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Yu Xu

Yu Xu

Assistant Professor

Yu Xu is an assistant professor of Integrated Marketing Communications at Medill. He earned his PhD in communication from the University of Southern California in 2019. His areas of specialization lie at the intersection of communication science, organizational change, social networks, media industries, sociocultural evolution, and computational social science. His current research focuses on ecological and evolutionary foundations of behavioral and network change in online communities.

Dr. Xu’s work has been published in many top-tier journals including Communication Research, Human Communication Research, New Media & Society, the Journal of Business Research, Political Communication, and Information, Communication & Society.

He is a member of several professional associations including the International Communication Association (ICA), the Academy of Management (AoM), and the International Network for Social Network Analysis (INSNA).

His teaching philosophy is learning through engagement and reflection.


  • PhD in communication, University of Southern California Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism
  • MA in journalism and communication, Tsinghua University School of Journalism and Communication
  • BA in communication, Fudan University School of Journalism

Authored Works

  • Xu, Y. (2021). Ecological influences on the formation of the hiring network in the communication job market, 2015 to 2019. Communication Research.
  • Xu, Y., Hazée, S., So, K. K. F., Li, D. K., & Malthouse, E. C. (2021). An evolutionary perspective on the dynamics of service platform ecosystems for the sharing economy. Journal of Business Research, 135, 127–136.
  • Xu, Y. (2021). Evolution of audience duplication networks among social networking sites: Exploring the influences of preferential attachment, audience size, and niche width. New Media & Society.
  • Xu, Y., Fulk, J., & Monge, P. (2021). Ecological influences on network tie dissolution in the evolution of affiliation networks in the International Communication Association, 2009–2015. Human Communication Research, 47(1), 75–103.
  • Xu, Y., Sun, Y., Cruz, I., & Fulk, J. (2021). Creating the path to success: The impact of crowdsourced exploratory and exploitative activities of expert graphic designers on creativity performance. Telematics and Informatics, 58, 101520.
  • Lane, D., Thorson, K., & Xu, Y. (2021). Uninterested and unequal?: Examining SES-based gaps in youth political behavior on social media. Information, Communication & Society.
  • Xu, Y. (2020). The formation mechanism of the player transfer network among football clubs. Soccer & Society.
  • Xu, Y. (2020). Book review: How behavior spreads: The science of complex contagions. Information, Communication & Society, 23(1), 148–150. 
  • Xu, Y. (2018). The ecological dynamics of organizational change: Density dependence in the rate of Weibo adoption by populations of news organizations. International Journal of Communication, 12, 1612–1637.
  • Walter, N., Ball-Rokeach, S., Xu, Y., & Broad, G. M. (2018). Communication ecologies: Analyzing adoption of false beliefs in an information-rich environment. Science Communication, 48(5), 650–668.
  • Thorson, K., Xu, Y., Edgerly, S. (2018). Political inequalities start at home: Parents, children and the socialization of civic infrastructure online. Political Communication, 35(2), 178–195.
  • Xu, Y. (2017). Book review: Expertise, communication, and organizing. Journal of Communication, 67(1), E10–E12.
  • Xu, Y. (2017). Modeling the adoption of social media by newspaper organizations: An organizational ecology approach. Telematics and Informatics, 34(1), 151–163.
  • Xu, Y., & Jin, J. (2017). Hierarchy of influences on professional role perceptions among Chinese online journalists: A multilevel analysis. Digital Journalism, 5(2), 194–212.
  • Xu, Y., Liu, Y., & Qi, L. (2017). Examining collective memory building in Wikipedia: A multilevel network approach. Proceedings of the 50th Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS), 2138–2145.
  • Wasserman, H., Ramaprasad, J., Sodre, M., Anikina, M., Vemula, R. K., & Xu, Y. (2017). Newsmaking: Navigating digital territory. In S. Pasti & J. Ramaprasad (Eds.), Contemporary BRICS journalism (pp. 49–71). New York: Routledge.
  • Pasti, S., Becker, B., Gudipaty, N., Xu, Y., & Ndlovu, M. (2017). Profession and practice: Re-imagining the future of journalism. In S. Pasti & J. Ramaprasad (Eds.), Contemporary BRICS journalism (pp. 130–156). New York: Routledge.
  • Thorson, K., Edgerly, S., Kliger-Vilenchik, N., Xu, Y., & Wang, L. (2016). Seeking visibility in a big tent: Digital communication and the People’s Climate March. International Journal of Communication, 10, 4784–4806.
  • Zhou, R., Xu, Y., & Li, X. (2015). Journalists in contemporary China: Evidence from Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Wuhan. African Journalism Studies, 36(3), 87–113.