The Rise of Digital Democracy

The NCC, in partnership with the Kal and Lucille Rudman Media Production Center at Temple University and the Kal and Lucille Rudman Institute for Entertainment Industry Studies at Drexel University, explores social media’s role as an accelerant in the push for democracy worldwide.


  • Tony Burman, Al Jazeera’s Head of Strategy for the Americas, previously served as Managing Director of Al Jazeera English based in Doha, Qatar. Under his leadership, Al Jazeera English has been widely recognized for its groundbreaking reporting from the Middle East, Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Americas. While Burman served as Managing Director, the channel received international acclaim for its news and programming, including awards and nominations from the International Emmys, the Monte Carlo Film Festival, and the Royal Television Society. In his prior career with CBC News in Canada that spanned more than three decades, Burman is an award-winning news and documentary producer with field experience in more than 30 countries.
  • Charles Sennott, is the Executive Editor and co-founder of GlobalPost. He previously served as a foreign correspondent for the Boston Globe, working as Middle East bureau chief from 1997 to 2001 and Europe bureau chief from 2001 to 2005.
  • Nadine Wahab, a public relations professional, was one of the administrators of the “We Are All Khaled Said” Facebook page, along with Google executive Wael Ghonim. For months before the January 25 revolution, she worked online from her base in Washington, D.C., along with Ghonim and others, using digital technologies to build the infrastructure for this highly effective movement. Wahab recently moved to Cairo where she is a deputy campaign manager for Mohamed ElBaradei’s presidential bid.
  • Susannah Vila, is the Director of Content and Outreach for, a non-profit organization dedicated to identifying, connecting, and supporting youth activists from around the world who use technology to organize for social change. She oversees the website’s editorial direction, strategy, and training resources, and identifies and trains activists from over 27 countries. Vila has analyzed the nexus of new technologies, politics, and activism for media outlets such as The Nation magazine, The Huffington Post and PBS’ MediaShift, CNN, FOX News and The New York Times. She covers the Cuban blogosphere for Global Voices Online.
  • Jennifer Preston, is a staff writer at The New York Times, where she covers the intersection of social media with politics, government, business, and real life. Preston took on this new beat in January 2011, after working as the newsroom’s first Social Media Editor, a position in which she helped fellow journalists find the value in social media for reporting, real-time publishing and building community. A veteran reporter and editor, Preston began her career in Philadelphia at The Bulletin newspaper and the Philadelphia Daily News. She also serves as an adjunct professor at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.
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