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Free online lectures: Explore a world of ideas

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Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy

The Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy is a Harvard University research center dedicated to exploring and illuminating the intersection of press, politics and public policy in theory and practice. It is part of the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

https://shorensteincenter.org/

  • Memes have long been dismissed as inside jokes with no political importance. Nothing could be further from the truth. Memes are bedrock to the strategy of conspiracists such as Alex Jones, provocateurs like Milo Yiannopoulos, white nationalists like Nick Fuentes, and tacticians like Roger Stone. While the media and most politicians struggle to harness the organizing power of the internet, the “redpill right” weaponizes memes, pushing conspiracy theories and disinformation into the mainstream to drag people down the rabbit hole. These meme wars stir strong emotions, deepen partisanship, and get people off their keyboards and into the streets--and the steps of the US Capitol. Join disinformation and media manipulation experts Dr. Joan Donovan and Brian Freidberg, from the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School, in a discussion about how far-right extremist communities online are using memes and social media to bring new people to their ideologies, and drive real-world actions. Moderated by Technology and Innovation Boston Globe reporter, Anissa Gardizy.
    Partner:
    Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy
  • The trial and murder conviction of Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin sparked new national conversations about violent policing and racial injustice. How should policy makers, police, and journalists respond?  _The New Yorker_ staff writer Jelani Cobb and BBC correspondent Tara McKelvey  — who both covered the trial from Minneapolis — will join _The Atlantic_ staff writer Adam Serwer to discuss how public discourse and press coverage have and have not changed since the trial. Harvard Kennedy School Institute of Politics executive director Setti Warren moderates the event. As part of the [GBH News](https://www.wgbh.org/news/) week-long look at the impact of the murder of George Floyd one year ago, GBH Forum Network is pleased to co-present this conversation, part of the Shorenstein Center’s Alumni Fellows Network speaker series, featuring former Shorenstein fellows discussing major topics in the news, and their current work.
    Partner:
    Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy
  • What can mis- and disinformation scholars learn from the security studies field? What happens when security threats are inflated by governments? And how do security scholars analyze and account for civil liberties against the rise of digital search tools and surveillance? The beginning of 2021 brings with it both new and old vulnerabilities and uncertainties: the roll-out of COVID-19 vaccines, cybersecurity data breaches and hacks, openings to expand state power, and opportunities for resistance. As we embrace the unsettled state of things, governments and media manipulators may capitalize on a fragile media ecosystem and shifting political landscapes. For many security studies scholars, it is important to understand how advanced information technologies create national vulnerabilities, increase instabilities in international relations, exploit and stockpile user data, and allow unauthorized people to intercept and infiltrate communications. Joan Donovan, Director of the Technology and Social Change Research Project at the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy, hosts cyber security experts Susan Landau, Erik Lin-Greenberg, and Gabrielle Lim to discuss what this means for mis- and disinformation campaigns, and how interdisciplinary collaboration can unmask new strategies for pushing back against government overreach. Photo: [Pexels/Christina Morillo](https://www.pexels.com/photo/two-women-looking-at-the-code-at-laptop-1181263/)
    Partner:
    Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy
  • Divides – economic, racial, cultural, and educational, to name just a few – exist between communities across the country. But the perceived divide between rural and urban areas has been a lightening rod for our national conversation over the past several years. Setti Warren, in conversation with two journalists working at both ends of this spectrum; a Harvard economist who studies regional economic divides; and author and Senior Fellow at the Shorenstein Center, Tara Westover will dig into what is real about the divide between rural and urban America, and where we actually find more commonalities than differences across these communities. Image credit: [Pexels](http://https://www.pexels.com/photo/asphalt-junction-near-greenery-on-city-street-4030655/)
    Partner:
    Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy
  • In light of the recent wave of Black Lives Matter protests, there are distressing concerns that facial recognition software is being used to target and catalogue people engaging in protected speech and assembly. Given the chilling effect it poses on civil liberties and its propensity for error — from misidentifying to wrongfully convicting individuals — major cities like Boston and San Francisco have banned its use by law enforcement. The discussion will navigate how community organizers are fighting back against the unprecedented use of surveillance tools that disproportionately exhibit racial and gender bias and how the movement for racial justice means banning facial recognition. Drawing on the remarkable work of Ben Ewen-Campen, Chris Gilliard and Emily Dreyfuss, series host Joan Donovan asks: what is the potential human cost of widespread facial recognition technology? What prompted Amazon’s moratorium on selling its controversial Rekognition platform to law enforcement and what are the consequences? Have the successful bans in Boston and San Francisco sparked enough momentum for a nationwide ban? And crucially, is facial recognition so widespread now that it’s even possible to effectively ban it? Photo: "Facial Recognition Art Mural," Hollywood CA by [Yowhathappenedtopeace/Flickr](https://www.flickr.com/photos/yowhathappenedtopeace/15861645255)
