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Professor Geoffrey Wallace Awarded Research Grant to Study Violence Against the Media

Submitted by Stephen Dunne on March 21, 2023 - 2:24pm
Journalist Protest
Journalist Protest

G. Wallace

Over 3,000 journalists have been killed around the world since 1990. Violence against the members of the media threatens, and is often intended to threaten, the press freedoms so critical to free societies and government accountability. In recognition of this growing threat, the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize was co-awarded to Maria Ressa (founder of the Filipino outlet Rappler) and Dmitry Muratov (editor-in-chief of the Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta).

Professor Geoffrey P.R. Wallace was recently awarded a 2-year grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for his project “Political Context, the Press, and Violence Against the Media.” The goal of the project is to better understand the circumstances that lead to violence against the media by state and non-state perpetrators. Professor Wallace is constructing a new and comprehensive data set of all killings and non-natural deaths of members of the media worldwide for the period 1990-2020. These data will be supplemented with additional information about other forms of media violence, including threats, arrests, and attacks in specific countries where journalists have been under duress.

The main goal of the project is to develop and test theories of media violence. However, it is also anticipated that the findings will enable officials and activists to better assess when members of the media are most at risk, to develop rules and programs for better protecting the media, and tools for evaluating the effectiveness of such initiatives.  

Another direct benefit of the grant is undergraduate and graduate training. Professor Wallace anticipates that more than 50 undergraduate students will work on the project through his Law and Violence Data Laboratory initiative, receiving intensive training in core principles and practicalities of social science research methods.  In addition, the project will provide graduate students with opportunities to develop their skills as researchers and project managers.