blog navigation

Cline Center News and Announcements

blog posts

  • National Version of the Cline Center's SPOTLITE Police Uses of Lethal Force Dashboard Goes Live

    The Cline Center for Advanced Social Research in partnership with an interdisciplinary team of University of Illinois faculty and student researchers has just released the most authoritative registry to date of police uses of lethal force in the United States from 2014 to 2021. The SPOTLITE project includes any incident where police use firearms—including those with non-fatal outcomes—as well as any other use of force that results in a death. The SPOTLITE dashboard lets anyone explore past uses of lethal force by police in every county in the United States. For more background on the project, see the University’s press release on our project. 

  • 2023 Cline Symposium: Reducing Gun Violence in American Communities

    The Cline Center is hosting a Zoom roundtable on reducing gun violence in the US this Thursday Oct. 26 from 2:30pm-4:15pm Central Time as part of the 2023 Cline Symposium. Featuring national experts Vaughn Bryant, Kimberley Smith, and Thomas Abt, this online event is open to the public. To RSVP, visit forms.illinois.edu/sec/718337476

     With gun violence at an all-time high, politicians, law enforcement, and communities are wrestling with how best to address the unrelenting stream of mass shootings, suicides, domestic violence, and gang related shootings. The panel will focus on the many policies and practices being proposed to reduce gun violence, how effective any of the proposed solutions are, and what the tradeoffs would be in regards to rights, budgets, and privacy.

  • Announcing the 2023-2024 Linowes Fellows

    The Cline Center is pleased to announce the 2023-2024 David F. Linowes Faculty Fellows: Assistant Professors Nora Webb Williams and JungHwan Yang of @illinoisPolSci and @illinoiscomm respectively.

    Linowes Fellowships support scholars whose work is relevant to Cline Center initiatives and plan to use Cline Center data and technology in innovative projects.

    Prof. Webb Williams is extending her 2022-23 project by continuing to use Cline Center news archives, databases, and text-as-data expertise to study the ties between elite actors in authoritarian regimes. The main focus is on post-Soviet countries, primarily Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Belarus. The project will extract instances of positive and negative interactions between elites to predict regime-level outcomes such as coup d'état attempts. The work will involve developing new text-as-data tools and applying them to historical media coverage available at the Cline Center.

    Prof. Yang’s research project aims to understand the media's coverage patterns of real-world events, with a primary focus on mass shootings and police shootings. There is a notable trend in media where only a handful of events receive predominant coverage, leaving numerous others underrepresented or completely ignored. This study seeks to illuminate any inherent biases in news production, specifically by examining the criteria determining news selection and presentation. To address this question, this project aims to identify specific mass shooting incidents as they appear in the media through the Cline Center’s Global News Index. This process entails correlating distinct shooting events with their corresponding media reports and identifying various characteristics related to news and its media sources.

  • Employee Spotlight: Meet Ajay Singh

    EMPLOYEE SPOTLIGHT: Meet Ajay Singh. 
    Dr. Singh has been a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Cline Center since summer of 2022 and has been affiliated with the Cline Center since 2008. Dr. Singh received his PhD in Sociology from the University of Illinois in 2022. His dissertation examines the impacts of information and communication technology implementation on small and mid-sized policing agencies, and how both social activists and law enforcement conceptualize and practice understandings of transparency and accountability in policing. His current research focuses on documenting uses of lethal force by law enforcement. 
    Dr. Singh is the coordinator for the Cline Center’s External Engagement Team and is on the leadership team for the Cline Center’s SPOTLITE project where he leads many of the project’s qualitative research efforts.
  • Cline Center Honored with the 2023 Team Award for Campus Excellence in Public Engagement


    The Cline Center for Advanced Social Research has been honored with a 2023 Campus Excellence in Public Engagement Faculty & Staff Team Award by the University of Illinois. Recognizing the Cline Center’s sustained record of high-impact public engagement research, this is a shared honor for all research team members who have contributed over the years to the center’s many projects that aim to transform information into knowledge that advances human flourishing.

    For more details about the award, see: https://news.illinois.edu/view/6367/801396025

  • Remembering Dick Cline

    It is with great sadness that we share the news of Dick Cline’s passing on March 19, 2023. To those of us at the Cline Center, he was far more than the generous benefactor whose founding endowment gave life to the Cline Center nearly two decades ago. Dick was also a dear friend and mentor to many of us, who will greatly miss his incisive wisdom, constant encouragement, and easy laughter. All of us will remember Dick as an involved and enthusiastic champion of the Cline Center’s mission to transform information into knowledge that advances human flourishing around the world. We are honored to now serve as a living legacy of Dick’s vision for bringing academic research to bear on the most pressing societal problems of our day.

