Director: Philip N. Howard | [website]

Philip N. Howard (BA Toronto, MSc London School of Economics, PhD Northwestern) is an associate professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Washington. He directs the World Information Access project ( and the project on Information Technology and Political Islam ( His book The Digital Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy is forthcoming from Oxford University Press. These latest research projects—supported by both the National Science Foundation and Intel’s People and Practices Group—investigate patterns of technology diffusion between and within developing countries and the role of new information technologies in political communication systems around the world. He is the author of New Media Campaigns and the Managed Citizen (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006), about how digital information technologies are used to manipulate public opinion in the United States. This book was awarded the 2007 CITASA Best Book prize from the American Sociological Association and the 2008 Best Book prize from the International Communication Association. He has edited Society Online: The Internet in Context (Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 2004, with Steve Jones) and the Handbook of Internet Politics (London: Routledge, 2008, with Andrew Chadwick). He has authored numerous journal articles examining the role of new information and communication technologies in politics and social development, including pieces in the American Behavioral Scientist, the Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, and New Media & Society. He has worked on several NSF projects, serving on the advisory board of the Survey2000 and Survey2001 Projects, co-managing a project about Information and Communication Technologies in Central Asia. He teaches courses on research methods, politics online, and international development. Howard has been a Fellow at the Pew Internet & American Life Project in Washington D.C., the Stanhope Centre for Communications Policy Research in London, and the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences in Palo Alto.

Manager: Muzammil M. Hussain | [website]

Muzammil M. Hussain is a researcher at the University of Washington‘s Center for Communication and Civic Engagement, and instructor at the Department of Communication. His research investigates information infrastructure and social organization, and digital media and political participation. He teaches courses on multimedia journalism and information networks. At the University of Washington, his primary research engagements have included: the National Science Foundation-funded Information Technology and Political Islam project; the MacArthur Foundation-funded Civic Learning Online project; the Intel Research-funded World Information Access project; and the Google Research-funded Virality of Information project. Previously, he was a researcher at the Mass Communication Research Center at the University of Wisconsin‘s School of Journalism and Mass Communication, where he worked with the Media and Politics research group, the Social Media and Democracy research group, the Radicalization and Contentious Mobilization research group, and the Consumer Culture and Civic Participation research group. He has held visiting research positions at MSR’s Technologies for Emerging Markets Lab (India), ISI’s AudienceScapes InterMedia Knowledge Center (Washington, DC), LAU’s Department of International Affairs (Lebanon), JIBS’ Media Management and Transformation Centre (Sweden), IPMZ’s Media Change and Innovation Division (Switzerland), and ETH’s Center for Comparative and International Studies (Switzerland). His has also conducted extensive research fieldwork in North Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, and Southeast Asia. Hussain is co-author of Democracy’s Fourth Wave? Digital Media and the Arab Spring (Oxford University Press), and co-editor of State Power and Information Infrastructure (Ashgate Publishing). His dissertation research is made possible with grants and awards from the National Science Foundation, the Graduate School’s Dissertation Fellowship, the Department of Communication’s Carper Fellowship, the Jackson School of International Studies’ Ottenberg-Winans Fellowship, and the Horowitz Foundation for Social Policy’s Horowitz-Curtis Fellowship and the Harold D. Lasswell Award.


PITPI Collaborators and Coauthors

Sheetal Agarwal, University of Washington

Sheetal D. Agarwal (BA University of San Diego, MA.Georgetown University) is a doctoral student in the Department of Communication at the University of Washington. Her research examines the future of civic information and changing news norms in the digital environment. She is a researcher for both the project on Information Technology and Political Islam, and Engage, an NSF funded group developing and researching deliberative democracy tools. She recently worked with Reynolds Journalism Institute on developing new technologies and platforms to support informed participatory reporting. Most recently, Sheetal published a paper examining mainstream media’s framing of Twitter in broadcast reporting. While in the Communication, Culture, and Technology program at Georgetown University, Sheetal worked on several projects including a Pew-funded study examining political officials’, political consultants’, and journalists’ perceptions of young voters. She was also a fellow at the Impact Center in Washington D.C. (formerly the American Democracy Institute) where she studied how young mobilized leaders engage their social networks to support political and social causes. Prior to her time at Georgetown Sheetal was a journalist with the Center for Public Integrity and received the Society of Professional Journalists’ Sigma Chi Award for Non-deadline Online Reporting for a project on US HIV/AIDS policy abroad.

Aiden Duffy, Amazon Web Services

Aiden is an expert in social network analysis and information visualization, and does specific research for pITPI reports and data memos.

Deen Freelon, American University

Deen Freelon is Acting Assistant Professor in Public Communication at the School of Communication at American University. His expertise is in mapping and analyzing online content, behavior, and outcomes, particularly related to political communication. He has published in peer-reviewed journals including the Journal of Communication, New Media & Society, and Information, Communication & Society. He is also the creator of ReCal, an online intercoder reliability application that has been used by thousands of researchers around the world. Currently a doctoral candidate at University of Washington (ABD), he formerly served as a technology trainer, web designer, and multimedia consultant at Duke University.

Will Mari, University of Washington

Will Mari is a Ph.D. student in the University of Washington’s Department of Communication. He has a master’s degree in history from the University of Cambridge, and undergraduate degrees in journalism and history from the University of Washington. He studies media history, particularly the history of the professionalization of journalism, but is also interested in how historical memory is deployed online. In that last vein, he’s intrigued with how the “high ground” of public memory is contested online in revolutionary environments, and how people use history to advance their civic-social movements. He also drinks too much tea, and likes to dabble in the journalism he studies.

Marwa Mazaid, University of Washington

Marwa Maziad (BA American University in Cairo, MA University of Washington) is a specialist of Middle East media and politics. She is an Op-ed writer for Almasry Alyoum, Egypt’s Leading Daily Independent Newspaper. Maziad has 10 years experience teaching and lecturing internationally in higher education institutions in the United States, Europe, and the Middle East, on topics pertaining to international relations and intercultural political communication. She held academic positions as Faculty Member of Qatar University’s Department of Social Sciences as well as Northwestern University in Qatar’s Journalism Program. Maziad received her MA in Communication from the University of Washington and is currently pursuing her PhD in Middle Eastern Media and Politics, as a Fellow at the Middle East Center of Jackson School of International Studies. Her MA thesis, entitled Youssef Chahine’s Cinema: The Hospitable Space between ‘Self’ and ‘Other,’ traced depictions of East-West relations in the work of internationally renowned Egyptian Filmmaker Youssef Chahine. Maziad is also a photojournalist by training and has produced two documentary films. Conversation 1: American Perceptions of the War on Iraq (2003) has been internationally screened in the United States and Europe. USA-SA: A Dialogue between American and South African Women (2004) addressed common challenges and opportunities facing women in both countries and beyond. Learning languages is another passion for Maziad: She’s fluent in Arabic, English, French, Turkish, and Hebrew.

Bo Zhao, University of Washington

Bo is an expert in social network analysis and information visualization, and does specific research for pITPI reports and data memos.