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Trolling has become a powerful shaper of mainstream political discourse. In response, it is crucial that journalists produce comprehensive and critical news coverage of trolls. This report by Center Steering Committee Member Sophie Maddocks explores how journalists write about trolls and how coverage of trolling could be improved. The first part of this report identifies weaknesses in news coverage of trolls, finding a pattern of narrow and stereotypical reporting among many news outlets. The second part of this report offers...

Protests in Nigeria have cast a shadow of doubt on the government’s intentions and ability to roll out an equitable, effective COVID-19 response. Leadership’s response to the End SARS protests has served as a reminder to Nigerians that the needs of the majority have not been prioritized, even in times of crisis. This report by Chioma Woko, a doctoral candidate at the Annenberg School for Communication, traces the context around these protests and what the government’s ensuing actions forebode for...

This information security project is aimed at educating media makers on ways to improve their digital security to better protect themselves, their sources and their journalistic role from actors intent on disruption, compromise and harassment. Written by Steering Committee Member Jennifer R. Henrichsen; infographic created by Emma Fleming, Annenberg’s Digital Designer. Media makers in all of their capacities, from documentary filmmakers and entertainment screenwriters to ordinary citizens, are at risk in a society in which their information, communications and identities can be...

https://ia601505.us.archive.org/11/items/episode-16_202012/20201116%20M%40R%20Podcast%20-%20COVID%20in%20African%20Newsrooms_mixdown_final.mp3 “Journalists were asking a lot of questions. Now how do I do interviews?” In this episode, Center Researcher Richard Stupart speaks with journalists from newsrooms in South Africa, Nigeria and South Sudan. Ajibola Amzat, Branko Brkic and Isaac Kenyi share about how the pandemic has affected the way media practitioners do their work. This podcast is the second entry in our three-part series spotlighting COVID-19 media in Africa. CREDITS Richard Stupart is a researcher working on the practices and normative ethics of journalism of...

As we enter another grim chapter of the COVID-19 pandemic, health care advocate and journalist Dr. Ifeanyi McWilliams Nsofor recently spoke to Annenberg doctoral student and Steering Committee Member Adetobi Moses about the ways the media landscape, health organizations, and informal information channels and networks can adapt to provide adequate and lifesaving information that meets the needs of those in the global south as well as the global north. It is widely assumed that statistics are the language and currency of...

Review by Megan Genovese with contributions from Florence Madenga "Documentary brings us into intimacy with strangers, creating space to stand in awe of their courage, have compassion for their pain, and become angered and determined on their behalf. It gives us the resources to be more mindful and deliberate in unmaking and creating our shared world." The 6th annual Double Exposure Investigative Film Festival, held remotely for the first time, ran October 14-18, 2020 across live panels, workshops for career development and...

With the November 2020 election only weeks away, Young Mie Kim’s research on social media disinformation campaigns is critically important and timely-as-ever. For this Reflection, Center for Media at Risk Steering Committee member Jeanna Sybert spoke with Kim about her work and objectives as the Center's Fall Visiting Scholar. Your research has centered on the nature of political communication in media environments and particularly on how it manifests in digitally mediated environments. Some of your most recent work here has been...

https://ia801503.us.archive.org/1/items/fearless-speech/Sophie%27s%20podcast%20-%20final.mp3 "If we actually care about risky speech, if we actually care about the speech of the vulnerable, if we care about speech that does something to make us think twice about the status quo, then those are the kinds of conversations that should be getting a lot more attention as free speech issues." ~Mary Anne FranksIn this episode, Annenberg doctoral student Sophie Maddocks speaks with leading legal scholar and cyber civil rights advocate Mary Anne Franks, whose 2019 book The Cult...

For this installment of our Reflections series, I had the opportunity to interview groundbreaking victims’ rights attorney, Carrie Goldberg. Carrie works to make online spaces safer by holding abusers – and social networks – to account. She takes trolls to court, ‘sues the hell out of tech’ and confronts police departments that ignore internet crimes. Her firm has obtained major settlements for child sexual abuse victims from the New York City Department for Education, and she currently represents two victims...

