Deen Freelon

Deen Freelon is an associate professor at the UNC Hussman School of Journalism and Media at the University of North Carolina and a principal researcher at the Center for Information, Technology, and Public Life (CITAP).

About

His theoretical interests address how ordinary citizens use social media and other digital communication technologies for political purposes, paying particular attention to how identity characteristics (e.g. race, gender, ideology) influence these uses. Methodologically, he is interested in how computational research techniques can be used to answer some of the most fundamental questions of communication science. Freelon has worked at the forefront of political communication and computational social science for over a decade, coauthoring some of the first communication studies to apply computational methods to social media data. Computer programming lies at the heart of his research practice, which generates novel tools (and sometimes methods) to answer questions existing approaches cannot address. He developed his first research tool, ReCal, as part of his master’s thesis, and it has since been used by tens of thousands of researchers worldwide. His scholarship has been financially supported by grantmakers including the U.S. Institute of Peace, the Spencer Foundation, the Knight Foundation, and the Hewlett Foundation; and published in top-tier journals including Nature, Science, and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Freelon earned his Ph.D. from the University of Washington in 2012 and formerly taught at American University in Washington, D.C.

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Deen Freelon es profesor numerario en la Hussman School of Journalism and Media en la University of North Carolina y uno de los principales investigadores en el Center for Information, Technology, and Public Life (CITAP). Sus intereses teóricos se dirigen a la manera en que los ciudadanos ordinarios usan las redes sociales y otras tecnologías digitales de comunicación con fines políticos, poniendo particular atención a la influencia que tienen en su uso las características que forman la identidad como la raza, el género o la ideología. Metodológicamente, está interesado en cómo las técnicas de investigación computacionales pueden usarse para contestar algunas de las preguntas más importantes de las ciencias de la comunicación. Freelon ha trabajado en la vanguardia de la comunicación política y las ciencias sociales computacionales por más de una década, y ha sido coautor de algunos de los primeros estudios de comunicación que aplicaron los métodos computacionales al procesamiento de datos de redes sociales. La programación informática ocupa un lugar central en su proceso de investigación, que genera novedosas herramientas, y en ocasiones métodos, para dar respuestas a las preguntas que los enfoques actuales no pueden contestar. Desarrolló su primera herramienta de investigación, ReCal, como parte de su tesis de maestría, y esta ha sido usada desde entonces por miles de investigadores en todo el mundo. Sus estudios académicos han sido financiados por distintos becantes como el U.S. Institute of Peace, la Spencer Foundation, la Knight Foundation y la Hewlett Foundation. Ha sido publicado en revistas de primer nivel como Nature, Science y Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Freelon obtuvo su PhD de la University of Washington en el 2012 y fue docente en la American University en Washington, D.C.

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photo of Deen Freelon

Agenda

Oct
19
Panel 3 - Finding Belonging in a Climate of Loneliness, Conspiracy, and Mistrust in Government
The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has exposed the very real threat that disinformation, entrenched individualism, and low trust in institutions pose in tackling a deadly global crisis. While the arrival of multiple Covid-19 vaccines earlier this year seemed to suggest a hopeful resolution to the crisis, low rates of vaccination—driven in large part by both political leaders' strategic public skepticism and targeted disinformation online—revealed a much deeper problem around lack of faith in government and the enormous reach of conspiracy and fake news more broadly.