New Book: Strategies for Media Reform: International Perspectives

I am delighted to announce the latest publication in the Everett C. Parker Book Series, which I edit.

Strategies for Media Reform: International Perspectives, edited by Des Freedman, Jonathan A. Obar, Cheryl Martens, and Robert W. McChesney.


Media reform plays an increasingly important role in the struggle for social justice. As battles are fought over the future of investigative journalism, media ownership, spectrum management, speech rights, broadband access, network neutrality, the surveillance apparatus, and digital literacy, what effective strategies can be used in the pursuit of effective media reform?

Prepared by thirty-three scholars and activists from more than twenty-five countries, Strategies for Media Reform focuses on theorizing media democratization and evaluating specific projects for media reform. This edited collection of articles offers readers the opportunity to reflect on the prospects for and challenges facing campaigns for media reform and gathers significant examples of theory, advocacy, and activism from multinational perspectives.

This book is unusual because of the breadth of scholarship therein. Rather than focusing on US and Western European perspectives, the contributions include work on Mexico, Taiwan, West Africa, Israel, South America, Egypt, and Guatemala, among many others. It includes a forward by Robert McChesney and a fantastic review essay by Des Freeman and Jonathan Obar.


  • Offers a truly multi-national perspective on media theory, advocacy, and activism.
  • Discusses pressing concerns and challenges in media, such as the use of social media to build reform movements, new legislation for the democratization of media, and how best to empower media reformers.
  • Explores the lessons to be taken and the aftereffects of recent battles for media democratization, such as the SOPA blackout.

A must-read for anyone interested in activism and social change around media policy.

Buy it at Fordham University Press or at Amazon.

New Working Paper: The American Data Culture Since 1820 by Sung-Wook Jung

One of our former Visiting Research Fellows, Sung-Wook Jung, has published his working paper, titled “The American Data Culture Since 1820: From Madison’s Political Philosophy to Nielsen Ratings.”

Three decades after peoplemeters were introduced into the business of syndicated audience measurement, there are approximately 20,000 peoplemeter-installed households in the US. However, growth of peoplemeters has been far slower or stationary in similarly developed countries: Japan’s number has yet to hit over 1,000; the UK’s has stayed between 4,000 and 5,000 for over two decades. Presuming that cultural variance is a critical variable in determining how particular television advertising markets respond to technological innovation in audience measurement, this study attempts to identify American data culture by using what historians say about the American past as ethnographic data. To understand the unique data culture of the US, this study examines a historian’s transcription of President Kennedy’s 1963 order of a survey on racial equality as representative, employing Clifford Geertz’s semiotic definition of culture. Identifying its historical origins, this study asserts that American data culture has been perpetuated primarily by the evangelical beliefs in God’s benevolence and common sense, once forged by the radical egalitarianism of the American Revolution and incorporated institutionally in the schedule of the 1820 Census. Informed by Madisonian insights on the role of limited government, this egalitarian culture has led the American people to maintain unique habits of mind useful for reaching a better state of Union.

You can download the paper here, from our digital research repository. More working papers and research resources can be found here.

JOB: DTEM lecturer at Fordham, 2016-2017

1yr Lecturer in Digital Technology and Emerging Media @ Fordham


The Department of Communication and Media Studies is searching for a one-year lecturer appointment with a 4-3 course load, to begin Fall 2016 with the possibility of renewal. The lecturer will teach within our Digital Technology and Emerging Media major and will be based primarily at Fordham’s Rose Hill campus–though there may also be some opportunities at the Lincoln Center.

For Fall 2016 the lecturer would have the following schedule:
– DTEM 3476 Social Media: MT 11:30-12:45
– DTEM 3476 Social Media MT 4:00-5:15
– Plus two additional courses

The course description for DTEM 3476 is as follows: This class critically examines popular computer-mediated communication technologies such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Students will critically analyze, use, and encounter a broad range of social technologies. Students will also learn basic social media skills, “best practices,” and to create and propagate content.


The lecturer will teach two other courses TBD based on their area of specialization. The Spring semester will be more flexible.

