Skip to the main content

Ethan Zuckerman served a fellow of the Berkman Center from 2003 through 2009. Since 2009, he's been a senior researcher at the center, working on projects that focus on the impact of technology and media on the developing world and on quantitative analysis of media. With Hal Roberts, he is working on comparative studies of tools for censorship circumvention, techniques for blocking-resistant publishing for human rights sites and on the Media Cloud framework for quantitative study of digital media.

Ethan and Berkman fellow Rebecca MacKinnon founded Global Voices, a global citizen media network. Beginning at a Berkman conference in 2004, Global Voices has grown into an independent Netherlands-based nonprofit with over 200 employees and volunteers in over 100 countries. Global Voices maintains an international citizen media newsroom, tracks censorship and advocates for freedom of speech online, supports grassroots citizen media efforts and is a pioneer in the space of social translation. Global Voices' work has been supported by the MacArthur Foundation, Ford Foundation, Knight Foundation, Hivos, Open Society Institute as well as Google, Reuters and private donors. Ethan chairs Global Voices' global board of directors.

In 2000, Ethan founded Geekcorps, a non-profit technology volunteer corps. Geekcorps pairs skilled volunteers from US and European high tech companies with businesses in emerging nations for one to four month volunteer tours. Volunteers have served in 14 nations, including Ghana, Senegal, Mali, Rwanda, Armenia and Jordan, completing over a hundred projects. Geekcorps became a division of the International Executive Service Corps in 2001, where Ethan served as a vice president from 2001-4.

Prior to founding Geekcorps, Ethan helped found Tripod, an early pioneer in the web community space. Ethan served as Tripod's first staff geek, and later as VP of Business Development and VP of Research and Development. After Tripod's acquisition by Lycos in 1998, Ethan served as General Manager of the division and as a member of the Lycos mergers and acquisitions team.

In 1993, Ethan graduated from Williams College with a BA in Philosophy. In 1993-4, he was a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Legon, Ghana and the National Theatre of Ghana, studying ethnomusicology and percussion.

Ethan was given the 2002 Technology in Service of Humanity Award by MIT's Technology Review Magazine and named to the TR100, TR's list of innovators under the age of 35. Ethan was named a Global Leader for Tomorrow and a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum.

He is interested in technology and social change, questions of who gets to invent technologies and imagine futures, the future of "legacy" cities and rural areas, and petting dogs.

Projects & Tools

Media Cloud

Media Cloud is an open source, open data platform that allows researchers to answer complex quantitative and qualitative questions about the content of online media. More

Global Voices

Global Voices Online is an online citizen media community dedicated to amplifying independent online voices from outside North America and Europe. More

Berkman Online Lecture and Discussion (BOLD) Series

We offer computer-mediated seminars through our interactive Berkman Online Lecture and Discussion (BOLD) series. Topics have included intellectual property and privacy on the… More


The Berkman Center's Circumvention project is engaged in designing and conducting research aimed at gaining a broad understanding of the usage of circumvention tools. More

DDoS research project

The DDoS research project seeks to understand the ways in which DDoS attacks are becoming a popular technique for limiting access to independent media and human rights sites… More

Global Attention Profiles

GAP - the Global Attention Profiles project - tracks the attention that selected news media outlets pay to different nations of the world. A set of automated programs performs… More


Media Re:public

Media Re:public is a research project that examines the current and potential impact of participatory news media. More


Aug 16, 2017

Partisanship, Propaganda, and Disinformation: Online Media and the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election

In this study, we analyze both mainstream and social media coverage of the 2016 United States presidential election. More

Aug 18, 2011

The Evolving Landscape of Internet Control

A Summary of Our Recent Research and Recommendations

Over the past two years, we have undertaken several studies at the Berkman Center designed to better understand the control of the Internet in less open societies. In this paper,… More

Aug 18, 2011

International Bloggers and Internet Control: Full Survey Results

This document includes the full survey results for the Berkman Center’s International Bloggers and Internet Control survey. More

Aug 18, 2011

2011 Circumvention Tool Evaluation

Given the rising awareness of the potential of the Internet as a political space and increasing government control over the space, it is easy to understand the widespread interest… More

