The Social Science Research Council (SSRC) is an independent, international, nonprofit organization devoted to the advancement of interdisciplinary research in the social sciences and related disciplines through a wide variety of workshops and conferences, fellowships and grants, summer training institutes, scholarly exchanges, research, and publications. Working with partners around the world to link research to practice and policy, our work strengthens individual and institutional capacities for learning and enhances public access to information. For more information, please visit our website: www.ssrc.org

The SSRC seeks a Program Officer to support the Media & Democracy program and its platform, MediaWell (https://mediawell.ssrc.org/), that tracks research, journalism, and policy related to supporting healthy media systems, combating disinformation, and advancing the democratic exchange of ideas.

The Media, Technology, & Politics (MTP) cluster of programs at the SSRC advances research, connects scholars, and communicates knowledge surrounding the relationships between media, technology, and politics in an era of ubiquitous digital communication, uneven democratic participation, heightened polarization, and shifting institutional contexts. The MTP cluster includes the Media & Democracy program and MediaWell platform; the Social Data Initiative; and the Anxieties of Democracy, Digital Culture, and Just Tech programs.  The Program Officer will work most closely on the Media & Democracy program and its MediaWell platform.

As a respected and nonpartisan organization, the SSRC has developed a platform to help consolidate emerging scholarly literature around media, technology, and politics, and communicate its findings to the broader public. The MediaWell research mapping platform, among other activities:

  • Curates a compendium of recent research related to mis- and disinformation in the digital era, including topics such as polarization, platform governance, credibility and trust in institutions, election interference, vaccine engagement, among others.
  • Summarizes the state of interdisciplinary research in continuously updated “living” literature reviews.
  • Produces written reflections on the state of the field and policy recommendations.
  • Publishes these products on a dedicated web platform whose audience includes scholars, public policy practitioners, technology practitioners, journalists, and interested citizens.

The MediaWell platform is also currently undergoing a process of technical development and enhancement into a broader, more generalizable mapping platform so that it can better support this research domain while being available for application to other research topics.  The Program Officer will coordinate communications and oversee task management with developers, designers, and collaborators in the development of the platform for more general use in other research areas.  In partnership with the Program Director, the Program Officer will play a key role in the development of the platform’s technical infrastructure and its content.  The Program Officer will also work with the full MTP team advancing the work of the cluster. This includes collaborating with colleagues to support related working groups and research development workshops, which have incubated interdisciplinary scholarship on topics such as extremism online, toxicity and hate speech, the root causes and historical contexts of disinformation, trust and credibility, and changing models of election news coverage.  The Program Officer will work with other program staff to support and mobilize working groups and networks to address new topics and shape future research agendas.

RESPONSIBILITIES

In partnership with supervisors and colleagues, the Program Officer will:

  • Oversee the continued development and management of the MediaWell digital platform on supporting healthy media systems, combating disinformation, and advancing democratic exchange of ideas. Activities include aggregating research and related content on these critical global issues, coordinating literature reviews on key themes, and curating new content from leading scholars and journalists.
  • Oversee the editorial and publishing process of material on the digital platform, including soliciting new written material from scholars, journalists, and practitioners.
  • Write and/or commission literature reviews that summarize recent research; continue to update the reviews as new research is published.
  • Liaise with the project’s advisory board of leading scholars. This will include managing regular reports to the board, coordinating written reflection pieces from individual members of the board, and working with them on the project’s strategic direction.
  • Contribute to the transformation of the MediaWell platform into a generalizable, extensible platform.
  • Attend events to learn about new research and promote awareness of this platform among relevant scholars; engage in activities to promote awareness among journalists and practitioners.
  • Facilitate communication and collaboration among a wide and interdisciplinary group of researchers and other members of the programs’ networks.
  • Oversee planning for events and conferences.
  • Manage program budgets; prepare and draft grant proposals as well as grant narrative reports.
  • Contribute more broadly to the efforts of the Media & Democracy program and the Media, Technology, and Politics cluster, depending upon interest and capacity.

QUALIFICATIONS

  • PhD in communication, media studies, sociology, political science, information studies, or other related fields.
  • Knowledge of current academic research on the digital spread of news, the spread and influence of information, digital mis- and disinformation, and/or related fields, as well as awareness and knowledge about relevant global issues, trends, and the research fields and researchers that address them.
  • Exceptional writing and editing skills, especially for the purpose of translating academic research to a broader audience.
  • Team player with demonstrated ability to take initiative, work independently, and respond flexibly to changing demands.
  • Experience organizing and moderating workshops, meetings, and conference panels.   
  • Excellent interpersonal and organizational skills; attention to detail and a high degree of professionalism.
  • Interest in working in a professional role at the interface between different scholarly communities and between the academic, practitioner, and public audiences.
  • Experience in the management, curating, or editing of an online platform or journal is highly
  • Program management, grant writing, and budgeting experience is highly desirable.
  • Prior experience in web publishing preferred.

TERMS, SALARIES, AND BENEFITS

Annual salary will be commensurate with experience. This is a grant-funded position, and renewal is based on successful performance and availability of funding. Comprehensive benefits include health, dental, vision, disability, life, and gym reimbursement; outstanding pension plan and tax savings programs; generous vacation and sick leave; and more. Provisions are made for professional staff to continue their development as a scholar while at the Council.

This position is based out of the Brooklyn, NY office and as such conforms to the general operating hours of the SSRC standard workweek.

The Social Science Research Council is an equal opportunity and affirmative action employer. We are dedicated to equal employment opportunity and to cultivating and sustaining a diverse, equitable, and inclusive workforce. SSRC maintains a policy of non-discrimination with all employees and applicants for employment. All aspects of employment with the Council are made on the basis of competence, skill and qualifications and will not be influenced in any manner by race, creed, color, religion, sex/gender, national origin/ancestry, ethnicity, age, political affiliation, sexual orientation, marital or domestic partner status, medical conditions (including pregnancy and/or genetic information) or physical or mental disability, citizenship status or any other categories prohibited by law.

 

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