Lecture Series & Presentations

Fake News and Narrative: Histories, Interventions, Controversies

Wright Center Fake News & Narrative Force Lecture Series

Nina Jankowicz, Vice President, Centre for Information Resilience

May 2, 2023 @ 5pm

In-person at the Oopik Auditorium, Life Science Center, Dartmouth College

Live Streamed on Dartmouth Youtube channel


Nina Jankowicz

"How to (Really) Lose the Information War"

In 2020, Nina Jankowicz published a book examining how targets of Russian disinformation attempted to counter the Kremlin's lies, often floundering along the way. In 2022, the Biden administration tapped her to lead the Disinformation Governance Board — an intra-departmental coordinating body at the Department of Homeland Security. Within hours of the announcement of the Board, partisan domestic disinformation actors labelled it a "Ministry of Truth", falsely claimed it would censor the American people, and directed lies, hate, harassment, and threats, towards Jankowicz. Rather than defend the effort and its director, or even communicate about its plans, the Department left an information vacuum that buoyed the lies and ultimately led the administration to scrap its plans for the Board.

Weaving together her experience in US government as well as her extensive research on online abuse and disinformation across Central and Eastern Europe, Jankowicz will offer ideas and best practices for efforts to counter disinformation both within and outside of government structures, as well as predictions for the future of the problem.



Nina Jankowicz is an internationally recognized expert on disinformation and democratizationand the author of two books: How to Lose the Information War (Bloomsbury 2020), which TheNew Yorker called "a persuasive new book on disinformation as a geopolitical strategy, " and How to Be A Woman Online (Bloomsbury 2022), an examination of online abuse and disinformation and tips for fighting back, which Booklist named "essential." Currently the Vice President at the UK-based Centre for Information Resilience, a non-profit focused on countering disinformation, Jankowicz has advised governments, international organizations, and tech companies, and testified before the US Congress, UK Parliament, and European Parliament. In 2022, Jankowicz was appointed to lead the Disinformation Governance Board, an intra-agency best practices and coordination entity at the Department of Homeland Security; she resigned from the position after a sustained disinformation campaign caused the Biden Administration to abandon the project. From 2017-2022, Jankowicz held fellowships at the Wilson Center, where she led accessible, actionable research about the effects of disinformation on women and freedom of expression around the world. She advised the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry on strategic communications under the auspices of a Fulbright-Clinton Public Policy Fellowship in 2016-17. Early in her career, she managed democracy assistance programs to Russia and Belarus at the National Democratic Institute.

Wright Center Fake News & Narrative Force Lecture Series

Russ Castronovo, Tom Paine Professor of English, Director of the Center for the Humanities at UW-Madison and Author

Tuesday, February 28th @ 5:30pm

In-person - Filene Auditorium, Moore Hall, Dartmouth College

Recorded Event on Dartmouth Youtube page



"Not Enough But Too Much:  The Terror of Information"

The more information, the better: computer algorithms, sophisticated probabilistic analysis, and the exponential increase in global information storage capacity in the digital age have stretched this pursuit to an unimaginable extent. The volume of information places an infinite amount of data within reach of our keyboards, but the superabundance of information also stokes affective unease.   That unease suggests that security is not just a policy issue:  security is fundamentally an aesthetic matter that spurs feelings of vulnerability and, above all, insecurity.  The unstoppable flood of information takes on sublime dimensions, dwarfing citizens' capabilities.  While this scenario is especially suited to our contemporary moment, it's also one that has precedents in the American gothic novel of the eighteenth century.  By setting up a conversation between our current predicament and earlier histories, this talk explores routes for scaling (and hopefully understanding) this seemingly insurmountable problem. 


Russ Castronovo is Tom Paine Professor of English and Director of the Center for the Humanities at UW-Madison where he teaches courses on American literature, political theory, and popular culture.  His most recent book, American Insecurity and the Origins of Vulnerability is forthcoming later this year from Princeton University Press.  He is also the author and editor of 9 other books, including Propaganda 1776:  Secrets, Leaks, and Revolutionary Communications in Early America (2014); Beautiful Democracy:  Aesthetics and the Anarchy of Global Culture (2007); Necro Citizenship:  Death, Eroticism, and the Public Sphere in the Nineteenth-Century-United States (2001); Fathering the Nation:  American Genealogies of Slavery and Freedom (1995).  His articles have appeared in such journals as Critical Inquiry, boundary 2, American Literature, PMLA, New Literary History, and American Literary History.  He also writes for public audiences more broadly, most recently for Public Books with an essay on "Homeland Security Theater."  He is the recipient of the Chancellor's Distinguished Teaching Award and the University of Wisconsin system-wide teaching award.

