John Erickson's research interests are in the history of mass communications in the United States, specifically the intellectual history of inquiry into news and the cultural history of reporting. He also is researching the social meaning of news. He teaches news reporting and writing, depth and specialized reporting, news editing, historical and cultural foundations of communication, history of communications in the United States, social meanings of the news, and mass communication and modern society.
Erickson received a BA degree in English. Prior to receiving a PhD in communications, he worked as an editorial writer and state reporter for the Lindsay-Schaub Newspapers in Decatur, IL, and as staff writer and political reporter for the Charlotte News in Charlotte, NC. Before joining the faculty at The University of Iowa in 1976, Erickson worked as an assistant professor at the University of Illinois. His work has been published in Journalism History and Journalism Quarterly.