Newhouse Impact: The Impact of Artificial Intelligence on the Media Landscape; IDJC Grant Tracks 2024 Campaign Misinformation

Welcome to the latest edition of the Newhouse Impact research and creative activity roundup, which highlights the work of Newhouse students, faculty and staff, along with accolades and other distinctions.

Newhouse Impact Podcast

The incorporation of artificial intelligence into the media landscape can make it hard to figure out if words, sounds or images in some content are authentic. While AI can manipulate information, technology also has benefits to help in communications.

Two Newhouse School faculty members recently spoke with host Chris Bolt on the Newhouse Impact podcast to discuss how AI can be a helpful tool, as well as how it can be a threat. Jason Davis, a research professor, and RC Concepción, an assistant professor who teaches multimedia storytelling, are researching how to determine the authenticity and perhaps even the intent of manipulated media.

Davis and Concepción suggest that we’ve been consuming AI for years—for example, in computer-generated movie scenes or air-brushed advertising images—and what’s needed is more education to develop a discerning audience.

Below they talk to Bolt about what led to their collaboration. Listen to the show by going to the Newhouse Impact episode page.


I was working on building up our disinformation detection program. We had initially focused on the machine-learning and algorithm side of the equation. But as generative AI became more prominent and impactful, we found we needed greater capabilities in regard to image analysis and manipulation. And that is a skill set that RC has at an incredible level. I mean, I have so much respect for what he brings to that world. So, from that initial seed of need, we came to recognize that we had a lot of common interests and complementary skills. And that led to what has been a really interesting and fun collaboration ever since.


One of the things that I get really excited and nervous about with AI is its sheer possibility. The things that it can do, the things that it can streamline, the things that it can make easier. But, at the same time, it’s a technology moving at such a blistering pace that there could be many different instances where things go off the rails. For me, this is kind of our new “fire” moment. We now have this thing that could be used to cook meals, or it could be used to burn down cities. How do we harness the best and protect ourselves from the worst?

I was really excited to get involved in Jason’s program because I tend to look at AI and dwell on all its different capabilities. But equal attention needs to be given to doing things responsibly. And doing them ethically. I mean, how do we handle things in such a manner that AI assists us rather than replaces us?

Also listen to: Can social media messages affect change in large organizations?

Guest: Michelle Johnson, Ph.D. candidate of mass communications

Recent accolades, highlights and notes

Syracuse University’s Institute for Democracy, Journalism and Citizenship (IDJC) has been awarded a $250,000 research grant from Neo4j and use of the company’s graph database technology as part of an initiative to identify misinformation trends in the U.S. presidential election and other top 2024 contests.

Michael O. Snyder gave a lecture discussing the power of visual storytelling in the climate crisis at The Climate Museum in New York City.

Carol Liebler’s article “Database use, database discrepancies: Implications for content analyses of news” was selected by the Newspaper Research Journal Board as the best article for the Fall 2023 issue.   

Roy Gutterman was a speaker at the Education Writers Association Reporting on Campus Speech Amid Conflict event.

Michelle Johnson was quoted in the article “OVMA Hosts First Veteran Career-Ready Bootcamp.”

Regina Luttrell presented examples of assignments from her course curriculums that require students to use AI.

G. Douglas Barrett is faculty co-chair of  BioInspired Institute’s new posthumanities subgroup, leading events and programming.

Ryan Wen is one of the recipients of the 2024 Graduate Dean’s Award for Excellence in Research and Creative Work.

Michael O. Snyder’s project “The Queens of Queen City” has been shortlisted for the Sony World Photography Awards for Portraiture.

Sean Branagan delivered the keynote address and worked to develop Newhouse opportunities at the Global Startup Awards Africa Summit.