Knology takes a broad and inclusive approach to media: we study many aspects of large-scale communication, including diverse technologies, channels, and platforms. One of the things we investigate is the affordances of these technologies and channels, particularly for education and lifelong learning. We also explore how media shapes public discourse: how particular ideas come to be seen as normal and reasonable — or not — due to their presence or absence in mass media. We reflect on circulation and participation, too: how different media content moves through the world, and whether those who engage with it are invited to respond and interact or simply to consume it. Our last focal area is expertise and (un)certainty: we research how media shapes our images of expertise.

When we think of Media, we ask:

  • What role can – and should – media play in challenging social narratives about people?
  • What makes media effective at getting large groups of people to take action?
  • What are the most effective ways to capture – and hold – the attention of different media users so we can support their learning and access to it?
  • Who gets to be an expert, and how do different groups of experts communicate about the uncertainty inherent in all knowledge?
  • What do news routines and day-to-day talk about news look like, and how are these practices changing?

We collaborate with journalists, media-makers, and our fellow researchers to answer these questions.

What we're up to these days

We built an open-access guide to reporting on numbers with our colleagues at PBS NewsHour as part of a project called "Meaningful Math." The guide is a living document and we're always looking for feedback and suggestions as well as partners who want to use it. We're also supporting the NewsHour's Searching for Justice series by creating a new model for community-centered feedback and evaluation of reporting on the criminal legal system.

In another project, we're working closely with WNYC and the Bodega and Small Business Group to develop a sustainable community-based polling infrastructure for civic science reporting in English and Spanish.

And we recently published a book on moral motives and STEM-informed action. The book is based on a conference we hosted with informal educators from various fields — including journalists and filmmakers — to think about the various social and moral reasons adults learn, and the implications.

Want to work with us?

Click here to learn more about how we work with news organizations. And for more information about our main media research initiatives, check out the links at the top right of this page.

Essential Readings

For a classic view of social scientific approaches to media, see Nick Couldry, "Theorizing media as practice."

For an overview of scientific uncertainty and media, read anything Sharon Dunwoody has ever written – especially this introduction, which Hans Peter Peters and Sharon Dunwoody co-wrote.

For a good explanation of why authority and expertise are interactional, not just stable traits of individuals, see Geoffrey Ramond, "The Voice of Authority."

On the urgency of not just representation but reparations – and the long history of anti-Blackness in media – see Media 2070.

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