Jonathan Corpus Ong

Associate Professor, Global Digital Media
N354 Integrative Learning Center
413 545-1311 (leave message)

The central concern of my work is the ethics of media, which I approach as the moral and social consequences of media and communication technologies in the everyday lives of minority groups and vulnerable communities, especially those in the global South. Two interrelated strands of research extend from this concern: 1) the first is on media witnessing and the moral responsibilities of media institutions, media workers, and media audiences to vulnerable others; 2) the second is on vulnerable communities and their uses of digital media for voice and participation, everyday sociality, and coping or healing. My research develops an ethnographic and decolonial approach that sensitively embeds media practice within rich local histories and ordinary motivations while engaging with normative debates about media justice and cosmopolitan ethics in complex multicultural societies.

I have published extensively in the areas of global media; disasters, development and humanitarian communication; ethnography of social media; creative and digital labor; mediated protest, witnessing and solidarities; and ethics of communication. I have supervised PhD students working in the areas of media in everyday life among Nigerian migrants in London, digital protest in class-divided Thailand, and Belgian audiences of distant suffering. I welcome grad students working in these research areas. Prior to joining UMass Amherst, I was Associate Professor in the University of Leicester and Assistant Professor in Hong Kong Baptist University.

I am the founder and convenor of the British Council-funded Newton Tech4Dev Network, which is a global network of academics, humanitarians, and technology experts, studying emergent media in low- and middle-income countries. I lead the research strand on "Architects of Networked Disinformation: Behind the Scenes of Troll Accounts and Fake News Production in the Philippines" and 2) entertainment media and convivial culture following events of rupture, drawing from case studies on the European refugee crisis and post-Katrina New Orleans.


PhD, Sociology, University of Cambridge, UK

MSc, Politics and Communication, London School of Economics, UK

BA, Communication, Loyola Schools - Ateneo de Manila, Philippines

Courses Taught: 

Undergraduate: Social Media in Everyday Life; Media Solidarities in the Age of Global Crisis



Rovisco, M. & Ong, J.C. (2016) (Eds.). Taking the square: Mediated dissent and occupations of public space. London & NY: Rowman & Littlefield.

Ong, J.C. (2015). The poverty of television: The mediation of suffering in class-divided Philippines. London & NY: Anthem Press.


Ong, J.C. & Rovisco, M. (2019). Popular communication in the populist political moment: Introduction to the special issue. Popular Communication. (Special Issue on Refugee Socialities and the Media)

Ong, J.C. & Rovisco, M. (2019). Conviviality as a politics of endurance: The refugee emergency and the consolation of artistic interventions. Popular Communication. 17(2), 140-153. doi:10.1080/15405702.2019.1577963 

Ong, J.C. (2019). Toward an ordinary ethics of mediated humanitarianism: An agenda for ethnography. International Journal of Cultural Studies, 22(4): 481-498. Online First Feb 13, 2019.

Ong, J.C. & Combinido, P. (2018). Local aid workers in the digital humanitarian project: Between 'second class citizens' and 'entrepreneurial survivors. Critical Asian Studies, 50(1): 86-102. doi:10.1080/14672715.2017.1401937

Ong, J.C. (2017). Queer cosmopolitanism in the disaster zone: 'My grindr became the United Nations.' International Communication Gazette, 79(6-7):656-673. doi:10.1177/1748048517727177 (Special Issue on Postnormative Cosmopolitanisms, ed. Miyase Christensen)


Ong, J.C. & Das, R. (2019). Two concepts from television research in times of datafication and disinformation. In S. Shimpach (Ed.) Handbook of television studies. London, UK & New York: Routledge.

Cabanes, J., Anderson, C.W., & Ong, J.C. (2019). Fake news and scandal. In S. Waisbord & H. Tumber (Eds.). Routledge companion to media and scandal. London & New York: Routledge.

Curato, N. & Ong., J.C. (2018). Who laughs at a rape joke? Illiberal responsiveness in Rodrigo Duterte's Philippines. In T. Dreher & A. Mondal (Eds.). Paying attention: Ethical responsiveness and the politics of difference. London & New York: Palgrave.

Ong, J.C. & Lin, T.Z. (2017). Plague in the city: Digital media as shaming apparatus toward mainland Chinese 'Locusts' in Hong Kong. In G. Aiello, K. Oakley, & M. Tarantino (Eds.). Communication and the City. New York, NY: Peter Lang.


Philippine elections 2019: Social media conversations. (2019). CNN Philippines. Retrieved from

Philippines midterm election expected to boost Duterte and his agenda. (2019, May 13). The Washington Post. Retrieved from

Fake news in the Philippines, with Jonathan Ong. (2018, September 10). Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs. Retrieved from

Trolls for sale in the world's social media capital. (2018, August 30). Asia Global Online. Retrieved from

Architects of networked disinformation. (2018). Retrieved from

Current Projects: 

Please visit Newton Tech4Dev Network, for more information on current projects.