Complexities of the Portrayal of Immigrant Communities in Media is Focus of Code^Shift Symposium 

Journalists must appreciate and convey the complexities of how immigrant communities are portrayed in the media, placing emphasis on telling inclusive stories that avoid generalizations.  

Typically, media literacy education focuses on media production skills and on skills to seek out accurate information, added Srivi Ramasubramanian, a decorated communications scholar and founder and director of the Code^Shift lab at the Newhouse School. “However, it is important for media education to also include diversity literacies and reflections on who is left out or trivialized within the media.” 

Srivi Ramasubramanian
Srivi Ramasubramanian

Code^Shift’s second annual research symposium on Friday at the Newhouse School seeks to shine more light on the topic, highlighting the intersectionality and complexities of immigrant identities and ways to better advocate for them through “counternarratives that challenge negative cultural stereotypes,” Ramasubramanian said.  

Titled “Othered Immigrants: Inclusive Storytelling for Well-Being, Advocacy, and Counternarratives,” the event includes presentations from 15 leading faculty experts from Syracuse University and other institutions across the United States, as well as from Newhouse graduate and undergraduate students.   

Immigration and the portrayal of immigrant communities remain polarizing and pivotal topics in the 2024 presidential campaign. The research to be presented at the symposium aims to bring attention to traditionally underrepresented groups largely understudied by media scholars, and raise awareness about the portrayal of immigrants in the media.  

“We draw attention to the importance of avoiding racially motivated blame rhetoric and including more immigrants from minoritized groups within newsrooms,” Ramasubramanian said. 

Code^Shift is a multidisciplinary research lab housed in the Newhouse School that focuses on communication and data justice, with the goal of addressing contemporary social issues relating to race, gender, ethnicity and indigeneity using data, media, technology, art and storytelling.  

The symposium aligns with Code^Shift’s research goals of highlighting voices and perspectives of marginalized groups—including immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers—within media representations, industry, research and education, Ramasubramanian said. 

At the symposium, Newhouse doctoral candidates and students will discuss their research on indigenous communities, undocumented immigrants, equitable media literacy and Asian Americans, while undergraduate students will present on Code^Shift’s creative initiatives and more. 

More information and a link to register are available on the event program guide. Those interested in attending are asked to respond by Wednesday. Contact Srivi Ramasubramanian at with any questions.