Webinar Transcript

Media Policy for an Informed Citizenry: Revisiting the Information Needs of Communities for Democracy in Crisis

This article provides a transcript of a webinar hosted by the SSRC to discuss a new, open-access issue of the ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science. The four panelists contributed pieces to the special issue that shed light on the specific information needs of marginalized communities, and discussed how information systems might be changed in order to meet those needs. The transcript has been lightly edited for clarity.

Literature Review

“Vicious, Hateful, and Divisive” Partisans: Understanding and Countering Antidemocratic Political Polarization

The topic of American political partisanship and polarization has become a staple of both academic research and the political news cycle. A search for the word “polarization” in any major newspaper or news magazine turns up dozens of articles, op-eds, and think pieces either decrying the phenomenon or wholeheartedly endorsing it. We see it in family members at the dinner table, in our celebrities on Twitter, and in our politicians on the podium. Definitions may vary by field, by frame, and sometimes by convenience to an argument, but the consensus is this: Political polarization exists, and it’s increasing.

Essay Series

Measuring Media Accuracy

In this essay series, scholars probe the affordances and challenges of quantitative studies of media accuracy. Getting a clear sense of how accurate news media are across topics, time, and outlets can not only provide news producers and scholars an assessment of their own work, but can also give a more holistic picture of how (and whether) media consumers obtain the basic facts required for informed democratic citizenship.

Research Review

Image-Based Abuse: A Threat to Privacy, Safety, and Speech

Commonly misnamed “revenge porn,” image-based abuse is the non-consensual creation and distribution of private images. Much more than “one-off” attacks that cause hurt feelings, image-based abuse has become a broad effort to silence and shame people in public spaces. This literature review brings together relevant research from the fields of law, communication, psychology, and public health to explain how image-based abuse has become an ever-present threat to privacy, safety, and speech.

Analysis and Response Toolkit for Trust: Call for Contributors

When a contentious and complicated topic, like vaccine efficacy, arises in online conversations, how can health communicators de-escalate conflict, increase understanding, and build common ground? In a collaboration between Hacks/Hackers’ Analysis and Response Toolkit for Trust (ARTT) project, MediaWell is calling for scholars in relevant fields to contribute to a interdisciplinary research review on how to improve information exchanges and build trust, both online and off.

 

Research Topics

  • False Narratives and their Contexts

    Conspiracy theories, vaccine misinformation, scams and frauds, and influence operations can flourish online. This research topic delves deep into case studies that analyze the complex dynamics and histories of the circulation of false information, examining the actors, their incentives, and their relationships with the media and affected communities.  
  • Polarization and Political Manipulation

    In recent years, the consequences of ideological polarization have increased dramatically within the rise of political manipulation from mis- and disinformation spread both online and off. This research topic explores the causes of growing polarity and divides among ideological communities and searches for solutions.

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