Race, Xenophobia, and COVID-19

FRI, APR 17, 2020 (54:41)

Explore how COVID-19 has exacerbated existing inequalities, fueled xenophobia, and harmed marginalized groups. How can policymakers, civil society, and media mitigate against discrimination by shining a light on health disparities? What does xenophobia look like in a time of social distancing? How has misinformation and disinformation inflamed these divides? And what can journalists do to surface these tensions without compounding the problem? COVID-19 won’t be the last global crisis, but how we respond to these questions may make all the difference.

ProPublica reporters, Akilah Johnson and Talia Buford, who are covering the data on health outcomes across communities of color, Marita Etcubañezs, Director of Strategic Initiatives for Asian Americans Advancing Justice, Lisa Nakamura, Professor and Director of the Digital Studies Institute at University of Michigan, and Gabby Lim, Researcher, Technology and Social Change Research Project, Shorenstein Center, dicuss the impacts of the pandemic on inequalities.

This talk is part of the Big, If True webinar series hosted by Joan Donovan, Ph.D., who heads up the Technology and Social Change Research Project (TaSC) at Harvard University’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy.

Image courtesy of Flickr

+ BIO: Joan Donovan

Dr. Joan Donovan is Director of the Technology and Social Change (TaSC) Research Project at the Shorenstein Center. Dr. Donovan leads the field in examining internet and technology studies, online extremism, media manipulation, and disinformation campaigns.

Dr. Donovan’s research and teaching interests are focused on media manipulation, effects of disinformation campaigns, and adversarial media movements.

Dr. Donovan’s research can be found in academic peer-reviewed journals such as Social Media + Society, Journal of Contemporary Ethnography (JCE), Information, Communication & Society, Social Studies of Science, and Online Information Review. Her contributions can also be found in the books, Data Science Landscape: Towards Research Standards and Protocols and Unlike Us Reader: Social Media Monopolies and Their Alternatives. Dr. Donovan’s research and expertise has been showcased in a wide array of media outlets including NPR, Washington Post, The New York Times, Rolling Stone, The Atlantic, and more.

Prior to joining Harvard Kennedy School, Dr. Donovan was the Research Lead for Data & Society’s Media Manipulation Initiative, where she led a large team of researchers studying efforts to manipulate sociotechnical systems for political gain. She continues to hold an affiliate appointment with Data & Society.

Dr. Donovan received her Ph.D. in Sociology and Science Studies from the University of California San Diego, and was a postdoctoral fellow at the UCLA Institute for Society and Genetics, where she studied white supremacists’ use of DNA ancestry tests, social movements, and technology.

+ BIO: Gabrielle Lim

Gabrielle Lim is a researcher with the Technology and Social Change (TaSC) Research Project at Harvard Kennedy School’s Shorenstein Center, as well as a fellow with Citizen Lab. She researches information controls and security, with a focus on disinformation and media manipulation.

In 2019, she was an Open Technology Fund Information Controls fellow at Data & Society. She also was an Open Society Foundations grantee in 2017, completing a research project on far-right activity on Twitter. In 2018, she received a Masters of Global Affairs from the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy at the University of Toronto.

+ BIO: Lisa Nakamura

Nakamura is the Gwendolyn Calvert Baker Collegiate Professor in the Department of American Cultures at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and founding Director of the Digital Studies Institute at the University of Michigan. She has faculty affiliations with the Departments of English, Film, Television, and Media, Women and Gender Studies, and the Asian and Pacific Islander Studies Program.

+ BIO: Marita Etcubañez

Marita is director of strategic initiatives for Advancing Justice | AAJC. Prior to joining Advancing Justice | AAJC, Marita was director of legal services for the Asian Pacific American Legal Resource Center in Washington, D.C. Her 10 years of experience providing direct legal services to low-income communities includes advocating on behalf of migrant and seasonal farm workers with Texas Rural Legal Aid, as well as working with labor pool workers as part of the Homeless Persons Representation Project in Baltimore.

Marita holds a law degree and bachelor’s degree from The University of Michigan. She is admitted to practice in the State of Maryland and the District of Columbia.

+ BIO: Talia Buford

Talia Buford covers disparities in environmental impacts for ProPublica. Previously, she was an environment and labor reporter at The Center for Public Integrity, where her work focused mostly on wage theft and the Environmental Protection Agency’s lackluster enforcement of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act. She also covered energy for POLITICO Pro, and started her career covering municipal and legal affairs at The Providence (R.I.) Journal. She earned a master’s degree in the study of law from Georgetown University Law Center and a bachelor’s degree in print journalism from Hampton University.

+ BIO: Akilah Johnson

Akilah Johnson is a narrative health care reporter for ProPublica. Previously she covered the intersection of race, politics, youth, and immigration for The Boston Globe. She shared a Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing and was Pulitzer finalist as a member of the Globe’s Spotlight Team investigation into racism in Boston. Her reporting has won a number of other national awards including NABJ Salute to Excellence Awards, ONA’s Knight Award for Public Service, and a National Headliner Award for Journalistic Innovation. Before her time at the Globe, Akilah covered education and public safety for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel in Fort Lauderdale. She is a graduate of the University of Miami and alum of the John S. Knight Journalism Fellowships at Stanford University.

Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy
Big, If True Series On Tech & The Pandemic