For our Reflections Series, I had the opportunity to interview noted feminist scholar Moya Bailey on her research, activism and most recent work, #HashtagActivism: Networks of Race and Gender Justice (co-authored with Sarah Jackson and Brooke Foucault Welles). While I was preparing the questions for this interview, nationwide protests broke out in reaction to the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, among countless other Black lives taken by police and armed citizens. I want to thank Moya...

Black lives matter. The Center for Media at Risk at the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School for Communication believes that every platform can and must do its part to offset injustice. We have taken a moment of silence to remember George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Nina Pop, Ahmaud Arbery and every Black child and adult murdered at the hands of police or armed civilians. We acknowledge that these murders fall within a history of violence and indifference; video evidence has merely...

After another competitive search, the Center for Media at Risk at the Annenberg School for Communication is delighted to announce its Postdoctoral Fellows for 2020-2021. We welcome these fellows whose research projects reflect our emphasis on free and critical media practice and scholarship, and we are again grateful for the generous support of Craig Newmark Philanthropies in helping to make this happen.   Hearty congratulations to Richard Stupart and Zeyno Ustun! Richard, who is currently a Ph.D. researcher at LSE, will begin working with the...

In light of the current health crisis, all spring semester events at the Annenberg School for Communication were canceled, postponed or moved to an online platform. The Center presented two scheduled colloquia virtually, via BlueJeans. Both talks were open to the public and were well-attended by members of the Penn community as well as interested individuals across the globe. The first event took place on Wednesday, April 1 and featured our Spring 2020 visiting scholar Silvio Waisbord, who spoke on Mob Censorship: Online...

The Center for Media at Risk at the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School for Communication has received a grant from Craig Newmark Philanthropies to bolster its mission of addressing the increased intimidation of media practitioners. “We are honored and grateful once again to be among the grantees funded by Craig Newmark. His efforts to sustain and advance free and critical media practice have been far ahead of the curve, and, as political intimidation of media practitioners increases worldwide, we applaud...

Over-information and Coronavirus Originally published in Clarin, March 9, 2020 Silvio Waisbord We used to think that lack of information is the problem. The global panic unleashed by the "coronavirus" confirms otherwise. The abundance of data, rumors, pronouncements, advice and announcements is a formidable challenge without clear solutions. Overinformation scares, drives us crazy, paralyzes, frustrates. It shows that we are not prepared to classify torrents of information from different sources to understand what is happening and act rationally. Everyday life is not designed...

Center for Media at Risk Postdoctoral Fellow LaCharles Ward spoke with Silvio Waisbord about his book "Communication, A Post-Discipline," hyper-specialization, fragmentation and some limitations of traditional communication scholarship. In your recent book, Communication: A Post-Discipline, published in 2019 by Polity Press, you argue that the discipline (or perhaps post-discipline) of communication studies is a fragmented field that not only has no “theoretical and analytical center” but struggles to define its institutional and intellectual identity. Can you unpack your argument here? What...

https://ia801504.us.archive.org/18/items/episode-14-covering-syria/Natacha%27s%20podcast%20-%20rough%20cut%207.mp3 "I am not a foreign journalist who’s in Syria for a short trip to do some reporting before heading back home. This is my home, and I should force these people to accept who I am. I should once again fight the same battle I had fought as a teenager, this time with strange, armed men in a chaotic corner of my country, known as the most dangerous area in the entire world for journalists." ~Zaina Erhaim In this episode,...

The following images, videos and transcripts were taken during the Center for Media at Risk annual  symposium on December 6, 2019 at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania. Thank you to all participants, interlocutors and the student steering committee for making this event a success!  How do the media operate in authoritarian states?  This symposium addressed the many shapes of global authoritarianism as it impedes the media, considered forms of resistance common to media practitioners and pondered...

The first Lisbon Winter School for the Study of Communication took place from January 11-15, 2019 and was dedicated to the study of “Media and Populism.” We are thrilled to announce that the keynote talks from the inaugural Winter School are now available for download as a free e-Book. In addition to keynote transcripts, the e-Book includes a foreward by Barbie Zelizer and Nelson Ribeiro and an introduction by Jennifer R. Henrichsen.  "We share this volume in hopes that doing so...