Mike Davis

Mike Davis

Alexia Tsairis Chair for Documentary Photography

Professor of Practice

  • Visual Communications

Also teaches in:

  • Photography
  • Visual Communications

Contact Information

Office Location

516 Newhouse 1


  • Photojournalism
  • Political Communications
  • Political Journalism
  • Global Communications

What he teaches ...

Mike Davis teaches courses that help students define their visual voices and career paths through assignments that result in multiple-image presentations that are unique to each student. Under the guidance of one of the nation’s renowned picture editors, students learn how to select, propose and execute projects that lead them to a specialization.


Mike Davis holds the endowed Alexia Chair at Newhouse, which means he teaches visual storytelling classes and runs The Alexia Grant competitions at the school. The Alexia is one of the world’s premiere grants that support humanistic, socially significant visual projects for professionals and students.

In addition to teaching and The Alexia, Mike continues to work as an independent photography editor, working with visual storytellers around the world to elevate their way of seeing and edit their projects for books, gallery exhibitions, portfolios and contest and grant submissions. He has worked on more than 500 such projects, which in turn inform and elevate his teaching and The Alexia. He also continues to consult with a range of organizations, publications and competitions internationally.

For 30 years before arriving at Newhouse, Mike held visual leadership positions at National Geographic, The White House and several of America’s leading newspapers as well as running his own consulting business. He was twice named newspaper picture editor of the year and has edited the work of several photographers who went on to win Photographer of the Year titles and others whose work was widely recognized at the top tiers of the profession.

Davis regularly judges significant visual storytelling competitions and is asked to review the work of emerging and seasoned visual storytellers in formal review settings, including The Eddie Adams Workshop, New York Times Reviews, LOOK3, ICP.

Davis has been on the faculty of various workshops, including LOOK3, the Missouri Workshop, Mountain People’s Workshop, FOTOFusion, Santa Fe Workshops, The Atlanta Photojournalism Seminar, Northern Short Course, New Zealand Photofest and Somos Foto in Ecuador and the Dominican Republic. Twice he's been a roving reviewer during Photolucida,  and he has lectured at a range of universities.

Mike holds a master’s degree from the University of Missouri with an emphasis in visual leadership and a bachelor’s from the University of Nebraska with dual majors in journalism and Spanish. He hails from a small town in Nebraska and is a U.S. Air Force and Army National Guard veteran.