Democracy During a Pandemic

FRI, APR 10, 2020 (1:14)

The Shorenstein Center’s Setti Warren, Nancy Gibbs, and Joan Donovan sit with Rob Faris, author of Network Propaganda and Senior Researcher at the Shorenstein Center. Together they discuss how the COVID-19 pandemic will impact our elections, campaigns, and journalism.

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.

+ BIO: Joan Donovan

Dr. Donovan is a leading public scholar and disinformation researcher, specializing in media manipulation, political movements, critical internet studies, and online extremism. She is the Research Director of the Harvard Kennedy School’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy and the Director of the Technology and Social Change project (TaSC). Through TaSC, Dr. Donovan explores how media manipulation is a means to control public conversation, derail democracy, and disrupt society. TaSC conducts research, develops methods, and facilitates workshops for journalists, policy makers, technologists, and civil society organizations on how to detect, document, and debunk media manipulation campaigns.

Dr. Donovan is co-founder of Harvard Kennedy School’s Misinformation Review. Her research can be found in academic peer-reviewed journals such as Social Media + Society, Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, Information, Communication & Society, and Social Studies of Science. She is a columnist at MIT Technology Review, a regular contributor to the New York Times, The Guardian, NPR, and PBS, and is quoted often on radio and in print.

Dr. Donovan has laid out the philosophical frameworks for how to research, report on, and understand this moment in internet history and American politics. Her conceptualizations of strategic silence, meme wars, and media manipulation campaigns provide crucial frameworks for understanding how the US got to this point. She coined many of the terms that the disinformation research field and mainstream media use to understand technology’s impact on society.

Dr. Donovan is the co-creator of the beaver emoji.

+ BIO: Nancy Gibbs

Nancy Gibbs is the visiting Edward R. Murrow Professor of Practice of Press, Politics and Public Policy. Until September 2017, she was Editor in Chief of TIME, directing news and feature coverage across all platforms for more than 65 million readers worldwide, as well as Editorial Director of the Time Inc. News Group. Gibbs was named TIME’s 17th editor in September 2013, the first woman to hold the position, and remains an Editor at Large. Under her leadership, TIME’s digital audience grew from 25 to 55 million, video streams passed 1 billion a year, and TIME won a primetime Emmy award for its two-part “A Year in Space” documentary, produced with PBS. During her three decades at TIME, she covered four presidential campaigns and is the author of more cover stories than any writer in TIME’s near-100 year history, including the black-bordered “September 11” special issue, which won the National Magazine Award in 2002. Bio from Harvard Kennedy School

+ BIO: Setti Warren

Setti D. Warren served as Mayor of Newton, Massachusetts from January 1, 2010 to January 1 2018. He was the first African-American to be a popularly-elected mayor in Massachusetts. After graduating from Boston College, he began an extensive career in public service, serving as special assistant in the White House Office of Cabinet Affairs for President Bill Clinton; as New England director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency; and as deputy state director for Senator John F. Kerry (D-MA). Prior to running for mayor, Mayor Warren completed a yearlong tour of duty in Iraq as a naval intelligence specialist.

He served on the advisory board of the United States Conference of Mayors, chairing the organization’s community housing and development committee. Mayor Warren is also a life member of The Council on Foreign Relations and a board member of Discovering Justice. He is currently the Executive Director of the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School.

+ BIO: Rob Faris

Robert Faris is the research director at the Berkman Klein Center where he contributes and provides oversight to research at the center. His research includes the study of digital communication mechanisms by civil society organizations and social movements, and the emergence and impact of digitally-mediated collective action, as well as the influence of networked digital technologies on democracy and governance and the evolving role of new media in political change. His current work includes applied research into the networked public sphere drawing on the Media Cloud platform, the monitoring and measurement of Internet activity and content controls based on the Internet Monitor platform, and research into the phenomenon of harmful speech online.

Faris holds a M.A. and PhD. in International Relations from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and a B.A. in Anthropology from the University of Pennsylvania.

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