Elizabeth Losh, Director of the Equality Lab & Professor of English and American Studies at William and Mary

Monday, November 14th @ 5pm

In-person: Filene Auditorium, Moore Hall, Dartmouth College

Live streamed on the Dartmouth YouTube channel.

Liz Losh

Liz Losh

A More Perfect User: White House Rhetoric about Technology and Anxieties about Race, Gender, and Class

Based on interviews with White House insiders, archival research, and a trove of digital data, Elizabeth Losh's new book Selfie Democracy examines tech policy, digital literacy and attitudes about data and democracy. In addition to revealing important insights about the social media and smart phone practices of the most significant actors in recent American politics—Barack Obama and Donald Trump as presidents and Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden as presidential candidates—. Such powerful political leaders often reinforce certain cultural assumptions about the power of the smartphone that perpetuate myths about connection, transparency, participation, and access. These myths are further amplified in rhetoric borrowed from Silicon Valley about how these technologies supposedly strengthen social bonds, enable exploration, encourage engagement, and overcome barriers. Obama might have been the anti-Trump and Trump the anti-Obama, but they both used mobile computing in ways that redefined the office of president. This talk exposes the unintended consequences of wireless technologies on political leadership and shows how seemingly benign mobile devices that hold out the promise of direct democracy can ultimately undermine representative forms of government, as the January 6th, 2021 storming of the US Capital by a selfie-taking mob livestreaming the insurrection demonstrates.

"The truth is always new." - Max Jacob



She is the is the author of Virtualpolitik: An Electronic History of Government Media-Making in a Time of War, Scandal, Disaster, Miscommunication, and Mistake (MIT Press, 2009), The War on Learning: Gaining Ground in the Digital University (MIT Press, 2014), Hashtag (Bloomsbury, 2009), and Selfie Democracy: The New Digital Politics of Disruption and Insurrection. She is the co-author of the comic book textbook Understanding Rhetoric: A Graphic Guide to Writing (Bedford/St. Martin's, 2013; second edition, 2017) with Jonathan Alexander, editor of the collection MOOCs and Their Afterlives: Experiments in Scale and Access in Higher Education (University of Chicago, 2017), and co-editor of Bodies of Information: Intersectional Feminism and Digital Humanities (University of Minnesota, 2018)

Wednesday, May 18 @5pm IN-PERSON ONLY Oopik Auditorium, Class of 1978 Life Sciences Center

NBC Senior Reporters Brandy Zadrozny and Ben Collins

Brandy and Ben

NBC Reporters

Biography of Brandy Zadrozny

She launched her career in journalism in 2013 by working at The Daily Beast. Since 2018, Brandy has been working as a journalist for NBC News.

At NBC News, she has written on the "depressing" aspects of the Internet. Her reportings mostly focus on political extremism and conspiracy theories such as QAnon and the Stop the Steal movement. Also, Brandy covers stories concerning disinformation on social media and particularly as it pertains to the COVID-19 pandemic as well as anti-vaccination activism. NBC News said Brandy is "relentlessly well-researched as well as sophisticated in her understanding of disinformation and conspiracy theories on the Internet..they couldn't be prouder of Brandy and that they will continue to vigorously support her work."

Biography of Ben Collins - coming soon


Brandy Zadrozny and Ben Collins will be discussing disinformation and conspiracy theories that have spread and divided Americans. Collins and Zadrozny have extensively covered dis- and misinformation, extremism, and the internet. Their recent stories have included social media's response to Russian disinformation, the antivaccine movements' windfall during the pandemic, and the role of the QAnon movement in our national life.

David T. Z. Mindich, Ph.D. Professor and Chair, Dept. of Journalism, Temple University

Which Lives Matter in the News: A Call for a Truer Mirror

David T.Z. Mindich

David T.Z. Mindich

Video link:

David Mindich @ Dartmouth, Wright Center for Computation & Just Communities



Mindich is  the chair of the journalism department at the Klein College of Media and Communication at Temple University; before that, he was a journalism professor at Saint Michael's College in Vermont, where he served nearly a decade as chair.  The author of two books and numerous articles, Mindich was named Vermont Professor of the Year in 2006. For the 2015-2016 academic year, he was on sabbatical, living in New York City and working as a visiting scholar at New York University.

