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Consumers or Citizens


Has politics become a commodity? In an era saturated with political advertisement across traditional and digital media platforms, especially during election cycles, the SNF Dialogues will explore the repercussions of the commercialization of politics and the evolving role of citizens within this framework.

As part of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation’s (SNF) broader series of open discussions on Civic Engagement and Civil Discourse in the US, the SNF Dialogues will examine, alongside experts and renowned figures in the field of political campaigning, how the proliferation of political advertising, paid campaigns, and marketing strategies has reshaped contemporary political discourse. This conversation builds on the Spectators or Citizens? discussion on the media’s influence on active citizenship held in September 2023.

The SNF Dialogues aim to address the implications of such a commercialized environment for active citizens and politics at large. The capacity of political advertising to shape public opinion, as well as the crucial need for transparency in this political deluge, will also be discussed.

Dialoguers include:

Sigal Ben-Porath, Presidential Professor of Education & Faculty Director of SNF Paideia, University of Pennsylvania

Valerie Biden Owens, Biden Institute Chair at the Biden School of Public Policy and Administration, University of Delaware

Hahrie Han, Director of the SNF Agora Institute, Johns Hopkins University

Mark McKinnon, Political Analyst & Media Producer

Jennifer Palmieri, Political and Communications Strategist, Senior Advisor, Emerson Collective

Timothy Shaffer, SNF Ithaca Director and Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) Chair of Civil Discourse at the Biden School of Public Policy and Administration, University of Delaware

SNF Dialogues is curated & moderated by Anna-Kynthia Bousdoukou, Managing Director and co-founder of iMEdD (incubator for Media Education and Development), a nonprofit journalism organization.

The SNF Dialogues discussion will take place at The Queen in Wilmington, Delaware (you can also watch it live online!), and will kick off the Media & Democracy Summit, hosted by the SNF Ithaca Initiative and iMEdD.


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