Lecturer positions have health benefits.
Interested applicants should send a letter of interest, a CV, and a proposed syllabus for DTEM 3476 to (Jacqueline Reich, Chair of the Department of Communication and Media Studies). Materials must be received by Monday, April 25.
Please email me if you have any questions, and please feel free to circulate this call widely.

Liz Losh lecture on 4/18

Our final lecture event of the semester is coming up next week. Liz Losh is an Associate Professor at William & Mary, and the former director of UCSD’s Culture, Art & Technology program. She’s also the co-winner of last year’s McGannon Book Award. We’re delighted to have her here at Fordham and urge everyone to come to the talk!

Liz Losh Picture

Digital Universalism and the Posthuman University: Experiments in Scale and Access in Higher Education

Walsh Library 432, O’Hare Special Collections Room

Fordham College Rose Hill, 441 E. Fordham Road, Bronx, NY

2012 was declared to be “the year of the MOOC” by no less than the New York Times, but stories of failure abounded about Massive Open Online Courses in the years that followed. This talk argues that MOOCs themselves might have been remarkably uniform as vehicles for content delivery, but they spurred a valuable diversity of pedagogical reactions among faculty to their particular format for free large-scale distance learning. Public debate and discussion about MOOCs has spurred a variety of innovative pedagogical experiments in higher education: SPOCs (Small Personalized Online Courses), DOCCs (Distributed Open Collaborative Courses), POOCs (Public Open Online Courses), and many other new variants of online teaching.  By attending to the messy, material, embodied, affective, labor-intensive, and situated character of digital learning, this talk posits some possible best practices for faculty, students, and administrators.

Elizabeth Losh is an associate professor of English and American studies at William and Mary with a specialization in new media ecologies. Before joining William and Mary, she directed the Culture, Art, and Technology Program at the University of California, San Diego. She is a core member and former co-facilitator of the feminist technology collective FemTechNet, a founding member of the Center for Solutions to Online Violence, and a member of the HASTAC Steering Committee.

Co-Sponsored by the Fordham Digital Humanities Working Group and the Department of Communication & Media Studies

Pirate radio & public housing: Larisa Mann speaks this Thursday 3/10

exilic cultural spaces

Our fabulous Visiting Research Fellow Larisa Mann is speaking this Thursday, March 10 at 3pm at the Fordham Law School. It’s free and open to the public!

Exilic cultural spaces: How public housing and state neglect in England allowed pirate radio to flourish—and why it matters

Larisa Kingston Mann

Fordham Law School 3-06

March 10, 3pm

In England, illegal, unlicensed radio broadcasting has especially served the needs of communities excluded or looked down on by dominant culture and often neglected by British state-run radio’s mission – including immigrants, ethnic minorities, working-class and Black communities, and youth. Pirate radio’s existence at the borders of legality (or beyond) has also allowed cultural practices to flourish that were not welcome in dominant or official media, including DJ culture that involves unlicensed musical reuse as a fundamental creative practice. At the same time, the music fostered by these broadcasts has been extremely influential in popular music, and pirate radio persists to this day in British cities despite the availability of web radio broadcasting. These stations’ main history is in public housing projects whose geography, architecture, and social context all served to protect and foster a vibrant and expressive culture. It’s possible that exclusion and illegality, especially when combined with specific aspects of public infrastructure, can help foster communities’ culture on their own terms. Taking this seriously requires that we also question the extent to which digital radio is as capable of meeting community needs, or whether it will be a paradoxically more hostile environment for musics of marginalized people.

Dr. Larisa Kingston Mann is a Visiting Research Fellow at the McGannon Center for Communication Research, Fordham University. She has a PhD in Jurisprudence & Social Policy from UC Berkeley Law School and a M.Sc in Economic History from the London School of Economics. Her research addresses the ways that marginalized communities carve out spaces for culture-making, especially the legal, technological and physical contexts that shape how those spaces get made. This has led her to study illegal musical events from warehouse parties to pirate radio, and to research that challenges dominant framings of the value of visibility or exposure in surveillance and privacy discourse. Her experience is also informed by 20 years as a DJ playing underground music in the North America, the Caribbean, Europe, and South America. She has most recently published in Communication, Culture and Critique, Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies and the Journal of Popular Music Studies.