Aug 18, 2011

International Bloggers and Internet Control

Infringements on Internet freedom, particularly through Internet filtering and surveillance, have inspired activists and technologists to develop technological counter-measures,… More

Aug 1, 2011

Online Security in the Middle East and North Africa

A Survey of Perceptions, Knowledge, and Practice

The recent surge in digital activism that has helped to shape the Arab spring has been met with stiff resistance by governments in the region intent on reducing the impact of… More

Dec 20, 2010

2010 Report on Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) Attacks

This paper evaluates the impact of distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks on independent media and human rights sites in nine countries, as well as the broader impact of… More

Oct 14, 2010

2010 Circumvention Tool Usage Report

This paper evaluates the usage of blocking-resistant circumvention tools, simple web proxies, and VPN services and finds that overall usage of circumvention tools is still very… More

Mar 5, 2009

2007 Circumvention Landscape Report: Methods, Uses, and Tools

A large variety of different projects have developed tools that can be used to circumvent Internet filtering, allowing people in filtered countries access to otherwise filtered… More

Dec 18, 2008

Media Re:public: News and Information as Digital Media Come of Age

Overview paper, issues, case studies

A series of papers exploring the potential and the challenges of the emerging networked digital media environment. More

Jul 31, 2003

Global Attention Profiles - a working paper

First steps towards a quantitative approach to the study of media attention

Global Attention Profiles – a working paper: First steps towards a quantitative approach to the study of media attention More


Jun 13, 2019

The future of the decentralized web

Tim Berners-Lee's effort to "make a second correction in the arc of the Internet" More

Mar 28, 2012

RB 195: Can 100 Million Viewers Save a Child?

The #Kony2012 video, and accompanying campaign and meme, has done a lot to raise awareness. Of WHAT exactly, it's hard to tell. More

Jun 22, 2011

MIT bound!

Ethan Zuckerman is becoming director of the Center for Civic Media

Huge congratulations to our friend and colleague Ethan Zuckerman on his new gig at the MIT Media Lab! Ethan writes, "So, I got a new job. A really cool new job." More

May 6, 2011

Relaunch: Media Cloud

The Berkman Center is pleased to announce that the Media Cloud Dashboard is open for public use. We invite you to experiment with the tool, which generates weekly word clouds of… More

Mar 30, 2011

Using Media Cloud to measure the change in media cycles

From Ethan Zuckerman's blog: "...Hal Roberts, David Larochelle, Zoe Fraade-Blanar...have been revamping the Media Cloud tool this past year, trying to make it more powerful for… More

Mar 16, 2011

Harnessing technology for social good

[updated April 11]

Last month the Ford Foundation hosted the Wired for Change conference, and a pack of Berkman Center folks, friends, and family were in New York for the event. Ford has posted full… More

Feb 15, 2011

Questions for Secretary Clinton concerning "Internet freedom"

Faculty associate Matthew Hindman provoked an energetic email exchange among members of the extended Berkman Center community today, in anticipation of Secretary Clinton's … More

Dec 20, 2010

Report: "Distributed Denial of Service Attacks Against Independent Media and Human Rights Sites"

The Berkman Center is pleased to share a new report from the DDoS research project: "Distributed Denial of Service Attacks Against Independent Media and Human Rights Sites," in… More

Apr 21, 2010

(Futures) news, social science, Internet filtering (more)

Seven different pieces of writing and research from the Berkman Center community have appeared over the last seven days, from Ethan Zuckerman's essay in the latest issue of… More

Mar 11, 2009

Berkman Center’s ‘Media Cloud’ To Offer Insights on Media Trends, the Blogosphere and News Industry Dynamics

Thomson Reuters Contributes Calais Web Service to New Research Tool from the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University

Thomson Reuters has teamed with Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society to support the new ‘Media Cloud’ open research tool. Debuting in Q2, 2009, Media Cloud… More

Mar 5, 2009

Report release: 2007 Circumvention Landscape Report: Methods, Uses, and Tools

The Berkman Center is pleased to make available its report on techniques and tools for circumventing Internet filtering... More