    Partner:
    Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy
  • This episode of [BIG, If True,](http://shorensteincenter.org/programs/technology-social-change/big-if-true-webinar-series/) reflects on the hybrid battles being waged by journalists, activists, and dissidents against censorship and disinformation in Southeast Asia. The discussion traces the genesis of the recent attacks on the freedom to expression, from the rise and fall of the Anti-Fake News Act in Malaysia to the conviction of Rappler CEO and Editor Maria Ressa and former Rappler researcher-writer Reynaldo Santos over cyber libel charges — a conviction that has been widely reported as a strike against press freedom and democracy in the Philippines. In light of these extraordinary censorship measures, this conversation charts the broader efforts being made by civil society to counter the repression of free speech. Image: Pixabay.com
    Partner:
    Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy
  • Author Tara Westover, economist Gene Sperling and Setti Warren, Executive Director of the Shorenstein Center, discuss what’s really happening economically to people in communities across America. Many media organizations and elite institutions continue to promote GDP, stock market and unemployment metrics as leading indicators on the health of the economy. Yet, we know these measures do not reflect the economic reality for millions of people across America. The COVID-19 pandemic and recent protests against structural racism have highlighted the gap between how the economy is portrayed in the media and by elite institutions, and the reality that people live every day. This talk examines this gap between perception and reality, how it is playing out across the country, and the impacts it has.
    Partner:
    Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy
  • This webinar discusses some of the many cybersecurity threats and strategies emerging today. Joan Donovan, PhD talks with experts: how secure and reliable is the American cyber ecosystem? How have threats, like opportunistic cybercrime, data breaches, and cyberattacks, changed given that many of us are still working from home? Is the potential for technology to serve as a force for good being usurped by malicious parties bent on oppression and surveillance? In the face of these myriad uncertainties and cosmic shifts, are we witnessing a resurgence of socio-technological hacking? This talk is part of the [Big, If True](http://forum-network.org/series/big-if-true-series-tech-pandemic/) webinar series hosted by Joan Donovan, Ph.D., who heads up the [Technology and Social Change Research Project (TaSC)](http://shorensteincenter.org/about-us/areas-of-focus/technology-social-change/) at Harvard University’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy. Image by [VIN JD](https://pixabay.com/users/jaydeep_-7740155/?utm_source=link-attribution&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=image&utm_content=3112539") for Pixabay
    Partner:
    Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy
  • Explore whether the rigorous peer review process – a process that has traditionally safeguarded information quality control – can compete in a media ecosystem riddled with fast-paced health misinformation and dangerous speculation. Panelists discuss the flurry of preprints and the limitations of correcting the record after an article has hit the mainstream. The panel also offers insight into how scientific communities are wrestling with new uncertainties and heightened public visibility, while forging new pathways for curating knowledge amidst the infodemic. This talk is part of the [Big, If True](http://forum-network.org/series/big-if-true-series-tech-pandemic/) webinar series hosted by Joan Donovan, Ph.D., who heads up the[ Technology and Social Change Research Project (TaSC)](http://shorensteincenter.org/about-us/areas-of-focus/technology-social-change/) at Harvard University’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy. Image: Pexels.com
    Partner:
    Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy
  • Dive into the promises and perils of communicating science to public audiences. While trust in our politicians and the press has waned in recent years, trust in scientists has remained remarkably steady. However, as we chart out new uncertainties and complex facts and figures in a pandemic, we wonder: is trust in science eroding? How are science journalists and educators dispelling misinformation and tempering fear? Why don’t facts go viral on social media? And, what resources and platforms can help marshal facts and good science? Jane Hu, a regular contributor to Slate’s [Future Tense](https://slate.com/technology/future-tense) , Mitchell Moffit and Gregory Brown, co-creators of the YouTube channel [AsapSCIENCE](https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCC552Sd-3nyi_tk2BudLUzA) , join Joan Donovan to discuss the role of science communication in helping the general public steer a safe course against pseudoscience and misinformation. Image: [Creative Commons](https://www.peakpx.com/563861/clear-test-tubes)
    Partner:
    Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy