Vox Conversations

Vox Conversations brings you discussions between the brightest minds and the deepest thinkers; conversations that will cause you to question old assumptions and think about the world and our role in it in a new light. Join Sean Illing, Jamil Smith, and their colleagues across the Vox newsroom for new episodes every Monday and Thursday.



The news is by — and for — rich, white liberals

Vox’s Sean Illing talks with professor and media researcher Nikki Usher about her new book News for the Rich, White, and Blue, which documents systemic problems in the ways journalists and institutions decide what counts as news and whom the news is for. They discuss racial, gender, and class biases in the industry, developing a “post-newspaper consciousness,” and the role of place in shaping our civic life.

Host: Sean Illing (@seanilling), Interviews Writer, Vox

Guest: Nikki Usher (@nikkiusher), senior fellow, Open Markets Institute Center for Liberty and Journalism; professor, University of Illinois


  • News for the Rich, White, and Blue by Nikki Usher (Columbia University Press; 2021)
  • Messengers of the Right: Conservative Media and the Transformation of American Politics by Nicole Hemmer (U. Penn Press; 2018)
  • "Leslie Moonves on Donald Trump: 'It May Not Be Good for American, but It's Damn Good for CBS'" by Paul Bond (Hollywood Reporter; Feb. 29, 2016)
  • Fulfillment: Winning and Losing in One-Click America by Alec MacGillis (Farrar, Straus and Giroux; 2021)
  • Stuck in Place: Urban Neighborhoods and the End of Progress toward Racial Equality by Patrick Sharkey (U. Chicago Press; 2013)
  • "The Media's Post-Advertising Future Is Also Its Past" by Derek Thompson (The Atlantic; Dec. 31, 2018)
  • Prism Reports
  • MLK50: Justice Through Journalism
  • The 19th
  • City Bureau

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This episode was made by: 

  • Producer: Erikk Geannikis
  • Editor: Amy Drozdowska
  • VP, Vox Audio: Liz Kelly Nelson

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 2021-08-30  1h2m