Jul 21, 2008

The world of Global Voices, rising

Global Voices Online has announced an Executive Director! In August, Ivan Sigal will take the helm, joining Managing Director Georgia Popplewell and GVO's international team and… More

May 6, 2008

Homophily, serendipity, xenophilia

getting smart about birds of a feather

As ROFLCon descended on Cambridge, Fellow Ethan Zuckerman was essaying an argument for why homophily, serendipity, and xenophilia are "useful concepts" for thinking through media… More

Apr 25, 2008

Ethan Zuckerman: the history of digital community, in less than 7 minutes

Fasten your time machine seatbelt. As part of the Berkman Center’s ongoing tenth anniversary celebration, Berkman@10, we’re retrieving some classics from our multimedia archive,… More

Apr 3, 2008

Tunisian video activists (and Ethan Zuckerman) on BoingBoing tv

From Berkman Fellow Ethan Zuckerman...Xeni wanted to feature some of the topics I talked about in my Cute Cats talk, but realized that it’s hard to summarize the entire talk in a… More

Mar 26, 2008

Global Voices Citizen Media Summit 2008 slated for June 27-28

From Global Voices' announcement -- currently translated by the GV community into eight languages! Global Voices and Global Voices Advocacy are pleased to announce the Global… More


The Atlantic

Why All News Sounds the Same

Ethan Zuckerman uses Media Cloud to explain the narrowing media agenda

Aug 7, 2020

What Did People Use Before Google to Search the Web?

Ethan Zuckerman discusses web search before Google with Gizmodo

Jul 20, 2020
MIT Technology Review

Why filming police violence has done nothing to stop it

Ethan Zuckerman says evidentiary images on their own don’t bring about change. What’s missing is power.

Jun 3, 2020
Los Angeles Review of Books

Social Network Construction Kit

Zuckerman discusses the history of public broadcasting, and potential alternative models for the future.

May 15, 2020
NBC News

Coronavirus misinformation makes neutrality a distant memory for tech companies

Facing the prospect that hoaxes or misinformation could worsen a global pandemic, tech platforms are taking control of the information ecosystem like never before.

Mar 24, 2020
The Knight First Amendment Institute

Digital Public Infrastructure… and a few words in defense of optimism

Ethan Zuckerman argues the case for Digital Public Infrastructure

Jan 17, 2020

Tech companies tried to help us spend less time on our phones. It didn’t work.

Ethan Zuckerman adds to the discussion about whether concerns about “time well spent” are overblown.

Jan 9, 2020
Columbia Journalism Review

Building a More Honest Internet

Ethan Zuckerman imagines a different kind of Internet—one propelled by public concerns instead of the interests of large corporations.

Dec 1, 2019
International Journal of Communication

Whose deaths matter? New research on Black Lives Matter and media attention

A Quantitative Analysis of Media Attention to Deaths of Black Americans in Police Confrontations

Oct 2, 2019

Training the next generation of ethical techies

Tech, policy, and ethics training should begin in undergraduate studies, Zuckerman says

Aug 14, 2019

Exploring the good – and very bad – political impacts of social media

Ethan Zuckerman discusses the opportunities and consequences of participatory media.

Aug 7, 2019

Thinking in Solid

Ethan Zuckerman envisions a review service built in Solid

Jul 29, 2019
Journal of Design and Science

QAnon and the Emergence of the Unreal

Ethan Zuckerman delves into how the conspiracist community surrounding QAnon represents a hazardous new form of participatory civics and digital storytelling

Jul 15, 2019
Colombia Journalism Review

French media is polarizing. But not in the way we expected.

Does social media affect democracy the same way across the world, or do social platforms have different effects in different nations?

May 13, 2019
The Guardian

Facebook teams with rightwing Daily Caller in factchecking program

Site co-founded by Fox News host Tucker Carlson has promoted misinformation and is known for pro-Trump content

Apr 17, 2019
MIT Industrial Liaison Program

Exploring the good – and very bad – political impacts of social media

Ethan Zuckerman discusses the opportunities and consequences of participatory media.

