Dr Ella McPherson joined CGHR as a Research Associate in March 2014 to begin a 3-year project funded by the ESRC Future Research Leaders scheme and by the Isaac Newton Trust. This project's central aim is to critically understand the potential of social media for human rights NGOs' pursuit of governmental accountability.
As such, the research is concerned with the methodological and reputational implications of using social media as data sources and dissemination tools, as well as with social media's effects on pluralism in human rights discourse. By conceptualizing human rights NGOs' reporting practices as NGO journalism, the findings will contribute to the sociology of journalism, particularly as relates to the digital and democracy and to civil society's participation in accountability journalism. By examining human rights practices, the project will also add to the sociology of human rights. Additionally, as the research will be conducted via the combination of online and offline ethnographic methods with social network analysis, it will address the ethics and practice of digital ethnography. The project also has an applied aim, which is to support human rights practitioners in their development of social media strategies for advocacy work.