Charles Whitaker, Northwestern University, "Conflict and Crisis: How the Digital Revolution Upended Journalism and Democracy"
The digital revolution upended the media paradigm in ways that have both advanced and harmed society as we knew it. On the one hand, it democratized the production and dissemination of content, nullifying the influence of gatekeepers who once controlled the flow of information in print and across airwaves. But it also enflamed our tribal passions, allowing us to burrow into echo chambers that confirm our biases and stoke our grievances. And it hastened the dismantling of local and regional news outlets that served a vital function in the promotion of community and maintenance of our democracy. In this discussion, Whitaker traces the arc of the digital maelstrom, its socio-political consequences and tries to suggest a way forward.