Photo of McKercher, Catherine

Catherine McKercher

Professor Emeritus


    Catherine McKercher holds a B.A., Carleton University, an M.J., Temple University, and a Ph.D. in Humanities from Concordia University in Montreal. She joined the School in 1987 and taught at every level in the BJ and MJ programs, from first-year undergrads to final-year Master’s students.

    Her journalism career dates to 1970, when she was hired as a summer student at the Ottawa Journal. She returned to the newspaper for the next three summers and joined staff full-time in 1973, working as a general assignment reporter and education reporter. In 1975 she moved to The Canadian Press, working as a copy editor and Ontario legislature reporter in the Toronto bureau, then as a Washington correspondent from 1977-80. In 1984 she joined the Whig-Standard in Kingston, Ont. where she was the assistant city editor. She has also worked as a freelance writer and broadcaster.

    Prof. McKercher’s research concentrates on labour in the communication industries, including in journalism. She has been co-investigator on two projects funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council on labour issues and has published extensively in the area. She also has a strong interest in journalism education.

    In 2014 she was named co-recipient of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication’s Professional Freedom and Responsibility Award.

    Her latest book, Shut Away: When Down Syndrome was a Life Sentence, came out in 2019. Combining memoir and history, it tracks the rise, fall and demise of Ontario’s large, provincial institutions for people with intellectual disabilities. Her younger brother, Bill, grew up in one of these institutions and died there at the age of 38. The book draws on his personal file and other records to paint a critical and vivid picture of life on the inside.



    Shut Away: When Down Syndrome was a Life Sentence. Fredericton: Goose Lane Editions, 2019.

    The Canadian Reporter: News Writing and Reporting. Third Edition. Co-authored with Allan Thompson and Carman Cumming. Toronto: Nelson, 2010.

    Getting the Message: Communications Workers and Global Value Chains. Co-edited with Vincent Mosco and Ursula Huws. London: Merlin, 2010. Simultaneously published as Vol. 4, No. 1, Work Organisation, Labour and Globalisation.

    The Laboring of Communication: Will Knowledge Workers of the World Unite? Co-authored with Vincent Mosco. Lanham, Md: Lexington Books, 2008.

    Knowledge Workers in the Information Society. Co-edited with Vincent Mosco. Lanham, Md.: Lexington Books, 2007.

    Newsworkers Unite: Labor, Convergence and North American Newspapers. Lanham Md:  Rowman and Littlefield, 2002.

    The Canadian Reporter: News Writing and Reporting. Co-authored with Carman Cumming. Toronto:  Harcourt Brace & Company, Canada, 1994; revised and updated second edition, 1998.

    Special Issues of Journals

    Guest co-editor, “The Labouring of Communication,” Special Issue of the Canadian Journal of Communication, Vol. 31, No. 3, Fall 2006.

    Recent Articles and Book Chapters

    “At Last: Labor Convergence and the Creation of SAG-AFTRA.” In Jin Cao and Vincent Mosco (Eds.)Critical Communication Research: Western Perspectives. Shanghai: Shanghai Translation Publishing House, 2019. Pages 488-498.

    “How Hollywood Workers Unite: Labor Convergence and the Creation of SAG-AFTRA.” With Vincent Mosco. In Randy Nichols and Gabriela Martinez (Eds.), Political Economy of Media Industries: Global Transformations and Challenges. New York: Routledge, 2019.

    “How media unions are making strides to improve working conditions.” Nov. 3, 2014.

    “Precarious Times, Precarious Work: A feminist political economy of freelance journalists in Canada and the United States.” In Christian Fuchs and Marisol Sandoval (Eds.) Critique, Social Media and the Information Society. New York: Taylor and Francis/Routledge, 2013. Pages 219-230.

    “Introduction: Getting the message: communications workers and global value chains.” With Vincent Mosco. Work Organisation, Labour and Globalisation, Vol. 4, No. 1, Fall 2010. Pages 1-9.

    “Women’s Labour: Gender, Political Economy and the Information Society.” (In Chinese). In Tony Bing (Ed.) Technology, Institutions and the Media: 30 Years of Chinese Media Reform. Shanghai: Fudan University Press, 2010. Pages 100-111.

    “Writing on the margins: Precarity and the freelance journalist.” Commentary. Feminist Media Studies. Vol. 3, No. 9, September 2009. Pages 370-374.

    “Hollywood Unions and the Fight for Work.” In Janet Wasko (Ed.) Cross-Border Cultural Production: Economic Runaway or Globalization? Youngstown, NY: Cambria Press, 2008. Pages 117-137.

    “Convergences: Elements of a Feminist Political Economy of Labor and Communication.” With Vincent Mosco and Andrew Stevens. In Katharine Sarikakis and Leslie Regan Shade (Eds.), Feminist Interventions in International Communication: Minding the Gap. Lanham, Md.: Rowman and Littlefield, 2008. Pages 207-223.

    “Labour Unions in the Media.” The International Encyclopedia of Communications. London: Blackwell, 2008. Pages 2631-2636.

    “Divided They Stand: Hollywood Unions in the Information Age.” With V. Mosco. Work Organisation, Labour and Globalisation. Vol. 1, No.1, January 2007. Pages 130-143. Simultaneously published in The Spark in the Engine, Ursula Huws, Ed., London: Merlin Press, 2007.


    Prof. McKercher has been a member of the judging panel for the Michener Award for meritorious public service in journalism, a judge and member of the board of governors for the National Newspaper Awards, and a judge for the Canadian Association of Journalists awards.