    For those interested in learning more about the vision that led Dick Cline to launch the Cline Center, we are honored to share this collection of Dick’s reflections on “the freedom that enables free will, the institutions that encourage freedom, and the benefits that flow from giving human will the maximum opportunity for free expression” published in 2007 as Echoes of Freedom: Personal Reflections of Richard C. Cline.

  • SPOTLITE: New Database Catalogs Use of Lethal Force Incidents

    The Cline Center for Advanced Social Research in partnership with an interdisciplinary team of University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign faculty and student researchers has just released the most authoritative registry to date of police uses of lethal force in Illinois from 2014 to 2021. The Systematic Policing Oversight Through Lethal-force Incident Tracking Environment (SPOTLITE) includes any incident where police use firearms—including those with non-fatal outcomes—as well as any other use of force that results in a death. The SPOTLITE Illinois dashboard lets anyone explore past uses of lethal force by police in every Illinois county, and assess the racial and ethnic breakdown of civilians involved in these incidents. For more background on the project, visit https://news.illinois.edu/view/6367/1985101181

  • The Cline Center is Hosting "The Race to Find America's Missing in Action Using 21st-Century Technologies"

    The Cline Center is hosting Project Recover’s Pat Scannon and Derek Abbey for a March 2 screening of the Project Recover documentary “To What Remains” and a post-film discussion about the race to find America’s missing in action from past wars using advanced robotics and scanning technologies before the window to bring them home closes. This event is free to the public and will be both in-person and live-streamed.

  • Announcing the 2021-2022 Linowes Fellows

    The Cline Center is pleased to announce the 2021-2022 David F. Linowes Faculty Fellows: Assistant Professors Jodi Schneider and Peter Christensen of the School of Information Sciences and the Agriculture & Consumer Economics respectively.

    Linowes Fellowships support scholars whose work is relevant to Cline Center initiatives and plan to use Cline Center data and technology in innovative projects.

    Prof. Schneider is extending her 2020-21 project by continuing to investigate whether the news on public health emergencies is polarized along party lines, and to what extent. To do so, she plans to use the Cline Center’s Global News Index (GNI) and Archer system to investigate U.S. news on the opioid crisis (2004-2016) and the COVID-19 pandemic (2020-). 

    Prof. Christensen’s project is designed to reveal the causal linkages between local protest activity, local media coverage, and the incidence of discrimination in the housing market. A significant challenge in studying these relationships involves the absence of information that can be used to characterize the timing and character of local, contemporaneous protest movements.  To address this challenge, Prof. Christensen will integrate emerging Cline Center data on police shootings and community-level protests with experimental data on the incidence of racial discrimination in the 50 largest housing markets in the US.

    These projects reflect the values, goals, and standards set by Professor David F. Linowes during his long and distinguished service to the University of Illinois and the American people. Generous gifts from Professor Linowes and his family enable the Cline Center to support Faculty Fellows as well as the annual Linowes Lecture on Public Policy. These programs demonstrate our shared commitment to applying cutting-edge academic knowledge to today’s most challenging problems. More information about the Linowes Fellowship can be found here: https://clinecenter.illinois.edu/get-involved/LinowesFellows

  • Media Coverage of Pollinator Decline

    The world’s insect biomass is quietly declining by an average of 1-2% every year. Populations of pollinating insects vital to the world’s food supply are in crisis. Underscoring the looming “Insect Apocalypse,” a new Cline Center study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences finds that declining populations of pollinating insects received little attention relative to climate change in U.S. news outlets, and hardly any attention in international wire services. 

    An interdisciplinary team consisting of Cline Center researchers and Professor May Berenbaum, the head of Entomology at the University of Illinois, used the Cline Center’s Global News Index to analyze nearly 25 million articles published by the New York Times, Washington Post, and four international wire services between 1977 and 2019. Of these millions of stories, less than a thousand mentioned pollinator population losses. 

    A more focused analysis of New York Times coverage revealed that although climate change stories now tend to be published in the front sections of the paper, stories mentioning pollinator populations tend to appear in less-visible sections. Since news agendas shape policy agendas, continued lack of journalistic attention will hinder efforts to protect these vital insects.