Africa in the Media

In a major initiative to change the way Americans see Africa, the Lear Center’s Media Impact Project has released a seminal report that reveals that Americans seldom see mentions of Africa or Africans on popular television shows or in the news; and when they do, the portrayals are often negative and stereotyped.

The Africa Narrative, based at MIP and in partnership with CrissCrossGlobal, is a global initiative harnessing the power of the arts, media and entertainment, business, education and philanthropy to engage the world in new stories of modern Africa.


REPORT: How Trump’s ‘Shithole’ Remark About Africa Affected Public Sentiment

This analysis of Twitter sentiment in the wake of news reports that President Donald J. Trump had characterized some African nations as “shithole countries” reveals a substantial 66% increase in negative tweets about Trump, and a dramatic increase of over 3,000% in the volume of mentions of Africa. However, there is no indication of a shift in American sentiment toward Africa or Africans. Rather, the tweets focused predominantly on using the episode as a prop for partisan sniping, while any substantive discussion about Africa was largely absent. This suggests a largely missed opportunity by Americans to counter the disparaging remark with information spotlighting the success, diversity and opportunities within Africa. READ THE FULL REPORT.

Immigration Nation: Exploring Immigrant Portrayals on Television

This report presents a media content analysis conducted by the Lear Center’s Media Impact Project in collaboration with Define American, a nonprofit media and culture organization, to investigate two research questions:

1. How are immigrants and immigration issues depicted on entertainment television?

2. How do these depictions compare with the reality of the immigrant experience?

The analysis examines the demographic, socio-economic, and social representations of immigrant characters depicted, as well as the context and use of any culturally- or politically-charged terms relating to immigration in 143 episodes of 47 television shows that aired in 2017 and 2018.

How Russian Hackers and Trolls Exploited the U.S. Media in 2016: Kathleen Hall Jamieson

Read this preliminary work from Kathleen Hall Jamieson, delivered in March 2018 for her Ev Rogers Award Colloquium, which evolved into her incendiary new book, “Cyberwar: How Russian Hackers and Trolls Helped Elect a President—What We Don’t, Can’t, and Do Know.”

Dr. Jamieson discusses her new book with the New Yorker‘s Jane Mayer.
Dr. Jamieson is a guest on KCRW’s To The Point, with Warren Olney, to discuss her book.

Browse By:

FRONTLINE: Creating Virtual Reality Journalism – A Guide for Best Practices

For the last three years, journalists, producers, designers and engineers from FRONTLINE and Emblematic Group have worked together to produce two VR experiences that each deploy the power of fully immersive, room-scale VR in the service of deeply reported narrative journalism. As part of the initiative, the Lear Center’s Media Impact Project conducted testing exploring how the new technology being used by FRONTLINE and Emblematic engages and informs audiences.

This report covers the lessons gleaned throughout this collaborative effort, shared to foster future opportunities for meaningful immersive journalism, and to help establish standards to guide other journalists and media organizations participating in this developing field. View the report online here.

From the Sofa to the Streets: Strategies to Ignite Social Action through Documentary Media

Producers of the EPIX series America Divided conducted an innovative engagement campaign to spur action against social injustice and invited the Lear Center’s Media Impact Project to determine if their documentary series inspired real social change. Spoiler alert: It did! This report outlines key strategies to success and areas of improvement that could be applied to other documentary media projects.