School of Engineering


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  • Tanja Aitamurto

    Tanja Aitamurto

    Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Management Science and Engineering

    BioI am a social scientist influenced heavily by engineering sciences. My work examines civic technologies for informing, empowering, and connecting people. The empirical contexts range from virtual, mixed, and augmented reality to large-scale online collaboration systems, such as applications of collective intelligence in open and participatory journalism, deliberation and policy-making, civic crowdfunding, and applications of artificial intelligence for civic use. I develop interdisciplinary theoretical frameworks by drawing on social psychology, democratic theory, computer science, and information systems. My work has been recognized with a number of awards and published in top journals, such as New Media & Society, Design Issues, Information, Communication & Society and International Journal of Communication.

    I am a postdoctoral scholar in the Department of Management Science & Engineering at Stanford, where I work in the Crowdsourced Democracy Team. I received my PhD in social sciences at the School of Communication, Media and Theatre at the University of Tampere in Finland in 2014. Previously I worked as a postdoctoral Brown Fellow and as Deputy Director of the Brown Institute for Media Innovation at Stanford. During my doctoral studies, I studied as a visiting student researcher at Stanford and at UC Berkeley

    In my dissertation “Collective Intelligence in Open Journalism: Power, Knowledge and Value”, I introduced a theory of open journalism. My dissertation received the Gene Burd Outstanding Dissertation in Journalism Studies Award from the International Communication Association (ICA). Drawing from several empirical cases, I showed how the building blocks of collective intelligence—a large number of participants and cognitive, demographic, and socioeconomic diversity within the crowd—both support and challenge journalistic norms, practices, and values through open journalism.

    My studies often have unique in-the-wild experiments, in which I collaborate with media organizations and local and national governments. I have designed and developed several online platforms and processes for crowdsourced journalism and policymaking and advised local and national governments in participatory policymaking projects. Currently I'm working with the city of Palo Alto on a crowdsourced urban planning strategy process.

    More about my work at www.tanjaaitamurto.com