Skip to Main Content

Media Literacy, Civic Engagement, and Democracy

Dr. Joan Donovan

On April 19th, 2021, The Media Literacy and Democracy Project hosted it's inaugural speaker, Dr. Joan Donovan. Dr. Donovan is the Research Director of the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics, and Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School, where she leads the Technology and Social Change Project. Dr. Donovan specializes in media manipulation and disinformation campaigns, as well as online extremism and adversarial media movements. She is the creator of the Media Manipulation Casebook, an online platform for research into media manipulation and disinformation  campaigns, as well the author of the Meme War Weekly newsletter, and the host of the Big, If True webinar series.

Her lecture covered misinformation and disinformation in our media ecosystem, the role of political and media elites in disinformation campaigns both online and offline, the origin and spread of conspiracy theories, and the impact of media manipulation campaigns on American Democracy.



What is Media Manipulation?

  • In this lecture, Dr. Donovan discusses the tactic of "media manipulation," in which a variety of bad actors can accelerate the spread of hoaxes by seeding false stories to journalists, and the features of our information ecosystem that make it possible.



The True Costs of Misinformation: Producing Moral and Technical Order in a Time of Pandemonium

  • This lecture by Dr. Donovan surveys the wide range of bad actors spreading misinformation online and discusses the features of our networked information ecosystem they exploit to do so.



Research Reports