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Dr Ella McPherson

ESRC Future Research Leader Fellow, Department of Sociology

Research projects & themes

Social Media and Human Rights:

Departments and Institutes


Research Interests

Ella McPherson's research focuses on symbolic struggles surrounding the media in times of transition, whether democratic or digital. Her current research examines the potential of using social media by human rights NGOs for generating governmental accountability. This involves understanding the methodological and reputational implications of using social media and related networks as data sources and dissemination tools, as well as social media's effects on pluralism in human rights discourse. Her previous research, drawing on her media ethnography of human rights reporting at Mexican newspapers, identified the contest for public credibility between state, media, and human rights actors as a significant driver of human rights coverage.

In September 2015, Ella will be the new Lecturer in the Sociology of New Media and Digital Technology. She is currently an ESRC Future Research Leader Fellow, co-funded by the Isaac Newton Trust, and a Research Associate at the Centre of Governance and Human Rights. Previously, she was an LSE Fellow at the London School of Economics and Political Science's Department of Media and Communications. She earned her PhD from Cambridge's Department of Sociology, funded by the Gates Cambridge Trust and an Overseas Research Scholarship. Her MPhil was in Latin American Studies at Cambridge and her BA was from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University.