Apr 3, 2019
Colombia Journalism Review

What we learned from analyzing thousands of stories on the Christchurch shooting

An analysis of over 6,000 articles about the recent tragedy reveals useful guidelines for journalists on reporting extreme content

Mar 26, 2019


Digital Democracy - Fall 2003

Over the past 15 years, digital information and communication networks have spread rapidly across the globe, bringing with them hopes for, and claims of, fundamental change in the… More


Jun 25, 2013 @ 6:00 PM

REWIRE: Digital Cosmopolitans in the Age of Connection

A book launch with the author, Ethan Zuckerman, Director of the MIT Center for Civic Media

A rousing call to action for those who would be citizens of the world—online and off. More

Feb 7, 2012 @ 6:00 PM

Connecting Democracy: Online Consultation and the Flow of Political Communication

Book event and discussion

A Panel Discussion about Connecting Democracy: Online Consultation and the Flow of Political Communication More

Jan 24, 2012 @ 6:00 PM

Too Big to Know

David Weinberger, Berkman Center and Harvard Law School Library Lab

David Weinberger discusses his new book, "Too Big to Know: Rethinking Knowledge Now That the Facts Aren't the Facts, Experts Are Everywhere, and the Smartest Person in the Room Is… More

Sep 12, 2011 @ 5:00 PM

News and Entertainment in the Digital Age: A Vast Wasteland Revisited

In 1961, Newt Minow – then Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission – delivered a landmark speech to the National Association of Broadcasters on “Television and the… More

Jul 11, 2011 @ 5:00 PM

Cultivating New voices, Approaches, and Audiences for national -- and international -- reporting

in an era of global interconnectedness and shrinking news budgets

The Berkman Center will host a conversation about the challenges of reporting international stories to US and Global audiences. In an age of shrinking news budgets, American… More

Jan 25, 2011 @ 12:30 PM

Distributed Denial of Service Attacks Against Independent Media and Human Rights Sites

Ethan Zuckerman, Hal Roberts, and Jillian C. York

Ethan Zuckerman, Hal Roberts, and Jillian C. York will discuss the recently released Berkman Center report on "Distributed Denial of Service Attacks Against Independent Media and… More

Apr 30, 2010 @ 9:00 AM


Back in April 2008, there was ROFLCon -- the first internet culture conference devoted to discussing what makes memes work, why they work, and where it's all going. ROFLCon II… More

Nov 23, 2009 @ 11:45 AM

CRCS Lunch Seminar: Media Cloud and Quantitative News Media Analysis

Hal Roberts and Ethan Zuckerman, Berkman Center

Ethan and Hal will present their prototype system to retrieve, tag, cluster and analyze blog and newspaper data, and discuss how the Media Cloud platform will be used in our… More

Jan 27, 2009 @ 12:30 PM

Mapping Globalization

Ethan Zuckerman, Berkman Fellow

Berkman Fellow Ethan Zuckerman presented on how understanding globalization requires new kinds of maps - maps of flow of bits, atoms and ideas. More

Sep 2, 2008 @ 1:30 PM

The Climate of Innovation Around Information Technology in Sub-Saharan Africa

Ghanaian internet entrepreneur and researcher Eric Osiakwan and the Berkman Center's Ethan Zuckerman discussed the climate for innovation around information technology in Sub… More

Jul 15, 2007 @ 12:00 AM

The Summer Doctoral Programme (SDP)

The Summer Doctoral Programme (SDP) is a joint effort of the Berkman Center and the Oxford Internet Institute, which provides top doctoral students from around the world with the… More

Apr 10, 2007 @ 12:30 PM

Africa's Internet Infrastructure

Eric Osiakwan and Ethan Zuckerman

Eric Osiakwan and Ethan Zuckerman discussed developments in Africa's Internet and communications infrastructure. More

Sep 26, 2006 @ 12:30 PM

Africa's Internet Infrastructure

Eric Osiakwan & Ethan Zuckerman

Eric Osiakwan & Ethan Zuckermann on Africa's Internet Infrastructure. More

Mar 28, 2005 @ 12:30 PM

Global Voices Online

Rebecca MacKinnon and Ethan Zuckerman

Berkman Luncheon Series: 3/29/05 - Rebecca MacKinnon and Ethan Zuckerman on Global Voices More