Dr. Joan Donovan

New Media Manipulation Casebook

October 20, 2020

CAMBRIDGE, MA — Researchers at Harvard Kennedy School’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy, are proud to announce the release of The Media Manipulation Casebook, a new initiative by the Technology and Social Change project (TaSC). This new open-access digital research platform is designed to advance knowledge of how disinformation and media manipulation spread. Included in the Media Manipulation Casebook (mediamanipulation.org) are a theory and methods package for those studying and reporting on online political communication, and a frame for policy makers seeking to address the threats manipulation campaigns pose to democracy, public health, and civil society.

Led by Joan Donovan, PhD, Research Director of the Shorenstein Center, the TaSC project is staffed by a team of interdisciplinary researchers working within journalism, social science, and computer science. According to Joan Donovan, “When we began developing the casebook, it was imperative that it be useful for all who research and report on media and technology. We also took seriously the challenges of writing about disinformation campaigns and communicating that to a lay audience, so we developed a life cycle model as a blueprint for writing about these attacks.” This lifecycle model enables TaSC researchers and contributors to detail the origins, execution, and reactions to manipulation campaigns through case studies that provide unique research.

Launching with 14 case studies, the Media Manipulation Casebook will expand over the next two years to include 100 case studies of disinformation and media manipulation campaigns in a global context. Through collaborations with regional and domain experts, the Media Manipulation Casebook will serve as a dynamic, living documentation of the media manipulation phenomenon worldwide. “Only by conducting basic research on the problem posed by new communications technology can we begin to assess the true costs of misinformation on journalists, public health, and its geopolitical implications for national security,” Donovan says.

About the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy

The Shorenstein Center is a research center based at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, with a mission to study and analyze the power of media and technology and its impact on governance, public policy and politics. Research, courses, fellowships, public events and engagement with students, scholars, and journalists form the  core of the Center. For more information, visit shorensteincenter.org.
Media Contact: manipulation@hks.harvard.edu