Jobs | 03.30.18

Now Hiring: Researcher, Global Media Manipulation Casebook

For questions, email [email protected]

Data & Society Research Institute is seeking an early-career Researcher, with a background in social science, media studies, or science and technology studies to join the Media Manipulation Initiative, providing original research and supporting project-related activities. This researcher will manage a project entitled the “Global Media Manipulation Casebook,” a research platform that historicizes the tools, tactics, and techniques of groups who seek to game sociotechnical systems for profit, politics, or fun. We are particularly interested in candidates who are internet historians and information studies scholars, with a recent history of publications on the political, economic, and social implications of networked technologies. Scholars with an interest in public engagement with civil society organizations and public knowledge projects are encouraged to apply. This is a full-time, two-year position with the possibility of renewal.

The Media Manipulation Initiative (MMI) examines how different groups use the participatory culture of the internet to turn the strengths of a free society into vulnerabilities, ultimately threatening expressive freedoms and civil rights. Efforts to exploit technical, social, economic, and institutional configurations of media can catalyze social change, sow dissent, and challenge the stability of social institutions. Broadly, this initiative takes a sociotechnical approach to understanding the social, political, and economic incentives to game information systems, websites, platforms, and search engines—especially in cases where the attackers intend to destabilize democratic, social, and economic institutions.

Responsibilities may include:

You will be a project lead on the “Global Media Manipulation Casebook”(GMMC) where you will be responsible for the following:

  • Conceptualize, build, and maintain the Global Media Manipulation Casebook.
  • Identify and manage case studies for inclusion in the GMMC.
  • Produce bi-monthly reports based on case studies in the GMMC.
  • Craft a strategy with the Research Lead and Engagement Lead to convene workshops and hackathons to support a network of disinformation researchers.
  • Structure a collaborative database of research materials for a public-facing presentation of the GMMC.
  • Monitor and collect relevant data from multiple sources.
  • Research and write short and long public-facing articles for single author and collaborative publications as directed by the Research Lead.
  • Compile and summarize ongoing research and news coverage of media manipulation-related topics.
  • Conduct primary and secondary materials research.
  • Provide support for media manipulation events, workshops, and convenings.
  • Write up internal research briefs for the media manipulation team.
  • Manage a research analyst who will assist you with the GMMC.
  • Publish op-eds and blogs related to ongoing research.
  • Collaborate with other research organizations as directed by the Research Lead.
  • Travel to conferences to present research findings.

Qualities of job candidate:

  • You are committed to social change and practical applications of research.
  • You bring a unique and self-reflexive perspective to analyzing phenomena and ideas in the world.
  • You want to understand how different groups use the tools and technologies of networked communication to manipulate sociotechnical systems.
  • Because this research project deals with extremist groups, the materials you will encounter during your research are very disturbing and will include violent text, images, and video. Content can be explicit, sexist, racist, or pornographic. You must be able to communicate with your manager when you need to take breaks or be reassigned to other research. You will participate in self-care trainings provided by Equality Labs.
  • You are capable of monitoring and capturing multiple streams of fast-moving data across numerous platforms and explaining this content to other researchers, knowing when to include or omit details.
  • You are looking for a team in which you can grow and strengthen research and communication skills, while taking deep dives on specific topics. You pay attention to detail, but always keep an eye on the big picture.
  • Most importantly, you are excited by team-based research and are eager to share ideas and create new public research that engages multiple audiences and stakeholders.


  • Ability to plan and execute a project with attention to detail.
  • Excellent written communication skills with ability to conduct research using multiple methods.
  • Experience with organizing small and medium-sized events, from scoping participants to organizing travel to helping to define structure and outcomes.
  • Comfort with a range of actors, including journalists, civil society, government, tech industry, and academia.
  • Working understanding of the current state of online manipulation and disinformation and how different groups and individuals use technology to influence public conversation.
  • Education: Master’s Degree, PhD preferred. (You must be finished with your degree by July 1, 2018.)

Practical considerations:

  • This is not a remote position; you must work full time from the Data & Society office in the Flatiron section of New York City.
  • You will be offered a generous benefits package, paid time off, and a budget for travel and projects. Additionally, we are able to provide relocation assistance if necessary.
  • You must be eligible to work in the United States; we are unable to sponsor visas.

To apply, please submit the following to [email protected]:

  • Two-page cover letter describing relevant background, experience with collaborative research projects, and your interest in the media manipulation initiative.
  • Your Curriculum Vitae.
  • Submit two writing samples (e.g. dissertation chapters or articles).
  • Names, affiliations, and contact information for three professional references.
  • Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis beginning April 15, 2018, and the position should be considered open until filled.
  • Please contact [email protected] with any questions about the position; inquiries will not be held against your eligibility as a candidate.


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