The Extra Mile: Essential Media

In case you have an appetite for more.


In this master post, you will find essential media to learn more about data, disinformation, democracy and the digital media ecosystem.

  • A list of newsletters curated and written by individuals, not organisations

  • TV, film and podcasts about new media and emerging technologies

  • Books, essays or reports by experts with insights on the above subjects

  • Online games on science literacy and media literacy

  • Websites and other online resources

  • Courses and syllabi

Newsletters by individuals, not organisations

The Overspill by Charles Arthur
The first newsletter I had ever subscribed to. John Naughton (see below), the programme director when I was doing my press fellowship at Wolfson College, Cambridge introduced him to me and told me about his newsletter. The former tech editor at The Guardian shares links and observations every weekday, mostly on intersectional tech news. I emulate his style in the body of my main newsletter.

Memex by John Naughton
Naughton is a tech columnist for The Observer, an expert in public understanding of technology and the director of the press fellowship programme at Wolfson College, Cambridge. His newsletter, which goes out every weekday, features many interesting finds on the history, sociology and politics of technology.

Insight by Zeynep Tufekci
Sociologist Tufekci offers incredible takes on the social impacts of new tech and other sociological phenomena, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. She’s been called a “techno-sociologist” and the one who “keeps getting the big things right.”

The Other Wave by Anita Li
The Canadian media and journalism expert offers commentary and analysis on the news media industry.

Catching Up with Jordan Harrod by Jordan Harrod
Harrod is a science communicator, Youtuber and PhD student at Harvard-MIT working on neurotech and machine learning. While most of her sci-comm work is on Youtube, the newsletter provides a behind-the-scenes look into her video projects and research.

Berita Baru Nak Up by Zurairi A.R.
This newsletter features weekly essays and news round-ups that attempt to “explain Malaysian social media, online trends and phenomenons, pop culture, and their intersection with socio-politics, economy, and business.”

The Ann Friedman Weekly by Ann Friedman
This weekly collection of great finds on the Internet include a weekly pie chart.

How to Measure Ghosts by Matt Locke
For brilliant essays on data, audience attention and metrics.

Did Someone Say Emoji by Jennifer Daniel
Insights into all things emoji by the chair of the Unicode Emoji Subcommittee.

Data: Made Not Found by danah boyd
Features “assorted research thoughts on sociotechnical topics.”

Gretchen McCulloch’s Newsletter by Gretchen McCulloch
Monthly updates on Internet linguistics.

Big Technology by Alex Kantrowitz
A publication dedicated to “revealing the systems in the tech world that drive what we see in the headlines.”

Platformer by Casey Newton
A guide to “understanding social networks and their relationships with the world.”

TV, Films, Documentaries, and Podcasts

  • AlphaGo (2017) by Greg Kohs about Google’s computer programme that plays the board game Go.

  • Behind The Curve (2018) by Daniel J. Clark on the flat-Earth movement in the US.

  • The Great Hack (2019) by Karim Amer and Jehane Noujaim about the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

  • Merchant of Doubt (2014) by Robert Kenner featuring Naomi Oreskes, the author of the book of the same name (see below).

  • After Truth: Disinformation and the Cost of Fake News (2020) by Andrew Rossi and produced by CNN’s Brian Stelter, on how misinformation impacts the average citizen in the US.

  • Coded Bias (2020) by Shalini Kantayya about how Joy Buolamwini discovered racial bias in facial recognition.

  • Years and Years (2019), a BBC short series by Russell T. Davies about what the future would be like—with AI technologies, the climate crisis, and conspiracy theories.

  • Citations Needed (2017-present), a podcast hosted by Nima Shirazi and Adam Johnson, about the intersection of media, PR, and power.

  • CIGI’s Big Tech (2019-present), a podcast by Taylor Owen about tech, society and democracy.

  • MIT Tech Review’s In Machines We Trust (2020-present), a podcast hosted by Jennifer Strong that explores developments in AI.

  • Programmers, Hackers and Hacks (2020), a podcast mini-series on the people and practices behind our machines by ethnographer of digital cultures, Paula Bialski.

  • BFM’s Ring True (2019), a podcast mini-series hosted by Caroline Oh and produced by Tina Carmillia on misinformation in science news.

Books and Essays

  • Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming (2010) by Naomi Oreskes.

  • Calling Bullshit: The Art of Scepticism in a Data-Driven World (2020) by Carl T. Bergstrom and Jevin D. West.

  • True Enough: Learning to Live in a Post-Fact Society (2008) by Farhad Manjoo.

  • Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products (2013) by Nir Eyal.

  • From Gutenberg to Zuckerberg: Disruptive Innovation in the Age of the Internet (2011) by John Naughton.

  • Everybody Lies: Big Data, New Data, and What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are (2017) by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz.

  • Re-Engineering Humanity (2018) by Brett Frischmann and Evan Selinger.

  • In Defense of Troublemakers: The Power of Dissent in Life and Business (2018) by Charlan Nemeth.

  • Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism (2018) by Safiya Umoja Noble.

  • Hello World: Being Human in the Age of Algorithms (2019) by Hannah Fry.

  • Turned on: Science, Sex and Robots (2018) by Kate Devlin.

  • The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power (2018) by Shoshana Zuboff.

  • Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy (2016) by Cathy O’Neil.

  • The Fact Checker’s Bible (2004) by Sarah Harrison Smith.

  • Obfuscation: A User’s Guide for Privacy and Protest (2015) by Finn Brunton and Helen Nissenbaum.

  • Digital Dominance: The Power of Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Apple (2018) by Martin Moore and Damian Tambini.

  • Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed for Men (2019) by Caroline Criado-Perez.

  • Broadcast Hysteria: Orson Welles’s War of the Worlds and the Art of Fake News (2015) by A. Brad Schwartz.

  • Crystallizing Public Opinion (1923) and Propaganda (1928) by Edward Bernays.

  • The Ethics of Ambiguity (1947) by Simone de Beauvoir.

  • A Mathematician’s Lament (2009) by Paul Lockhart.

  • Politics and the English Language (1946) and Why I Write (1946) by George Orwell.

Online and Mobile Games

News Websites and Online References

Courses and Syllabi