Resident Fellows

Fardin Alikhah is Assistant Professor at the Department of Social Sciences at the University of Guilan in Iran. He holds a PH.D in sociology from Allameh Tabatabaei University, Tehran. His research interests are social media, celebrity, city, gender, everyday life, lifestyle changes, consumer culture, dance, fashion, music, car culture, and public spaces. Parallel to teaching at the university, he has been trying to bring sociology beyond the university and share it with non-sociologists and non-academic audiences. His public writings are widely followed on Persian social media. Geographically, his studies focus on Iranian society. He is interested in studying Iranian everyday life with an interdisciplinary approach. He has published various articles in academic journals and translated several books into Persian. He is hosted by CMDS through CEU’s Visiting Research Fellowship. His research topic is Media Consumption and Acculturation Among Immigrant Iranians. He was a Fellow at the center in 2014 and his research “A Brief History of the Development of Satellite Channels in Iran” was published in Global Media and Communication Journal.

Attila Bátorfy is a journalist working for the investigative journalism site Átlátszó.hu, and former editor of Kreatív magazine and Vs.hu. He is also the founder of Databánya, a blog and community on data journalism and visualization. As the editor of Kreatív, Attila investigated and analyzed media ownership, the state capture of the media market, state advertising and governmental influence on the sector. Recently, he has been working on media-related and data-based projects with organizations such as Transparency International, the Association of Hungarian Content Providers, Mérték Media Monitor, and the investigative journalism site Átlátszó.hu and the Center for Independent Journalism. Attila teaches courses on data journalism and freelancing at the Department of Media and Communication of Eötvös Loránd University has also taught at the Department of Communication Studies of Budapest Metropolitan University.

Ian M. Cook is currently a research fellow within the project Sound Relations: Transgressions, Disruptions, Transformations. He is an anthropologist whose work spans urban studies, south Asian studies and sound studies; he is obsessed with thinking the world through rhythms and making academic podcasts (though not at the same time); he has conducted ethnographic fieldwork in Mangaluru (India) and Budapest (Hungary). He loves writing academic texts, but also loves producing academic knowledge with sounds and film. Topics of interest include: urban change, morality, learning, informal economies, housing, land, development, migration and infrastructure. At CEU he is the he is the co-founder and manager of CEU’s podcast library; a research fellow at the Center for Media, Data and Society; a proud member of The Open Learning Initiative (OLIve) aimed at opening access to higher education for refugees and asylum seekers; once a student at the Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology; and part of the core team within the Visual Studies Platform. He loves teaching. Outside CEU he is the co-host of the media anthropology series Online Gods; hosts the South Asia Studies and Sound Studies podcast series within the New Books Network; and is Master of Podcasts at Allegra.

Miklos Haraszti is a Hungarian author, professor, and human rights promoter. His books, including A Worker in a Worker’s State and The Velvet Prison, have been translated into many languages. He was a founder of Hungary’s democracy and free press movement in the 1970s. In 1989, he participated in the "Roundtable Negotiations" on the transition to free elections. As a member of Hungary's parliament in the 1990s, he authored the country's first laws on press freedom. From 2004 to 2010, he directed the media freedom watchdog institution of the 56-nation Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). Recently, he headed the OSCE's observation missions for elections in the U.S. and in Kazakhstan. He has taught at several universities, including CEU, Bard College, Northwestern University, and the New School. In the past two years, he gave courses on global press freedom issues at Columbia University.

