Author and Professor Ethan Zuckerman to Discuss How Mistrust Can Help Transform Institutions

Media contact: Noelle Lemoine, executive assistant; tele: 413-597-4277; email: [email protected]


WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass., March 9, 2021—From the Tea Party to Occupy Wall Street, and from cryptocurrency advocates to the #MeToo movement, Americans and citizens of democracies worldwide are losing confidence in what we once called the system. This loss of faith has spread beyond government to infect a broad swath of institutions—the press, corporations, digital platforms—none of which seem capable of holding us together. The dominant theme of contemporary civic life is mistrust in institutions—governments, big business, the health care system, the press.


Williams College alumnus Ethan Zuckerman ’93, founder of the Institute for Digital Public Infrastructure at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and associate professor of public policy, information and communication, will present a talk based on his newly published book, “Mistrust: Why Losing Faith in Institutions Provides the Tools to Transform Them.” The talk, which is free and open to the public, will be presented online via Zoom on Wednesday, March 10, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. An audience Q&A will follow. In addition, a limited number of his newly published book will be available free of charge at the Williams Bookstore.


Please use the following link to join the webinar:

Passcode: 238189


In his talk, Zuckerman, who from 2011–20 led the Center for Civic Media at the MIT Media Lab and is cofounder with Rebecca MacKinnon of the international blogging community Global Voices, will explore how we should encourage participation in public life when neither elections nor protests feel like paths to change. Drawing on work by political scientists, legal theorists, and activists in the streets, he will offer a lens for understanding civic engagement that focuses on efficacy, the power of seeing the change you make in the world.


This event is sponsored by the W. Ford Schumann ’50 Program in Democratic Studies and the Center for Learning in Action.


For more information, visit the events calendar on the Williams College website at


Published March 9, 2021