6 Important Outcomes from Our Research This Year

In 2023, the Center for Media Engagement worked to improve newsroom practices, help scientists with communication training, challenge students to think about ethical questions from multiple vantage points, and educate policymakers and the public about the effects of social media as well as the spread of propaganda and misinformation via encrypted messaging apps. Here are a few key findings from our research:

1. Practicing Engaged Journalism Can Curb the Decline of Local News

Faced with declining revenue and loss of public trust, local newsrooms across the U.S. are struggling to stay afloat. In partnership with 20 newsrooms, we found that practicing engaged journalism, where newsrooms respond to community concerns, can help strengthen relationships with the communities newsrooms serve while also benefiting the bottom line. Read more.

2. A Guide to Understanding Encrypted Messaging Applications (EMAs)

Encrypted messaging applications, such as WhatsApp and Signal, are utilized in the spread of political misinformation in the U.S. and around the world. Thisreport helps journalists, policymakers, activists, and the public understand how EMAs work and how they have been used for political manipulation. Read more.

3. Two Fact-Checking Approaches Can Help Correct Misperceptions

As misinformation continues to spread rapidly, correcting people’s misperceptions has become a central task for journalists. A test of two fact-checking approaches found that both work equally well to correct misperceptions, but political beliefs influence how people perceive the news regardless of how fact-checking stories are approached. Read more.

4. A Simple Online Game Can Help Bridge Political Divides

A new online guessing game explores whether questions about political issues can help address people’s misperceptions about the other side. The results show that playing the game does make people more willing to talk to each other about political issues and presents an opportunity to help bridge divides. Read more.

5. Science Reporting is Facing Numerous Challenges in the Digital Media Landscape

Interviews with scientists explore their experiences with media and delve into the current state of science communication. Among the takeaways on the biggest problems facing science communicators, they share deep concerns about the spread of science mis- and disinformation and the lack of material support for science communication. Read more.

6. A Guide to Understanding the Ethical Challenges of AI Art

Generative AI, like countless other technologies emerging in the cyber-physical realm, presents numerous ethical challenges. This frequently accessed case study explores what AI art means for digital ethics and provides guiding questions that can help navigate the complicated discussion. Read more.