The SSRC's Media & Democracy program focuses on the media’s relationship to democratic life. The initiative is a collaboration between the Council’s Anxieties of Democracy and Digital Culture programs.

Media & Democracy encourages academic research, practitioner reflection, and public debate on all aspects of the close relationship between media and democracy. Media & Democracy asks, for example, how recent transformations in journalism have affected democratic discourse and participation. Conversely, the program also examines how changes in the political landscape, such as increasing polarization, have affected the media. The program takes a wide definition of media (including but not limited to news and journalism) and looks at various aspects of democracy. 

Media & Democracy’s ambitions are both diagnostic and prescriptive. It seeks to diagnose how recent changes in the media are related to successful democratic governance and to prescribe potential solutions for trends that may undermine democratic functioning.

The program also has a new initiative, the Disinformation Research Mapping initiative, that seeks to track and curate scholarship in the emerging field of mis- and disinformation studies. The initiative will create a web platform (planned launch in fall 2019) to host up-to-date literature reviews, state-of-the-field reports, and relevant news and analysis from the web, among other features.

The Media & Democracy program is generously supported by the Knight Foundation, the Hewlett Foundation, and the Democracy Fund, and is honored to host Mike Miller, an ACLS Public Fellow.

Program Components



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