The Shorenstein Center aims to make an impact on a few distinct areas of focus, each of which are integral to maintaining a healthy information ecosystem and strong democracy. The six research projects outlined below cover a breadth of topics that are currently affecting the information ecosystem, trust in news, the journalism industry, and access to truth in our democratic societies.
The Technology and Social Change Research Project (known as TaSC for short) led by Dr. Joan Donovan, aims to understand how media manipulation is a means to control public conversation, derail democracy, and disrupt society. The project conducts research, develops tools, and facilitates workshops for journalists, policy makers, technologists, and civil society organizations on how to detect, document, and debunk media manipulation campaigns.
A well-informed citizenry is essential for a healthy democracy. But are today’s news sources providing the information, analysis, and context needed to help Americans make informed decisions? As newsrooms shrink, journalists struggle to build expertise in the wide variety of topics they often are called on to cover. The Journalist’s Resource is a project of the Shorenstein Center aimed at bridging the gap between journalism and academia. Its primary goal is helping journalists improve their work by relying more often on scientific evidence and high-quality, peer-reviewed research.
A handful of large digital platforms dominate the public space online. Every day, these platforms make decisions on a range of issues that affect the public sphere—including misinformation, hate speech, and digital advertising. New thinking is required for approaches to regulation of digital platforms. The Digital Platforms & Democracy Project at the Shorenstein Center aims to address these issues through academic research and expert analysis.
The Public Interest Tech Lab at Harvard is housed at the Shorenstein Center and contributes to the lively intellectual atmosphere of the Center. Led by Professor Latanya Sweeney, the lab aims to train future leaders in public policy and technology about the ways that technology works and its intended and unintended consequences for public interest and public good.
The HKS Misinformation Review is the only peer-reviewed journal dedicated to publishing multidisciplinary research on mis- and disinformation. It operates on a “fast peer review” process that ensures the academic rigor of the articles but on much faster timeline than traditional academic publishing, because the research being published is timely and of great importance to practitioners currently working to combat disinformation and its effects.
The IARA project was based at the Shorenstein Center from 2018-2021. It has recently moved to its new home at the Ash Center. IARA is working at the intersection of community, academia, and policy to address intellectual and practical questions as they relate to antiracism policy, practice, and institutional change.