The Media, Inequality and Change Center (MIC) is a collaboration between the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School and Rutgers University’s School of Communication and Information. The Center explores the intersections between media, democracy, technology, policy, and social justice. MIC produces engaged research and analysis while collaborating with community leaders to help support activist initiatives and policy interventions. The Center’s objective is to develop a local-to-national strategy that focuses on communication issues important to local communities and social movements in the region, while also addressing how these local issues intersect with national and international policy challenges.
The Center’s core principles are to research, educate, connect, and engage. MIC accomplishes this by assessing social movement strategies and democratic deployments of technology; contributing to policy interventions that encourage structural reform; committing to long-term field building in political economy, media, policy and technology studies and other cognate areas; assisting social justice campaigns, and making material interventions around media and democracy. Bringing together scholars, journalists, policy makers, activists, philanthropists, and diverse constituencies, MIC strives to create more democratic media systems that serve community needs.
The Center is a forum for faculty, students, activists, policy makers and journalists to grapple with questions related to media, democracy, and social change. With an emphasis on community engagement in Philadelphia and New Jersey, MIC focuses on research, teaching and learning, community engagement, and field-building.
Graduate Research Fellows
Victor Pickard is an associate professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School for Communication where he co-directs the Media, Inequality & Change (MIC) Center. He is the author, co-author, or co-editor of six books, including America’s Battle for Media Democracy; Will the Last Reporter Please Turn Out the Lights; After Net Neutrality; and, most recently, Democracy without Journalism? More
Todd Wolfson is Associate Professor of Journalism and Media Studies at Rutgers University and the digital media coordinator for the Master of Communication and Media program. His research focuses on the intersection of new media and contemporary social movements and he is author of “Digital Rebellion: The Birth of the Cyber Left” and co-editor of the forthcoming volume, “Great Refusal: Herbert Marcuse and Contemporary Social Movements.” Wolfson believes in the importance of engaged scholarship that leads to tangible action in the world, and to that end, he is a co-founder of the Media Mobilizing Project (MMP) based in Philadelphia, PA. More
Briar Smith is the Center’s program manager where she manages the Center’s grants, research endeavors, conferences, and the COMPASS program. She was formerly the Associate Director at the Center for Global Communication Studies at Annenberg where she oversaw the Center’s global grants, managed other research initiatives, and coauthored many CGCS/partner publications. While a graduate student at Annenberg, her research was focused on international cultural communications with particular focus on China and the Middle East. Briar has a Master’s degree in Communication from the University of Pennsylvania and BA’s in Chinese Language and Literature and Psychology from Swarthmore College.
Barbara “Barbie” Izquierdo
Tech Exchange Fellow
Barbara “Barbie” Izquierdo was born and raised in North Philadelphia in the Hunting Park section of the city. Since 2008, she has advocated for food justice, to end poverty and shared access to resources including mental health and drug and alcohol services. Barbara has organized behind victims of crime and domestic violence to empower and motivate others to use their voice in seeking justice. Working with the Pennsylvania Domestic Workers Alliance, Barbie is collaborating to organize Philadelphia’s 16,000 domestic workers and ensure they receive the paid time off through Alia, an online benefits platform created by NDWA Labs by and for domestic workers. This joint project between MIC and NWDA, made possible in part by funding from the Media Democracy Fund, supports an innovative breakthrough in providing legally mandated benefits for gig economy workers through the Philadelphia Domestic Workers Bill of Rights. Barbie is one of 11 2019-2020 Fellows funded, in part, by the Ford/MDF Technology Exchange.