Jessie Labov is a Resident Fellow in the Center for Media, Data and Society, a member of the Digital Humanities Initiative, and the Project Coordinator of the Text Analysis Across Disciplines Initiative. Before coming to CEU she was Associate Professor in the Department of Slavic and East European Languages and Cultures at Ohio State University. Recent publishing projects include a co-edited volume with Friederike Kind-Kovacs, Samizdat, Tamizdat and Beyond: Transnational Media During and After Socialism (Berghahn 2013), and a monograph entitled Transatlantic Central Europe: Contesting Geography and Redefining Culture Beyond the Nation (forthcoming, CEU Press 2019). In addition to writing on Polish film, Yugoslav popular culture, and Central European Jewish identity, she has also worked on a variety of digital humanities projects concerned with issues of canon formation, text mining, and visualizing the receptive pathways of literary journals. Courses at CEU: Beyond Illustration: New Approaches to Research and Teaching with the Digital Humanities (Fall 2017); Data Collection and Curation (University-Wide Course, Fall 2017); Mining History: Digital Practices in Humanities Research (Winter 2018); Introduction to Text Analysis from Close Reading to Machine Learning and Applied Text Analysis from Close Reading to Machine Learning (University-Wide Methods Course, Fall 2018). in July 2019 she will co-direct the CEU Summer University Course Cultures of Dissent in Eastern Europe (1945-1989): Research Approaches in the Digital Humanities.

Dean Starkman is a resident fellow at Center for Media, Data and Society and a visiting lecturer at the School of Public Policy at Central European University, Budapest. He is the author of The Watchdog That Didn't Bark: The Financial Crisis and the Disappearance of Investigative Journalism (Columbia University Press, 2014), an acclaimed analysis of business-press failures prior to the 2008 financial crisis. A longtime journalist, media critic and scholar, Starkman has won many awards for his writing on finance, media, and the business of news in an age of digital disruption. Most recently, he was the Wall Street correspondent for the Los Angeles Times, reporting on the intersection of finance and society from New York.  An investigative reporter for more than two decades, Starkman covered white-collar crime and real estate for The Wall Street Journal and helped lead the Providence Journal's investigative team to a Pulitzer Prize in 1994.

Judit Szakács is a researcher with a background in sociology, journalism, and English language and literature. Her main research interests include minority media and minority representation in the mainstream media as well as in social media. She has collaborated with scholars in international research projects in a variety of topics. In addition, she works as a media monitor, which provides her with valuable insights into contemporary practices in the Hungarian media. She volunteers as a contributor to the Hungarian corruption database compiled by K-Monitor.

Tamas Tofalvy, PhD is a researcher and consultant, specializing in cultural aspects of and policies related to the transforming digital media ecosystem, in the fields of journalism and popular music. Currently he is assistant professor at Budapest University of Technology and Economics, Department of Sociology and Communications, head of the Communications and Media Studies major's Digital Media program. He is also fellow at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences Media Research Group, and project lead at the MODEM (Hungarian Online and Digital Media History) Project. Between 2013 and 2017 he was secretary general at the Association of Hungarian Content Providers (MTE), between 2010 and 2014 co-founding chair of IASPM Hungary and its sister organization, the Music Networks Association. In 2012-13 he was a Fulbright fellow at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, in 2011-12 a Julius Rezler fellow at Indiana University Bloomington. He is the author and co-editor of four books, published more than fifty journal articles and chapters, and numerous other non-academic writings, reports, essays and journalistic pieces.

Vivian S. Walker is a faculty fellow at the USC Center on Public Diplomacy.  She has served as Professor of National Security Strategy at the National War College in Washington, DC.  She has also served as a professor of strategic and security studies at the National Defense College of the United Arab Emirates and a visiting professor at the Near East South Asia Center for Strategic Studies at the National Defense University. In her 26-year career with the State Department, she rose to the senior rank of minister counselor. Dr. Walker has published and lectured extensively on the practice of public diplomacy in complex information environments. She graduated from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and earned her doctorate in English language and literature from the University of Chicago. She speaks French, Russian and Croatian.

Veszna Wessenauer is a Research Analyst with Ranking Digital Rights, working on Index research. She holds an MA in Human Rights from Central European University, where she focused on issues related to internet governance and media freedom. Prior to joining RDR, she worked with several Hungarian and international NGOs, including as a policy analyst for Political Capital, a Hungarian think tank focused on democracy and rule of law in Central Europe. The focus of her work has been on internet governance, digital rights, disinformation, active citizenship, and civic engagement. She has also previously served as a research fellow at the Center for Media, Data and Society (Central European University – School of Public Policy), researching topics related to journalistic source protection, online privacy and data protection, and online political extremism. Veszna currently lives in Budapest, Hungary.