The MIC Center’s Media Ecosystem project is recruiting a Post-Doctoral Researcher


Philadelphia’s Media Ecosystem: Journalism, Community Organizing, and the Narratives and Power Structures that Shape our City

This project will explore the way that community groups across the region harness media and journalism and other tools to build community power. The researcher will focus on understanding the interrelationship between community-oriented media, organizing, and social change. This research will include a network analysis of both community media institutions and local community groups to understand their interconnections, as well as a qualitative examination of the ways media and other tools are harnessed to build within and across communities in the region.

Skills and qualifications:

  • PhD or equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • Experience carrying out qualitative and ethnographic research with limited direction.
  • Report writing ability, including experience writing for non-academic audiences.
  • Ability to cultivate relationships quickly and excellent networking skills.
  • Familiarity with and existing relationships with Philadelphia-area community groups a plus.
  • Ability to perform Social Network Analysis/Organizational Network Analysis and the requisite quantitative skills to display and present data in compelling and accessible ways a plus.

Responsibilities/Duties:

  • Working closely with MIC Co-Directors, Center staff, and project advisors, develop research plan for Philadelphia’s Media Ecosystem project.
  • Collaborate with the Faculty Co-Directors to advance MIC’s research agenda and strategic plan on the grant project.
  • Conduct ethnographic field research, analyze data, revise research plan iteratively
  • Interact with program partners, MIC and the project consortium’s partners while executing the research.
  • Attend meetings with project consortium members and collaborate on data sharing as well as satellite research projects conducted by the consortium. 
  • Work with graduate students and others engaged in the Center’s projects.
  • Contribute to the planning and execution of the Center’s conferences and other convenings as they pertain to the programmatic activities of the grant.
  • Generate and disseminate MIC’s research findings and related content through various publications and communications channels, including to non-academic audiences.
  • Build relationships and collaborate with researchers and external organizations to develop new research proposals and initiatives.
  • Must be well-organized, capable of translating research findings into white papers, blog posts, and other formats; able to revise workplans as needed; work collaboratively with other groups in the consortium; able to interact with community and cultural groups easily; able to work under and meet deadlines; able to keep open lines of communication and have very good written and oral communication skills. 

This post is full-time and for up to 24 months (part-time applications will also be considered).

The Post-Doctoral fellow will be provided a stipend of $55,000, health insurance, a workspace, computer, and library access. It is expected that the fellow be working on-site in Philadelphia.

About MIC and the project:

The Media, Inequality & Change Center occupies the intersection of technology, policy, and social justice. It is committed to studying the political economy of social problems, media, and democracy, while engaging local activist projects, and drawing connections with national and international social movements. Over the life of the grant, MIC will lead two integrated research projects focused on Philadelphia’s local media ecosystem. Mapping media institutions will be a multi-year, multi-phase study employing mixed methods and resulting in an in-depth, structural analysis of the region’s news media. MIC’s community network analysis will employ a political economic framework that assesses the ownership and control of local media as well as how communities harness media to make positive social change.  Drawing on our deep national and international networks, MIC will cross-fertilize best practices, amplify findings, and facilitate dialogue across the city and beyond. As part of this project, MIC also will provide regular opportunities for project partners and community organizations to meet, share data, and collaborate with researchers, practitioners, and organizations engaged in similar work in other locations domestically and internationally. The project as a whole will contribute to new knowledge about the interrelationships between media, organizing, and social change. It will also shed light on the ways in which our local media ecosystem upholds systems of power. Ultimately, our aim is to outline a vision for remaking media in ways that reflect communities’ information needs, especially around vitally important social issues such as inequality and criminal justice.

Submitting Your Application

Eligibility: You must have a PhD or be receiving your PhD by May 2020

Cover Page – include your name and contact information, dissertation supervisor name and contact information, defense date (if degree not awarded), and a short statement of institutional fit (not to exceed 300 words) – explain how your background and experience aligns with MIC’s mission and would be applicable to the Center’s Media Ecosystem project.

CV– list degrees, peer-reviewed publications, academic non-peer-reviewed publications, public scholarship, invited talks, conference papers, other relevant qualifications, specific research and language skills.

Up to two publications (not to exceed 50 pages in total)

Timeline: All materials should be sent as a single PDF document to briar.smith@asc.upenn.edu by April 1, 2020.

If you have additional questions, please email briar.smith@asc.upenn.edu

The University of Pennsylvania is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment and will not be discriminated against on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, creed, national or ethnic origin, citizenship status, age, disability, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law. For more information, go to http://www.upenn.edu/affirm-action/eoaa.html.