Media and Democracy

Launch of MediaWell Platform

Leading Research Council Announces New Digital Platform for Disinformation Scholarship The Social Science Research Council launched MediaWell, its latest initiative towards improving lives through healthier democracy WASHINGTON D.C. – Today, before an audience of policymakers, media, academics, and members of the public, the Social Science Research Council announced the launch of MediaWell, the Council’s latest digital initiative that represents an effort to unite the resources of academia to address the impact of disinformation on democracy. In light of the growing impacts of disinformation, misinformation, and fake news, scholars globally have increased their attention to studying these phenomena. The resulting volume of …

Digital Threats to Democracy: Comparative Lessons and Possible Remedies

“Digital Threats to Democracy: Comparative Lessons and Possible Remedies” was a two-day research workshop that brought together both emerging and senior scholars to present comparative research on the impact of digital media on democratic processes and institutions, including topics such as dis- and misinformation, propaganda, and political polarization. The workshop was held June 13-14 at the Social Science Research Council in Brooklyn, New York. The workshop was organized in partnership with the International Journal of Press/Politics. Participants in the workshop were invited to submit their work for a special issue in IJPP, an open call for which is now available here (deadline: …

A Modern History of the Disinformation Age: Communication, Technology, and Democracy in Transition Workshop

What are the roots of our “epistemic crisis” regarding what counts as facts and as “reality?” Participants focused on actors who benefit from the questioning of truth claims, how institutions that once served as gatekeepers for such claims have been weakened and are now unable to adjust to new media ecosystems, and how new maladapted gatekeeping institutions have taken their place. Participants included: Steven Livingston, Professor of Media and Public Affairs & Professor of International Affairs, George Washington University Patricia Aufderheide, University Professor of Communication Studies, American University Yochai Benkler, Jack N. and Lillian R. Berkman Professor for Entrepreneurial Legal …

Media & Democracy at ICA 2019

The Media & Democracy program was thrilled to be at the International Communication Association (ICA) 2019 annual meeting in Washington, DC. As part of the ICA proceedings, we sponsored an ICA theme panel entitled “A Modern History of the Disinformation Age” at the Washington Hilton, held on May 25. The panelists presented research from our December 2018 workshop of the same name. We also co-hosted an SSRC reception on May 28, 2019 at Jack Rose Dining Saloon in collaboration with the Social Data Initiative. Finally, we were proud to co-sponsor “The Rise of Platforms: Individual, Institutional, and Governance Questions for Communication Research,” an ICA post-conference that …

Media, Technology, and Democracy in Historical Context

If you consult recent headlines, the news media is in crisis, and the problems are manifold: disruptive changes to media technology, the spread of misleading news, and anonymous harassment of public figures are causing serious concerns about the quality and trajectory of our democracy and the place of the news media in it. At the same time, these phenomena are not new; disruptions, falsehoods, and harassment have been topics of public concern at various moments throughout the history of media and democracy. How does the current moment, dominated by concerns over the rise of social media, the prevalence of online …

Social Media and Democracy: Assessing the State of the Field and Identifying Unexplored Questions

The 2016 American elections intensified popular as well as scholarly interest in the relationship between media and democracy on topics like fake news, information bubbles, and algorithmic propaganda. “Social Media and Democracy: Assessing the State of the Field and Identifying Unexplored Questions” was the Media & Democracy program’s inaugural event. It convened researchers as part of a two-day conference to assess the current literature on social media and democracy, and  set a research agenda for the field moving forward. Conference chairs: Nate Persily, James B. McClatchy Professor of Law, Stanford University Diana Mutz, Samuel A. Stouffer Professor of Political Science …

Menu