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

  • Targeted Disinformation

    Recent research reveals how contemporary online harassment fits into historical patterns of oppression of women, minorities, and vulnerable groups.
  • Algorithms and Automation

    Researchers are exploring how disinformation campaigns use bots and automation tools, and how algorithms can encode and reproduce biases and ideologies.
  • Credibility and Trust

    How do populist politics and other anti-elite, anti-institutional movements intersect with new technologies and declining public trust in science and media?

Research Reviews



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