Professor Hindman Wins Prestigious Harvard Book Prize

Matthew Hindman in a suit and tie speaks with a microphone in hand and large window behind him
SMPA Associate Professor Matthew Hindman presents to colleagues at a book talk on campus. (John Perrino/SMPA)
February 20, 2019

Professor Matthew Hindman will receive the 2019 Harvard Shorenstein Center Goldsmith Book Prize for “The Internet Trap.” The prestigious award honors the top academic and trade books that help improve democratic governance at the intersection of media, politics and public policy.

In “The Internet Trap,” Hindman shows how digital giants like Facebook and Google rose to power and now control the profits by dominating how we spend time online. His findings illustrate how small advantages in attracting users snowballed over time creating winners and losers in the digital economy and making the internet less open.

He concludes that the challenges facing local digital news outlets and other small players are even worse than they appear and require drastic changes to survive.

“The book adds to the field in vital ways illustrating some of the most misunderstood, vexing and urgent problems afflicting media, journalism, technology and our politics,” said GW School of Media and Public Affairs Director Frank Sesno.

The prize is judged by Harvard faculty members affiliated with the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. This is the second time Hindman has received the prize, winning in 2010 for “The Myth of Digital Democracy.”

Prior winners also include Harvard legal scholar and former Obama Administration member Cass Sunstein, SMPA Professor Robert Entman and noted Stanford academics Shanto Iyengar and James Hamilton.

The prize will be awarded at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government’s JFK Jr. Forum on March 12, 2019, along with presentations of the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting and the Career Award for Excellence in Journalism.