33 episodes

Where political communication theory meets on the ground strategy. Host, Professor Elizabeth Dubois, picks a political communication theory, explains it to a practitioner, and then they have a chat about whether or not it makes sense at all out in the world of politics and communications. She chats with political staffers, journalists, comms experts, lobbyists, activists and other political actors. Elizabeth quizzes them on pol comm theory and they tell her how ridiculous (or super helpful) that theory actually is.

Wonks and War Rooms Elizabeth Dubois

    • Education
    • 5.0 • 1 Rating

Where political communication theory meets on the ground strategy. Host, Professor Elizabeth Dubois, picks a political communication theory, explains it to a practitioner, and then they have a chat about whether or not it makes sense at all out in the world of politics and communications. She chats with political staffers, journalists, comms experts, lobbyists, activists and other political actors. Elizabeth quizzes them on pol comm theory and they tell her how ridiculous (or super helpful) that theory actually is.

    Mapping theories for media and digital literacy

    Mapping theories for media and digital literacy

    This week Elizabeth wraps up season 3! This season was focused on Media and Digital Literacy, and Elizabeth runs through all the concepts we covered to help you gain a greater understanding of how these concepts are interrelated. Elizabeth also takes a look back at some concepts and episodes from previous seasons, and looks to the future for our next season on mis and dis-information.
    Additional Resources: 
    Remember Season 3, Episode 1 with Matthew from Media Smarts? This excellent resource from Media Smarts provides an overview of digital literacy fundamentals.Check out this report to understand more about the Digital Media Ecosystem.Elizabeth mentions this video on hybridity.Many of the theories discussed on the show are media effects theories. Check out this article that gives an overview of media effects theories.Curious about any of the other theories or episodes mentioned? You can find all Wonks and War Rooms episodes here.Do you have guest ideas? Political communication theories you need explained? Any other feedback for the show? Make sure to reach out to @polcommtech on Twitter and Instagram or @lizdubois on Twitter.

    • 14 min
    Surveillance Capitalism with Vass Bednar (re-release)

    Surveillance Capitalism with Vass Bednar (re-release)

    Elizabeth chats with public policy expert Vass Bednar about surveillance capitalism. Taking a few Canadian examples, they talk about how tech companies collect and use data about their users, how privacy policy might be a red herring and how incentive structures in the tech industry contribute to the system of surveillance capitalism.
    Additional Resources:
    Shoshana Zuboff's The Age of Surveillance Capitalism is the key text. There are also a lot of summaries of the book in blog posts, podcasts, and videos. One of my favourite short reviews of the concept comes from the Fortune Magazine YouTube channel, found here.Check out Vass's newsletter, Regs to Riches - of particular interest to this conversation are her pieces on Laying down the Loblaw and Loblaw media.Vass also wrote a piece in the Globe and Mail: Loblaw’s points economy for private-health data follows Big Tech’s playbook.In the episode Vass mentioned a weather app - check out The Weather Network's description of their "precise location forecast" which includes information about user privacy.Vass also mentions that Facebook offers information about why you might see certain ads. Find out more here.Not sure what the bread memories of 2017 Elizabeth is talking about? Here’s the wiki.Also, wondering about GDPR? It’s Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation, which came into effect in May 2018. Find out more.Vass mentions the Shopify breakup with Mail Chimp, which happened in November 2019. Since this episode originally aired, the two have gotten back together.

    • 32 min
    Technological Affordances with Rachel Aiello

    Technological Affordances with Rachel Aiello

    This week Elizabeth chats about technological affordances with Rachel Aiello, an online politics producer for CTVNews.ca and a member of the parliamentary press gallery. They chat about how technology is changing how journalists report and how audiences receive information, from politicians on social media to journalists working from their phones. They also talk about technological determinism in order to highlight why it is important we think about affordances in the first place.
     
