Rogers Chair

Current Chair holder: Professor Anabel Quan-Haase, July 1, 2021 - June 30, 2023

Photo of Anabel Quan-Haase posing on Western's campus

Topic: COVID-19 and the Social and Informational Impacts of Social Media

COVID-19 has affected societies around the world in unimageable ways. Professor Anabel Quan-Haase, the current Rogers Chair of Studies in Journalism and New Information Technology, will examine the role of social media during the COVID-19 pandemic, with an emphasis on the informational and societal impacts of the technology. According to Burgess, Marwick, and Poell (2018), “the world is in the midst of a social media paradigm – a distinctive moment in the history of media and communications shaped by the dominance of social media technologies” (p. 1). The pandemic has only increased the centrality of social media in society, as people are in lockdown and following physical distancing guidelines, tethered to their screens looking for information and alternative means to socialize. Professor Quan-Haase will take an interdisciplinary approach to examining the role of social media during the COVID-19 pandemic to allow us to emerge with better understandings, tools, and expertise. Four themes will be addressed over the course of the two-year Chairship.

2021-2023 Research Themes

FIMS Rogers Chair Wordmark Theme 1: Pedagogy during and after the Covid-19 pandemic: Differential social and informational impacts of social media on social subgroups

Theme 2: Misinformation and disinformation on social media: Prevalence and journalistic challenges

Theme 3: Factchecking during Covid-19: Approaches to countering misinformation

Theme 4: Social impacts of COVID-19 in time of pandemic: The role of social media

More Information

Upcoming Events

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Disinformation Disorder and Potential Solutions for Canada

12:00 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.
Zoom Webinar (registration required)

Professional headshot of Heidi TworekPresented by Heidi Tworek, Canada Research Chair (History and Policy of Health Communications) and Associate Professor, jointly appointed at the School of Public Policy and Global Affairs and History at the University of British Columbia.

Co-hosted by MediaSmarts: Canada's Centre for Digital Literacy as part of Media Literacy Week.

Everyone is welcome to attend. 

Attend in person in FNB 4130 (light refreshments provided).

Or attend virtually through Zoom Webinar (registration required).

Short Abstract: Poor-quality information and conspiracy theories seem to be floating around everywhere. But how can we understand the effects of these issues and are there any ways to address them? This talk will explore the history of disinformation to examine what is new about our present problems. It will then examine how poor-quality information and online abuse are affecting health and politics in Canada before finally suggesting some solutions to these complex questions.

Speaker Bio: Dr. Heidi Tworek is a Canada Research Chair and associate professor of international history and public policy at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver. She is an award-winning researcher of media, history, health communications, international organizations, and platform governance. She directs the Centre for the Study of Democratic Institutions at UBC. She is a senior fellow at the Centre for International Governance Innovation as well as a non-resident fellow at the German Marshall Fund of the United States and the Canadian Global Affairs Institute.

Her most recent book is the prize-winning News from Germany: The Competition to Control World Communications, 1900-1945 (Harvard University Press, 2019). She has written over 45 journal articles and book chapters as well as many policy reports on online abuse, health communications, explanatory journalism, and digital democracy. She has also advised multiple governments, including serving on the Expert Advisory Group on online safety for the Heritage Ministry in Canada in summer 2022.

Her writing has been published in English and German in major magazines and newspapers, including Foreign Affairs, Washington Post, The Atlantic, The Globe & Mail, Süddeutsche Zeitung, ZEIT, and The Conversation. Her work has been featured in publications such as the New York Times, Financial Times, CNN, and many others. Heidi also appears regularly on national radio and television.

She received her BA (Hons) in Modern and Medieval Languages with a double first from Cambridge University and earned her MA and PhD in History from Harvard University. Heidi has held visiting fellowships at the Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich, the Transatlantic Academy in Washington DC, the Centre for Contemporary History, Potsdam, Germany, and Birkbeck, University of London. She has also taught as a guest lecturer at Free University, Berlin and Göttingen University.

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Previous Events

Friday, October 29, 2021

Computational Approaches to Studying Anti-Social Behaviour in Social Media

A social media workshop presented by Professor Anatoliy Gruzd, Ryerson University.




Thursday, October 28, 2021

Studying the COVID-19 Infodemic at Scale

Presented by Professor Anatoliy Gruzd, Ryerson University.




