Senior Lecturer, Director of the Center for Research on Vermont, Founder of the Center for Community News

Richard Watts is the Director of the Center for Research on Vermont; a senior lecturer in the Department of Geography and the founder of the Center for Community News (CCN). Richard is on leave until July 1, 2023 to direct CCN and continue to grow Vermont's Community News Service. Richard is also the co-director of the Reporting & Documentary Storytelling Program; and a former coordinator of the internship program in the College of Arts & Sciences. During Richard's leadership of the CAS internship programs, student for-credit internships tripled from about 250 to almost 800. In coordination with CRVT, the College of Arts & Sciences created the Community of Practice intern program which led to the successful spin off of the Community News Service

As Director of CRVT, Richard increased the budget ten-fold and added new programs in book publishing, internships, media and communications, video and podcasts. Richard also led student research teams that investigated police funding, telecommuting, town official demographics and Vermont in-migration among others. Richard is a co-founder of Sustainable Transportation Vermont and the teacher of classes in transportation planning, reporting and Vermont studies.



CAS 1990: Environmental Reporting (PDF)(Fall 2023)






  • R. Watts. (2018). The 30-Year Campaign to Reduce Smoking Rates In Vermont. History Section, Burlington Free Press.
  • Stephens, JC, M. Burke, B. Gibian, E. Jordi, and R. Watts. Operationalizing Energy Democracy: Challenges and Opportunities in Vermont's Renewable Energy Transformation. Frontiers in Communication. October, 2018.
  • Discourses of Departure?: Examining the “Rural as Deficit” and “No Jobs” Narratives in Vermont. Wendy I. Geller, Seth Marineau, and Richard Watts. The Northeastern Geographer. Special Issue: Should I Stay or Should I Go?: Youth and Out-migration from Vermont (Volume 7, 2015).
  • L. Keir, R. Watts, and S. Inwood. Environmental Justice and Citizen Perceptions of a Proposed Electric Transmission Line.  Journal of Community Development. March, 2014. Community Development. Volume 45, Issue 2, 2014
  • R. Watts, J. Maddison. Source Diversity is Greater in Print than Radio and TV News Stories in the Coverage of a Controversial Environmental Debate. Newspaper Research Journal (2014).
  • R. Watts, R. Mills, R. Fish. The Highway Coalition Revisited: Using the Advocacy Coalition Framework to Explore the Content of AASHTO’s Daily Transportation Update. Public Voices (2013). Vol. 13 Issue 1, 79-99.
  • R. Watts, S. Kaza. Planning for power: frame production in an environmental conflict over the siting of a high-voltage transmission line. Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences, (2013). Volume 3, Issue 3, pp 247-258.
  • R. Watts. (2012). Public Meltdown: The Story of the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant. Amherst, MA: White River Press.
  • R. Watts, K. Frick, J. Maddison. (2012). Policy Making, Incrementalism and News Discourse: Gasoline Tax Debates in Eight U.S. States. Public Works Management & Policy.
Lecturer Richard Watts

Areas of Expertise and/or Research

Director of the Center for Research on Vermont; a senior lecturer in the Department of Geography and the founder of the Center for Community News and the coordinator of the Community News Service.


  • Ph.D. Natural Resource Planning, University of Vermont, 2006
  • M.A. Newspaper Journalism, Syracuse University, 1989
  • B.A. Political Science, State University of New York at Cortland, 1985


  • 802-656-9775
  • 802-373-1131
Office Location:

Billings 403B -- top floor of the Billings Library in the back

Office Hours:

Make an appointment via Calendly: See below