In the era of “gotcha” journalism and conspiracy hunters on the Internet, unintended information exposures can derail and discourage government transparency efforts. A little bit of damage control can go a long way.
Elizabeth Losh is the Writing Director of the Humanities Core Course at U.C. Irvine and teaches courses about political communication and digital rhetoric. Her first book, Virtualpolitik: An Electronic History of Government Media-Making in a Time of War, Scandal, Disaster, Miscommunication, and Mistakes was published by MIT Press in 2009. She writes about institutions as digital makers, the discourses of the “virtual state,” the media literacy of policy makers and authority figures, and the rhetoric surrounding regulatory attempts to limit everyday digital practices. She has published articles about national digital libraries, government websites and online video channels, state-funded online learning efforts, videogames for the military and emergency first-responders, political blogging, and congressional hearings on the Internet. Her current book project, Early Adopters: The Instructional Technology Movement and the Myth of the Digital Generation, looks at a range of digital projects in higher education – from computer games about canonical literature to plagiarism-detection software – and the conflicts between regulation and content-creation that universities must negotiate. She has received funding from the NEH, the Intel People & Practices Group, and the MacArthur Foundation for her research and writing. She is currently working on a public rhetoric textbook, which is under contract with Bedford/St. Martin’s. She also awards annual prizes for the worst government websites and publicly funded videogames: the Foleys.
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