Other Group

Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy

Website:

shorensteincenter.org/

Headquarters:

Harvard University

Location:

Cambridge, Massachusetts

Type:

Harvard University Research Center

Founded:

1986

Director:

Nancy Gibbs

The Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy is a Harvard University research center that focuses on left-of-center issues relating to the media, press, and politics. [1]

It has received funding from well-known organizations including the Boston Globe Foundation, Jessie B. Cox Charitable Trust, General Electric Foundation, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Carnegie Corporation of New York, and the Foundation to Promote Open Society. [2] [3] [4]

The Shorenstein Center hired former CNN anchor Brian Stelter as its Fall 2022 Walter Shorenstein Media and Democracy Fellow. [5]

History

The Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy, also known simply as the Shorenstein Center, is a Harvard University research center that focuses on left-of-center issues relating to the media, press, and politics. [6]

The Shorenstein Center was formally founded in 1986 after leaders of the John F. Kennedy School of Government noted that engagement with the media should be a part of the school’s focus. Originally Harvard University’s Institute of Politics was responsible for the media but the institute’s director in 1974 noted that the media engagement and research role of the institute would be better suited to a separate center. [7]

Harvard University created a fund titled “Media, Politics and Public Policy Center,” which was initially funded via $50,000 from the Institute of Politics, to create a center that would handle journalistic research, press engagement, sponsoring conferences, and inviting journalists to become fellows of Harvard. [8]

Other organizations that donated to the fund, which was eventually worth $5 million, included the Boston Globe Foundation, Jessie B. Cox Charitable Trust, General Electric Foundation, and the Philip L. Graham Fund. [9]

The Joan Shorenstein Barone Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy was formally established as its own center in 1986. The center changed its name to the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy in 1995 and again to the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy in 2013. [10]

Today, under director Nancy Gibbs, the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy focuses on researching issues including the quality of news, the accountability of digital platforms, and misinformation in the media. [11]

Financials

Due to being a part of Harvard University there is limited financial information for the Shorenstein Center, however; it does receive substantial funding from private grantmaking foundations.

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, also known simply as the Knight Foundation, is a left-leaning private foundation that sets a primary emphasis on funding media-related projects. The foundation granted $500,000 to the Shorenstein Center in 2014 to support the “expansion and reach” of a web-based tool that connected journalists, students, and educators with “reliable research.” The Carnegie Corporation of New York, a left-of-center non-profit grantmaking organization, matched the Knight Foundation’s $500,000 grant to the Shorenstein Center in 2014. [12]

The Knight Foundation also listed the Shorenstein Center as a grantee as part of its 2019 commitment to invest $50 million into researching how “technology is transforming our democracy.” [13]

The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation (also known as the Hewlett Foundation) is a private grantmaking foundation that has program areas in education, environment, global development and population, performing arts, Madison Initiative, cyber, effective philanthropy, San Francisco Bay Area, and special projects. [14]

The Hewlett Foundation granted $600,000 to the Shorenstein Center in 2021 to support the expansion of a “shared digital research infrastructure” relating to the center’s Technology and Social Change research project. [15]

The Foundation to Promote Open Society (FPOS) is one of two major grantmaking foundations funded by liberal financier and billionaire George Soros. It is closely affiliated with the Open Society Foundations (OSF; formerly Open Society Institute). According to OSF’s grant database, the Foundation to Promote Open Society granted the Shorenstein Center $200,000 in 2017. [16]

Advocacy Activities

The Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy created the Harvard Kennedy School Misinformation Review, a publication that focuses on publishing left-of-center viewpoints on “misinformation” that is “fast-reviewed” by “misinformation scientists and scholars.” [17]

The Misinformation Review also lists subjects about which it wants to publish. These subjects include disinformation, propaganda, and media manipulation; news quality and misinformation; health and science misinformation; hate speech, content moderation, and platform accountability; international disinformation; and online misinformation. [18]

People

The Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy hired former CNN anchor Brian Stelter as its Fall 2022 Walter Shorenstein Media and Democracy Fellow. According to the center, Stelter will “convene a series of discussions about threats to democracy and the range of potential responses from the news media.” It also notes that the discussions will be held between Stelter and “media leaders, policy makers[sic], politicians, and Kennedy School students, fellows, and faculty.” [19]

