Dr. Valérie Bélair-Gagnon is Associate Professor and Cowles Fellow in Media Management at the Hubbard School of Journalism & Mass Communication. She is also a Waldfogel Scholars of the College of Liberal Arts (2023-26) and McKnight Presidential Fellow (2022-2025) at the University of Minnesota. Her affiliations include: the Department of Communication as Oslo Metropolitan University, the Department of Sociology at the University of Minnesota and Yale Law School Information Society Project.

Prior to joining the University of Minnesota, she was Executive Director and Research Scholar (2014-16) as well as Postdoctoral Fellow (2013-14) at the Information Society Project at Yale Law School and Fellow at Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University (2016). Born in Montréal (Québec, Canada), she earned a BA in Sociology (honors) from McGill University, an MSc in Sociology from Université de Montréal, and a PhD in Sociology from City, University of London. Prior to that, she worked in communications and project management in Montréal (corporate, non-profit, and community radio). 

She uses qualitative methods and use hybrid methodologies and theories at the intersection of the sociology of work/organizations and journalism studies. She is the author of The Paradox of Connection (Illinois University Press, 2024, with Diana Bossio, Logan Molyneux and Avery E. Holton), Happiness in Journalism (Routledge, 2023, with Avery E. Holton, Mark Deuze and Claudia Mellado), Journalism Research that Matters (Oxford University Press, 2021, with Nikki Usher), and Social Media at BBC News (Routledge, 2015). She is also currently working on The Happiness in Journalism Project with Mark Deuze (U of Amsterdam, Netherlands), Avery Holton (U of Utah, USA), and Claudia Mellado (Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso, Chile).

Her area of interests are: media innovation, engagement, sociology of work, happiness and well-being, and the business of journalism.

Educational Background & Specialties
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Educational Background

  • B.A.: Sociology, McGill University, 2004
  • M.Sc.: Sociology, Université de Montréal, 2007
  • Ph.D.: Sociology, City University London, 2013


  • Journalism studies
  • Audience engagement
  • Media management
  • Digital news innovation
  • Well being and happiness in organizations
  • Media work and labor