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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.

Register here


The Pandemic App Ecosystem

By Jonathan Albright

Since the coronavirus pandemic began, a host of Covid-19 applications have emerged. In addition to the state-sponsored official “track and trace” and quarantine monitoring apps, hundreds of Covid-related apps offering everything from curated information, clinical care guidelines, and workplace/campus outbreak monitoring have become available for download in the iOS App and Google Play Stores.

Jonathan Albright, Director of the Tow Center’s Digital Forensics Initiative, has followed these Covid-related iOS apps closely, compiling an extensive data set representing almost five hundred iOS apps across 98 countries. The data set, containing 493 Covid-related apps to be exact, is derived from the results of iOS app store queries for [Covid] and [Coronavirus] between March 24, 2020 and October 25, 2020.


You can read more about Jonathan’s research on Medium, and explore the data he collected visually here

  • As high-profile journalists like Glenn Greenwald and Matthew Yglesias leave prestigious publications for the newsletter platform Substack, Clio Chang asks: Does Substack “create a more equitable media system—or replicate the flaws of the old one?”
  • Social media platforms have become stricter in labeling disinformation as such, even when it comes from the President. However, that does little to stop such posts from going viral, according to BuzzFeed

  • At NiemanLab, Josh Benton solicited responses to the 2020 election from social scientists and media scholars. 119 of them replied

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

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