    Additional Resources
    Elizabeth uses this article by Butcher & Helmond and this article by Nagy & Neff to build her definitions of the different types of affordances she discusses in this episode.
    Rachel discusses how phones have become a key tool for journalism, check out the Mobile Journalism Manual to learn more.
    Elizabeth mentions Authenticity with Kevin Parent from Season 1, Episode 7.
    Rachel and Elizabeth talk about the changes to the news cycle and how news is consumed. This study from Verizon shows how often people watch videos on mute.
     Elizabeth also discusses technological determinism. Here is an overview of the theory.

    • 31 min
    Content Moderation with Andrew Strait (re-release)

    Content Moderation with Andrew Strait (re-release)

    Former content moderator and current director of the Ada Lovelace Institute, Andrew Strait and Elizabeth chat about what content moderation is, why it is always flawed, and how the way in which platforms are constructed impact the flow of content. They talk about a bunch of related issues including how to (and how not to) regulate tech companies in order to minimize harms.
    Additional Resources
    Andrew recommended two great books that look at content moderation and content moderators: Behind the Screen by Sarah T. Roberts and Custodians of the Internet by Tarleton Gillespie. 
    This interview with Sarah T. Roberts discusses the psychological impact of being a content moderator. 
    After the interview Andrew also mentioned the work of Daphne Keller and Robyn Caplan.
    Andrew brings up the landmark “right to be forgotten” case from 2014.
    The German regulation mentioned in this episode is NetzDG. Here is a primer written by academics Heidi Tworek and Paddy Leerssen in April 2019, just over a year after the regulation came into effect.
    This episode Andrew mentions the idea of affordances. To learn more about this concept make sure to come back for next week’s episode where we will explore technological affordances!

    • 33 min
    Political Satire with Tim Fontaine (of Walking Eagle News)

    Political Satire with Tim Fontaine (of Walking Eagle News)

    Tim Fontaine is a former journalist who founded the satirical news website Walking Eagle News. He and Elizabeth chat about the role of political satire in peoples’ information diets. Political satire can provide an audience with a different perspective, help people understand the dominant narratives, and highlight gaps in dominant discourses. Elizabeth and Tim cover everything from the role of political satire, to critiques of political satire, to the difference between political satire and “fake news”.


    Additional Resources
    Elizabeth uses this article from Hill to inform her definition of political satire.
    Tim uses Canadian Press Style at Walking Eagle News, check out this overview of the style guide to understand what that means.
    Tim mentions multiple examples and headlines from Walking Eagle News. Here is “man filmed murdering man found guilty” and here is the article “there is only race, the human race”. 
    To see a little more about the difference between satire and fake news check out this short interview.
    Tim notes the importance of media literacy. To learn more about becoming media literate check out our episode on Critical Digital Literacy with Matthew Johnson.

    • 34 min
    Safe Spaces with Erin Gee (of the Bad + Bitchy Podcast)

    Safe Spaces with Erin Gee (of the Bad + Bitchy Podcast)

    Erin Gee is a policymaker, specialist in gender-based analysis, and Co-Founder of the Bad + Bitchy Podcast, and this week she discusses safe spaces with Elizabeth. Safe Spaces are online or physical spaces where historically marginalized groups might connect, share information and ideas, and mobilize. How does the idea of safe spaces connect to media and digital literacy? We consume information in social contexts, safe spaces can be one of those contexts. Erin and Elizabeth cover types of safe spaces, critiques of safe spaces, free speech, equity, and intersectionality.

    Additional Resources
    Elizabeth draws on this article from Rosemary Clark-Parsons and this article from Anna Gibson for her academic definition of safe space.
    Erin uses LGBTQ spaces on campuses as an example of a safe space. This opinion article shows the importance of these kinds of spaces on campus, and the impact on students who lost them during the pandemic.
    Erin and Elizabeth discuss the tension between safe spaces and free speech, this article demonstrates the type of arguments that may be used against safe spaces.
    Erin uses this graphic about equity to highlight her point about privilege and free speech.

    • 35 min

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