Demystifying Media Seminar Series: Winter 2017 speakers

The Demystifying Media seminar series explores the impact of these changes across the communications landscape and finds new ways to navigate forward.

Each term, we bring several experts — media practitioners, academics, and researchers — working at the top of their field to the University of Oregon campus to discuss the impact of the 21st-century media revolution with students, faculty, and staff. I curate the series, and if you’re new to it, check out this video to get a sense of what it’s all about.

Details of the speakers for Winter 2017 are below.

Video Produced by OR Media.

Winter 2017 Speakers

Demystifying: Hackers, Data and Code in the Age of Trump

Thursday, February 23, 10:30–11:30 a.m., Diamond Lake Room, EMU

Professor Nikki Usher, George Washington University

What does Trump’s election mean for data journalism? Nikki Usher will discuss her new book, Interactive Journalism: Hackers, Data, and Code, and look ahead to what’s next for interactive journalism across the world.

The news industry has hailed interactive journalists as its saviors and claimed them as resident authorities of quantification and digital skills the newsroom. But data isn’t as objective as we like to think. Given its significant influence on public opinion, how we present data and statistics is critical, as it can be particularly damaging when done poorly.

Thinking about the promises and perils of interactive journalism has never been more important. This talk aspires to be a starting point for this conversation at the UO SOJC.

Sex, Surveillance, and Shopping: How the Arabian Gulf Uses Social Media

Friday, March 3, 10:30–11:30 a.m. Allen Hall 141

Dr Sarah Vieweg, Facebook

Sarah Vieweg is a social scientist whose research is at the intersection of human-computer interaction, computer-mediated communication, and computer-supported cooperative work.

She researches how citizens of Arab Gulf countries perceive, use, and re-interpret social media, with an eye toward defining design principles that consider non-Western cultural values. She also looks at how advertisers throughout the world turn to social media for advertising and marketing, and how diverse marketplace activities translate to digital environments.

Vieweg holds a B.A. in economics and French from the University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign, an M.A in linguistics from the University of Colorado Boulder, and a Ph.D. in technology, media, and society from the University of Colorado, Boulder. Prior to her position at Facebook, she was a scientist at the Qatar Computing Research Institute and a project manager at Oblong Industries.

Demystifying: The future of local newspapers

Friday, March 10, 10:30–11:30 a.m., Allen Hall 141

Dr Christopher Ali, University of Virginia

Christopher Ali is an assistant professor at the University of Virginia and a Fellow of the Tow Center for Digital Journalism.

His research interests focus on communication policy and regulation, critical political economy, critical geography, comparative media systems, localism, and local news.

Ali has published in numerous journals, including Communication Theory, Media Culture & Society, and International Journal of Communication. His forthcoming book, Media Localism: The Policies of Place (University of Illinois Press, 2017), addresses the difficulties of defining and regulating local media in the 21st century in the United States, United Kingdom, and Canada and the implications these difficulties have for the long-term viability of local news.

Ali has worked for the Federal Communications Commission, submitted research for the Swiss Office of Communication, and consulted with the South Korean Committee on the Impact of Media Concentration. He holds a Ph.D. from Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania; an M.A. in media Studies from Concordia University, Canada; and a B.A. in film and media studies and sociology from the University of Alberta.

If you have a topic you’d like us to explore or a speaker to recommend for this series, please contact Damian Radcliffe, Carolyn S. Chambers Professor in Journalism, University of Oregon, at

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