In this Salon, we discuss the symbolic strategies of activist political groups and the ways in which identity signatures, social telegraphing, and malicious branding pose a challenge to the media.
Many political activists see visual news coverage as an opportunity. Beyond its reporting function, visual media also serves as a performative space and a signaling platform for a wide range of political movements. The goal of this Salon is to better understand the key investigative and editorial challenges surrounding the visual identity of social and activist groups, and the use of their symbols for branding, outreach, and manipulation. We will discuss how this applies to a broad spectrum of political movements, including right-wing paramilitary and antifascist groups, as well as other types of organizations.
Moderator: Michael Shaw, Publisher Reading the Pictures. Panelists: Leslie A. Hahner, Professor of Communication, Baylor University. Co-Author, “Make America Meme Again: The Rhetoric of the Alt-Right.” Ishaan Jhaveri, Research Fellow, Tow Center for Digital Journalism, Columbia University. Brian Palmer, Peabody Award–winning journalist and documentary photographer based in Richmond, Virginia. Judy Walgren, Michigan State University School of Journalism Associate Director & Professor of Practice, Photojournalism and New Media. Former Director of Photography, San Francisco Chronicle, Pulitzer-Prize in International Reporting.
This Reading the Pictures Salon is sponsored by the Columbia University’s Tow Center for Digital Journalism and the Data Science Institute’s Center for Data, Media and Society, co-creators (with Professor of Journalism Nina Berman and the DVMM Lab at Columbia’s School of Engineering) of the VizPol tool.
In this highlight clip, moderator Michael Shaw, and panelists Judy Walgren and Brian Palmer discuss the media handling and the political implications of an unidentifiable member of the Philadelphia Police department also wearing a provocative Blue Lives Matter bandanna.Watch Now
Take a closer look at some of the images from our larger photo edit.