Policymaking is far from the only context in which communications research can ‘matter’ to the wider, non-academic world, but it is a powerful and obvious one. It is especially important in an environment in which communications and media technologies-and the regulatory frameworks that surround them-are in flux. There is manifest need for better understanding of changes in the media and communications environment and of the larger public spheres they structure. These dynamics are inevitably complex, and call into play relationships between old and new technologies, social practices, institutions, markets, and regulation.

This essay forum, Making Communications Research Matter, is intended to advance a dialogue about the relationship between research and policymaking in this field.