Jonathan Obar

New America Foundation Media Policy Fellow and University of Toronto Research Fellow

Jonathan Obar is a media policy fellow at the New America Foundation and a post-doctoral research fellow at the University of Toronto. He also holds appointments at Michigan State University as a visiting assistant professor in the department of telecommunication, information studies and media and as associate director of the Quello Center for Telecommunication Management and Law. Dr. Obar also holds a public policy teaching fellowship with the Wikimedia Foundation.

Jonathan’s research focuses on the impact that digital technologies have on civil liberties, civic engagement and the inclusiveness of public culture. His research has been published in a variety of academic journals. His most recent article is “Advocacy 2.0: An Analysis of How Advocacy Groups in the United States Perceive and Use Social Media as Tools for Facilitating Civic Engagement and Collective Action.”

Current work also includes the implementation and analysis of the SurveillanceWatch ( and IXmaps ( counter-surveillance apps with the "politics of surveillance" team at the University of Toronto. Jonathan also has considerable experience working with and studying the media reform community in the United States. He has worked with and developed research for Free Press and the Prometheus Radio Project, and served as project manager on Amit Schejter’s edited volume … and Communications for All: A Policy Agenda for a New Administration.

Jonathan has an M.A. in media studies from Syracuse University and a PhD in mass communications from Penn State University.

People + Policy

= Positive Change for the Public Good

people + policy = Positive Change for the Public Good