Co-Sponsored by the Urban Law Center

We’re super excited about this talk and hope to see you there!

Visiting scholar Larisa Mann interview

Our fabulous Larisa Mann is interviewed about the vast number of international cover versions of Adele’s smash hit “Hello”:

“I think people like to kind of speak back to the dominance of English language pop, everywhere,” she told me. “And there’s kind of a thrill in doing that.”

Dr. Mann told me about an old practice in Jamaica — when people pressed records, they would include an instrumental track on the B-side — specifically so that those who bought it could sing the song themselves.

In March, Dr. Mann will be giving a lecture on her research on how public housing and state neglect in England allowed pirate radio to flourish and why it matters. We’ll post information once it’s finalized.

Are you a Fordham Student? Do you use GroupMe or Kik?

We are recruiting students to participate in a new study for a major software company.


  • Fordham students
  • 18 – 24
  • Uses GroupMe or Kik
  • All majors except Computer Science or Engineering
  • Fluent English speakers
  • For GroupMe, you must have at least one friend willing to be in a GroupMe group with you

The study will run from February 1 – February 15th. All students will receive a $10 gift card for participating.

If you’re interested, please fill out this form. If you have questions, please email Alice Marwick.

11/30: Samuel Woolley on Political Bots

Another great event (if I do say so myself) in the Technology & Society lecture series, Monday 11/30 at Lincoln Center!

Woolley Poster

The Technology & Society Lecture Series Presents:

Political [Bot]any:
Using Code to Manipulate Public Opinion

Samuel Woolley
University of Washington

November 30, 2015

11:30am – 12:45pm
Fordham Lincoln Center, Lowenstein South Hall

Political actors around the world are beginning to use social bots—automated software programs designed to interact with and imitate human users–to manipulate public opinion. Social bots have been used across numerous online platforms to spread various forms of propaganda, flood newsfeeds with political spam, and pad politicians’ social media follower lists. In many regimes, political leaders and government officials have commissioned bots to aggressively attack opponents, whether those opponents are civil society groups or the opposition candidates in rigged elections. The algorithms that run bot software are often proprietary and hidden, and the content that a particular bot produces might be unexpected—even by coders—because bots operate in collaboration with real users. This talk highlights the history and trajectory of political bots via the presentation of a globally comparative event dataset alongside information gathered in the field from the makers and trackers of this technology.

Samuel Woolley conducts research on politics, digital culture and automation at the University of Washington’s Department of Communication. Currently, he is investigating the global usage of political bots–software programs used to mimic human social media users in attempts to manipulate public opinion. He works as the project manager of CompProp at the Oxford Internet Institute and the Political Bots Project at UW. He is a graduate fellow at the Tech Policy Lab and the Center for Media, Data, and Society and a researcher on the Digital Activism Research Project, the New Pathways to Data Science Project, and at the Center for Communication and Civic Engagement. Sam is based in Seattle and tweets from @samuelwoolley.

Accepting Nominations for the 2015 McGannon Book Award

Each year, the McGannon Center presents the Donald McGannon Award for Social and Ethical Relevance in Communications Technology Research to the most notable book addressing issues of communications policy published during the previous year. The Center recognizes the winning entry with a $2,000 prize.

Nominations for the 2015 Award currently are being accepted. Please note that last year we changed the focus of the award to book-length research published in 2015 that addresses or informs the social justice and/or ethical dimensions of communication technology, broadly defined. Authors of the winning book will be awarded $2,000 and receive a plaque commemorating the award.

Nominations should consist of a cover letter briefly summarizing the book’s research focus and findings, along with four copies of the book. Self-nominations are welcome, as are submissions from early career researchers and scholars from diverse backgrounds. Edited volumes are not eligible for consideration. Deadline for consideration is March 1, 2016.


McGannon Book Award
Faculty Memorial Hall 430
Fordham University
441 E. Fordham Rd.
Bronx , NY 10458

For more information and a list of past winners, please see this page.

NOTE: We also welcome suggestions for nominations. If you read a great book this year that you’d like to informally nominate, please email us with the author and title and we’ll take it from there.