Archive for Anya Schiffrin

Panelists consider income inequality, media, and 2016 election

Joseph Stiglitz, Patricia Cohen, and Michael Massing examine how concerns about inequality gained media spotlight

“The 1 percent has been a really useful framing device,” said economics reporter Patricia Cohen of the New York Times, “but I think it’s more a question now of the 0.01 percent or 0.001 percent, in terms of that concentration of wealth.”

Cohen was speaking at a February 23 event on “Income Inequality, the Media, and the 2016 Presidential Election.” She and fellow panelists Joseph Stiglitz, the SIPA professor and Nobel Laureate, and Michael Massing, author and contributor to the New York Review of Books, discussed the role that the media has played in giving inequality its current cultural moment.

Stiglitz cited a study put out by Oxfam that he called a very “cogent image” of the economic inequality the world faces today: a bus of around 60 attendees at the Davos World Economic Forum contained as much wealth as the poorest 3 billion citizens in the world. But while the media ultimately “did play a role” in highlighting inequality, he said, “reality also played a role.”

Watch the entire program here

Stiglitz explained that median income in the United States is now lower than it was 25 years ago, and real wages are lower than they were 60 years ago. He called these “astounding numbers for a country that claims to be having economic progress.”

Event moderator Anya Schiffrin, director of the International Media, Advocacy, and Communications Specialization at SIPA, reminded the audience that while income inequality might in fact be having such a cultural moment, there is a long tradition of waxing and waning public interest in the subject across decades. She brought up the example of Huey Long and Father Coughlin, two well-known agitators against income inequality during the 1930s, as the “historic roots of what we’re seeing today.”

Panelists also connected the media and the public’s fixation on inequality with the rise of populist candidates in the 2016 presidential election. Massing said that while polls were helpful, he wanted reporters to dig deeper to provided a more nuanced understanding of why Americans support candidates such as Donald Trump or Bernie Sanders. “The press, with each election,” he said, “is more and more in the dark.”

This event was hosted by SIPA’s United States regional specialization, the Urban and Social Policy concentration, and the International Media, Advocacy, and Communications Specialization.

— Lindsay Fuller MPA ’16

Pictured (from left): Anya Schiffrin, Patricia Cohen, Michael Massing, Joseph Stiglitz

An Upcoming Event: Digital Censorship



What information is—or should—be censored online?

How can we measure online censorship?

And what challenges does online censorship present?

These are all questions SIPA alumni are faced with every day in their jobs at intelligence agencies, nonprofit research institutes, and  journalism organizations, among others. If you’re interested in learning how censorship techniques are forever changing the digital landscape, then the event “Measuring Digital Censorship: A Collaborative Path Forward” is for you. Join the School of International and Public Affairs on Tuesday, November 18, 2014, from 4:00-5:00 p.m., with Professor Anya Schiffrin, to discuss online censorship mechanisms, measurement techniques, and challenges.

This event will feature panelists Meredith Whittaker, Open Source Research Lead, Google Research; Jordan McCarthy, Measurement Systems Manager, Open Technology Institute; and Jason Q. Ng, Lecturer, SIPA, who will discuss the cutting-edge work being conducted in this exciting new area of inquiry.

“Censorship is a serious problem globally and takes different forms in different places,” Professor Anya Schiffrin said. “It will be interesting to hear the Google perspective, to learn more about their research and what solutions they propose. IMAC (International Media, Advocacy and Communications Specialization) is glad to co-host this discussion as part of our ongoing interest in technology and communication.

“Our new IMAC adjunct Jason Ng has been working on the censorship of Weibo in China and so he will be a terrific discussant at this event which I hope will bring in students, alumni and colleagues from across the University.”

“Measuring Digital Censorship” is a wonderful opportunity to hear about the topics SIPA faculty are teaching in the classroom. Prospective students may also connect with current students and exchange ideas with alumni at the event.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Measuring Digital Censorship: A Collaborative Path Forward

Tuesday, November 18, 2014
4:00 – 5:00 p.m.
International Affairs Building, Room 1512



"The most global public policy school, where an international community of students and faculty address world challenges."

—Merit E. Janow, Dean, SIPA, Professor of Practice, International and Economic Law and International Affairs

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