Dr. Anita Varma is an assistant professor in the School of Journalism and Media at The University of Texas at Austin as well as a senior faculty research associate at the Center for Media Engagement where she leads the Solidarity Journalism Initiative. Varma started the Solidarity Journalism Initiative at the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics (Santa Clara University), where she was the assistant director of Journalism and Media Ethics.
As a publicly engaged scholar, Varma’s work focuses on the role of solidarity in journalism. Her research examines how media representations challenge marginalization in the United States. Varma’s work began with a field study of how Bay Area journalists represent people experiencing homelessness in 2016. Since then, her research and public engagement have been featured on CNN, the Humanitarian News Research Network, and the Engaged Journalism Lab. The Solidarity Journalism Initiative is supported by a grant from Democracy Fund’s Rights and Dignity Working Group.
Varma is on the board of the Society of Professional Journalists (Northern California Chapter), the advisory board of The Objective, and the vice-chair of the Media Ethics Division of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC). Her scholarly work has been published in Journalism Studies, Journalism Practice, Journalism, Routledge Companion to Media and Poverty, and A Handbook of Global Media Ethics (SpringerLink). She completed her Ph.D. in Communication at Stanford University in 2018 and received the inaugural Penn State Davis Ethics dissertation award in 2019. Varma believes journalism can help change society for the better and dedicates herself to helping journalists do their best work.