Big, If True Webinar: Race, Xenophobia, and COVID-19

Big, If True Webinar: Race, Xenophobia, and COVID-19

April 20, 2020

Friday, April 17, 2020 – This webinar explores how COVID-19 has exacerbated existing inequalities, fueled xenophobia, and harmed marginalized groups. How can policymakers, civil society, and media mitigate against discrimination by shining a light on health disparities? What does xenophobia look like in a time of social distancing? How has misinformation and disinformation inflamed these divides? And what can journalists do to surface these tensions without compounding the problem? COVID-19 won’t be the last global crisis, but how we respond to these questions may make all the difference. Big, If True is a seminar series presented by the Technology and Social Change Research Project at the Shorenstein Center.

This week’s panel includes ProPublica reporters, Akilah Johnson and Talia Buford, who are covering the data on health outcomes across communities of color, Marita Etcubañezs, Director of Strategic Initiatives for Asian Americans Advancing Justice, Lisa Nakamura, Professor and Director of the Digital Studies Institute at University of Michigan, and Gabby Lim, Researcher, Technology and Social Change Research Project, Shorenstein Center.


Hosted by Joan Donovan, PhD, BIG, If True is a seminar series presented by the Technology and Social Change Research Project (TaSC) at the Shorenstein Center.

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Dr. Donovan’s research specializes in Critical Internet Studies, Science and Technology Studies, and the Sociology of Social Movements. Dr. Donovan’s research and expertise has been showcased in a wide array of media outlets including NPR, Washington Post, The New York Times, Rolling Stone, ABC News, NBC News, Columbia Journalism Review, The Atlantic, Nature, and more.

The TaSC Project researches media manipulation, disinformation, political communication, and technology’s relationship to society. The research team is composed of subject matter experts, Brian Friedberg, an investigative ethnographer of online social worlds, Gabrielle Lim, a researcher of sociotechnical systems and information controls, and Rob Faris, co-author of Network Propaganda and researcher of large-scale media ecosystems. The TaSC Project aims to understand how media manipulation is a means to control public conversation, derail democracy, and disrupt society. The project 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. The project is creating a research platform called the Media Manipulation Case Book, which will include 100 case studies to advance our knowledge of how misinformation travels across the web and platforms.