Stelter was the host of the now-canceled CNN show “Reliable Sources,” was a media reporter at the New York Times, and a fellow at the Georgetown University Institute of Politics and Public Service. Stelter has authored books including HOAX: Donald Trump, Fox News, and the Dangerous Distortion of Truth, and was also an executive producer of the documentary “After Truth: Disinformation and the Cost of Fake News.” [20]

References

  1. “History.” Shorenstein Center. Accessed September 19, 2022. https://shorensteincenter.org/about-us/shorenstein-center-history/. ^
  2. “History.” Shorenstein Center. Accessed September 19, 2022. https://shorensteincenter.org/about-us/shorenstein-center-history/. ^
  3. “Harvard Shorenstein Center Receives $1 Million for Journalism Tool.” Philanthropy News Digest. December 24, 2014. Accessed September 19, 2022. https://philanthropynewsdigest.org/news/harvard-shorenstein-center-receives-1-million-for-journalism-tool. ^
  4. “Awarded Grants – Shorenstein Center.” Open Society Foundations.. Accessed September 19, 2022. https://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/grants/past?grant_id=OR2017-39824. ^
  5. “Brian Stelter Joins Shorenstein Center as Fall 2022 Walter Shorenstein Media & Democracy Fellow.” Shorenstein Center. Accessed September 19, 2022. https://shorensteincenter.org/stelter-shorenstein-fellow/. ^
  6. “History.” Shorenstein Center. Accessed September 19, 2022. https://shorensteincenter.org/about-us/shorenstein-center-history/. ^
  7. “History.” Shorenstein Center. Accessed September 19, 2022. https://shorensteincenter.org/about-us/shorenstein-center-history/. ^
  8. “History.” Shorenstein Center. Accessed September 19, 2022. https://shorensteincenter.org/about-us/shorenstein-center-history/. ^
  9. “History.” Shorenstein Center. Accessed September 19, 2022. https://shorensteincenter.org/about-us/shorenstein-center-history/. ^
  10. “History.” Shorenstein Center. Accessed September 19, 2022. https://shorensteincenter.org/about-us/shorenstein-center-history/. ^
  11. “History.” Shorenstein Center. Accessed September 19, 2022. https://shorensteincenter.org/about-us/shorenstein-center-history/ ^
  12. “Harvard Shorenstein Center Receives $1 Million for Journalism Tool.” Philanthropy News Digest. December 24, 2014. Accessed September 19, 2022. https://philanthropynewsdigest.org/news/harvard-shorenstein-center-receives-1-million-for-journalism-tool. ^
  13. “Knight Research Network.” Knight Research Foundation. Accessed September 19, 2022. https://knightfoundation.org/democracy-in-the-digital-age/. ^
  14. “Programs.” Hewlett Foundation. Accessed September 19, 2022. https://hewlett.org/about-us/our-programs/. ^
  15. “Grant – Shorenstein Center.” Hewlett Foundation. Accessed September 19, 2022. https://hewlett.org/grants/harvard-university-for-support-of-the-shorenstein-centers-technology-and-social-change-research/. ^
  16. “Grant – Shorenstein Center.” Open Society Foundations. Accessed September 19, 2022. https://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/grants/past?grant_id=OR2017-39824. ^
  17. “Our Mission.” HKS Misinformation Review. Accessed September 19, 2022. https://misinforeview.hks.harvard.edu/our-mission/. ^
  18. “Our Mission.” HKS Misinformation Review. Accessed September 19, 2022. https://misinforeview.hks.harvard.edu/our-mission/. ^
  19. “Brian Stelter Joins Shorenstein Center as Fall 2022 Walter Shorenstein Media & Democracy Fellow.” Shorenstein Center.. Accessed September 19, 2022. https://shorensteincenter.org/stelter-shorenstein-fellow/. ^
  20. “Brian Stelter Joins Shorenstein Center as Fall 2022 Walter Shorenstein Media & Democracy Fellow.” Shorenstein Center.. Accessed September 19, 2022. https://shorensteincenter.org/stelter-shorenstein-fellow/. ^
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