Before becoming a professor, Mindich worked as an assignment editor for CNN and earned a doctorate in American Studies from New York University. He has written articles for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, New York Magazine, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Wilson Quarterly, Columbia Journalism Review and other publications. He is the author of Just the Facts: How "Objectivity" Came to Define American Journalism and Tuned Out: Why Americans Under 40 Don't Follow the News (Oxford University Press, 2005), a book Walter Cronkite called "very important....a handbook for the desperately needed attempt to inspire in the young generation a curiosity that generates the news habit."  

Since the publication of Tuned Out, Mindich has given talks about young people and news to media groups (including the New York Times and USA Today) and at schools around the country.

Mindich founded Jhistory, an Internet group for journalism historians, in 1994. In 1998-1999, he was head of the History Division of the AEJMC. In 2002, the AEJMC awarded Mindich the Krieghbaum Under-40 Award for Outstanding Achievement in Research, Teaching and Public Service.  In 2006, CASE and the Carnegie Foundation named Mindich the Vermont Professor of the Year. In 2011, he was named New England Journalism Educator of the Year by the New England Newspaper & Press Association.

Mindich had a recent radio appearance: Behind the Bylines: Advocacy Journalism in America.



On his first day as an assignment editor for CNN, David T. Z. Mindich was told that a fire in a welfare hotel does not have the same news value as a fire in the Waldorf Hotel.  This provoked a decades-long investigation of news values, including how journalism is impacted by national identity, bigotry, and what Mindich calls "cultural proximity."  The author of a book on journalistic objectivity, Mindich will outline how battles between "fake news" and truth played out in the coverage of lynching in the 1890s, pitting mainstream journalists against the crusading reporter Ida B. Wells.  These issues are still current today, in the era of BLM, George Floyd, and the calls to tell more inclusive and truthful stories. 


Wednesday, February 2, 2022 @ 5pm Eastern on Zoom

Andie Tucher - Director, Communications Ph.D. Program Columbia Journalism School


Andie Tucher

Andie Tucher, a historian and journalist who has taught at the journalism school since 1998, writes widely on the evolution of conventions of truth-telling in journalism, photography, personal narrative, and other nonfiction forms. Her book "Not Exactly Lying: Fake News and Fake Journalism in American History (link is external)" will be published in February 2022 by Columbia University Press. Her previous book "Happily Sometimes After: Discovering Stories From Twelve Generations of an American Family (link is external)" (UMass 2014) explores stories told by her ancestors as truthful to make sense of their world — stories about kidnaps, murders, changeling children, lost fortunes and how the great-grandmother of Chief Justice John Marshall married Blackbeard by mistake. Tucher is also the author of "Froth and Scum: Truth, Beauty, Goodness, and the Ax Murder in America's First Mass Medium (link is external)" (UNC 1994), which won the Allan Nevins Prize from the Society of American Historians. 

Before coming to Columbia, Tucher served as a speechwriter for Clinton/Gore '92. She was an editorial associate to Bill Moyers at Public Affairs Television and edited his book "World of Ideas II" (1990). She also served as editorial producer of the historical documentary series "The Twentieth Century" at ABC News and an associate editor of Columbia Journalism Review

Her articles, many of which are available on Academia.edu (link is external), have appeared in Photography and Culture, American Journalism, Book History, Journalism History, Journalism Practice, Columbia Journalism Review, Humanities, common-place.org (link is external), and other scholarly and popular publications.  

Tucher graduated from Princeton as a Classics major, earned her M.S. in rare-book librarianship from Columbia's bygone School of Library Service and holds a Ph.D. in American Civilization from New York University. She is a faculty member in the journalism program of the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics (link is external). In 2010 she was elected Executive Secretary of the Society of American Historians (link is external). She isn't a bad photographer but wishes she were a better pianist.


Fake news has been part of the American media landscape for as long as there's been an American media landscape. No history of American journalism is complete without an accounting of the many ways that the information system of democracy—the critical but unsecurable infrastructure of civic life--has been invaded and exploited over the years by hoaxers, humbuggers, propagandists, puffers, partisans, blusterers, scandal-mongers, and fraudsters with motives of their own. The relationship between journalism and truth has always been more fragile than many of us realize.