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Tow Center for Digital Journalism's Knight News Innovation Fellowship

Announcing Tow Center’s Winter 2020/21 Call for Proposals! Apply to receive funding for research related to emerging technology and trends impacting the news industry.

Deadline: January11, 2021.

Apply Here

How Are We Feeling?

This year delivered a professional paradox: the coronavirus highlighted the importance of a vibrant press, yet the crisis introduced new levels of instability and viral disinformation, which piled on to the stresses of an industry already overloaded. To better understand how members of the media are faring, the International Center for Journalists and the Tow Center for Digital Journalism began the Journalism and the Pandemic Project, surveying news workers around the world. The initial findings, published online in October and in CJR’s Winter print issue this month, provide a snapshot of the mood: Not great.

Read Tow’s original report here.

Photo credit: Mark Peterson/Redux
Reading the Symbols of Political Movements: Understanding the Media Challenge of Identity Signatures, Social Telegraphing, and Malicious Branding
Thursday, December 10th, 630PM ET

A Reading the Pictures Salon in partnership with the Columbia University's Tow Center for Digital Journalism and the Data Science Institute's Center for Data, Media and Society, co-creators (with Professor of Journalism Nina Berman and the DVMM Lab at Columbia’s School of Engineering) of the VizPol tool.

Many political activists see visual news coverage as an opportunity. Beyond its reporting function, visual media also serves as a performative space and a signaling platform for a wide range of political movements. The goal of this Salon is to better understand the key investigative and editorial challenges surrounding the visual identity of social and activist groups, and the use of their symbols for branding, outreach, and manipulation. We will discuss how this applies to a broad spectrum of political movements, including right-wing paramilitary and antifascist groups, as well as other types of organizations.

Michael Shaw, Publisher, Reading the Pictures


Leslie A. Hahner, Professor of Communication, Baylor University. Co-Author, “Make America Meme Again: The Rhetoric of the Alt-Right.”

Ishaan Jhaveri, Research Fellow, Tow Center for Digital Journalism, Columbia University.

Brian Palmer, Peabody Award-winning journalist and documentary photographer based in Richmond, Virginia.

Judy Walgren, Michigan State University School of Journalism Associate Director & Professor of Practice, Photojournalism and New Media. Former Director of Photography, San Francisco Chronicle, Pulitzer-Prize in International Reporting.

Register here

  • According to a new report on digital news consumption from the Pew Research Center, US adults are not certain about which media organizations produce original reporting. For instance, only 56% are confident that ABC News does its own reporting, whereas only 51% are confident that Facebook does not.  

  • At the MIT Technology Review, Karen Hao explains the paper on the risks of large language models that led to the firing of leading ethics researcher Timnit Gebru from Google. Data scientist and algorithm researcher Cathy O’Neil points to this part of the piece as the underlying problem of the whole controversy: "Many of the top experts in AI ethics work at large tech companies because that is where the money is." 

  • According to a new study from the International Center for Journalists and UNESCO, online violence towards women journalists is spilling into the offline world: “Nearly three-quarters (73%) of female respondents to our survey – taken by 1210 international media workers – said they had experienced online abuse, harassment, threats and attacks. And 20% of the women surveyed reported being targeted with offline abuse and attacks that they believe were connected with online violence they had experienced.”

  • At BuzzFeed News, Jane Lytvynenko provides an account of the year in disinformation: “Month after month, self-serving social media companies have let corrosive manipulators out for dollars, votes, and clicks vie for attention, no matter the damage.”

Copyright © 2020 Tow Center for Digital Journalism, All rights reserved.

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