Thursday, April 28, 2022

Disinformation on Social Media During the COVID-19 Pandemic:Prevalence and Journalistic Challenges

Featuring Ahmed Al-Rawi (SFU), Lauren Pelley (CBC), Alfred Hermida (UBC) and Craig Silverman (ProPublica)

About Anabel Quan-Haase

Professor Anabel Quan-Haase is jointly appointed to the Department of Sociology and the Faculty of Information and Media Studies at Western University, and is the director of the SocioDigital Media Lab. She is the co-editor of the Handbook of Social Media Research Methods (Sage, 2017), co-author of Real-Life Sociology (Oxford University Press, 2nd ed, 2021), author of Technology and Society (3rd ed., Oxford University Press, 2020), and co-editor of the Handbook of Computational Social Science (Routledge, forthcoming). Professor Quan-Haase has published over 100 peer-reviewed articles, book chapters, and conference proceedings. She is past chair of the Communication, Information Technology, and Media Sociology section of the American Sociological Association and past president of the Canadian Association for Information Science. Through her policy work she has cooperated with the Benton Foundation, Partnership for Progress on the Digital Divide, Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and Canada’s Digital Policy Forum. Quan-Haase is also a frequent expert commentator and resource for mass media outlets including The Globe and Mail, CBC, Vice, CTV, Global News, Financial Post, The Huffington Post, and many others.

Previous Rogers Chair Appointees

  • Anabel Quan-Haase, Professor, Faculty of Information and Media Studies and the Faculty of Social Science, The University of Western Ontario, July 1, 2021 - June 30, 2023.

  • Matt Stahl, Associate Professor, Faculty of Information and Media Studies, The University of Western Ontario, July 1, 2019 - June 30, 2021.

  • Sharon Sliwinski, Associate Professor, Faculty of Information and Media Studies, The University of Western Ontario, July 1, 2017-June 30, 2019.

  • Nick Dyer-Witheford, Associate Professor, Faculty of Information and Media Studies, The University of Western Ontario, July 1, 2015-June 30, 2017.

  • Grant Campbell, Associate Professor, Faculty of Information and Media Studies, The University of Western Ontario, July 1, 2013-June 30, 2015.

  • Alison Hearn, Associate Professor, Faculty of Information and Media Studies, The University of Western Ontario, July 1, 2011-June 30, 2013.

  • Daniel Robinson, Associate Professor, Faculty of Information and Media Studies, The University of Western Ontario, July 1, 2010-June 30, 2011.

  • Jonathan Burston, Associate Professor, Faculty of Information and Media Studies, The University of Western Ontario, July 1, 2009-June 30, 2010.

  • Edward Comor, Associate Professor, Faculty of Information and Media Studies, The University of Western Ontario, July 1, 2007-June 30, 2009.

  • Sasha Torres, Associate Professor, Faculty of Information and Media Studies, The University of Western Ontario, July 1, 2005-June 30, 2007.

  • David Spencer, Professor, Faculty of Information and Media Studies, The University of Western Ontario, July 1, 2003-June 30, 2005.

  • Anantha Babbili, visiting professor from Texas Christian University, Forth Worth TX, September 1, 2000-April 30, 2001.

  • John Downing, visiting professor from The University of Texas at Austin, Austin TX, May 1, 2000-August 31, 2000.

  • John Lent, visiting professor from Temple University, Philadelphia PA, January 1, 2000-April 30, 2000.

About the Rogers Chair

The Rogers Chair of Studies in Journalism and New Information Technology reflects a commitment to interdisciplinary studies in media and information technology, with a base in the Faculty of Information and Media Studies. Support for the Chair is provided by an endowment from Rogers Communications Inc., announced in the summer of 1994, and from a long-standing commitment by the Office of the Secretary of State, Government of Canada. The first appointment to the Rogers Chair occurred in January 2000. Exciting new research and teaching possibilities have been created for the University, the Faculty, and its students.

Each term, a public panel, sponsored by the Rogers Chair of Studies in Journalism and New Information Technology, is organized featuring faculty from the three disciplines that make up FIMS: Journalism, Media Studies and Library & Information Science.

The goal of these panels is to encourage faculty and students to discuss how they are thinking about a topic of mutual concern; more specifically, how their professional backgrounds and personal biographies are shaping their views and thoughts.