, teachers and parents were great reminders of the importance of in-person community connections. And HS Insider, our youth journalism platform, grew to more than 175 schools, connecting young people of diverse backgrounds to the newspaper.
Before joining the L.A. Times, I directed the Civic Engagement and Journalism Initiative at University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. As part of that role, I was the founding editor of Alhambra Source, an award-winning multilingual community site and research project into how local news can foster civic engagement and cross linguistic and ethnic barriers. I also developed Reporter Corps, a program to train young adults to report on their own communities, and advised Intersections South LAon community outreach and site development. I served as a consultant with the Institute for Nonprofit News developing online training programs.
In addition to the L.A. Times, I have reported for the Financial Times Magazine, The New York Times, PRI’s The World, Weekend America, Der Spiegel, WNYC: New York Public Radio, among other outlets. My first newspaper job was as a staff immigration reporter for the New York Sun, where my beat included Chinese-Italian tensions in Brooklyn and Irish undocumented immigrants in the Bronx, the national immigration debate in Washington and Dominican criminal deportees in Santo Domingo.
I spent more than a year reporting from Berlin as an Alexander von Humboldt Foundation German Chancellor Scholar and Arthur F. Burns Fellow. Officially, I was researching contemporary guest worker programs in Europe. But I also danced in a frevo troupe and created a German-language radio documentary for Deutschlandradio Kultur.
I graduated from Brown University with a BA in International Relations and History, and USC Annenberg with an MA in Specialized Journalism, focusing on demographics, immigration and digital media. I speak Spanish and Portuguese (with a Carioca accent), and can get by in German and Hebrew.