Introduction: Truth and power Speaking truth to power has always been an “iffy” proposition. It is a process that is laden with critical questions and, at times, contradictions. Does power really want to hear the truth? Can the truth be compromised by the power relationship? What happens when power and truth are on the opposite sides […]
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.
Audience Evolution and the Resuscitation of “Mass Communication”: Implications for Communications Policy and Policy Researchby Phillip M. Napoli
Perhaps the greatest challenge confronting communications policymakers and policy researchers is effectively adjusting their analytical frameworks to account for the dramatic changes taking place in the contemporary media environment. We saw this quite vividly, for instance, in the FCC’s media ownership proceedings, in which decision-makers and researchers grappled with questions related to if and how the […]
A Sceptical Activist Forgive me for sounding like the proverbial curmudgeon, but on being asked to contribute to this forum, and without meaning any disrespect to its instigators or the fine contributions to date, I have to admit to heaving a sigh of ‘oh no, not again!’ The thought of dredging up recollections, first or […]
Introduction I was once quoted in a magazine article saying that I never wanted to attend a conference again if it didn’t involve power tools. At the time, I was likely holding a soldering iron in my hand. In my ideal world I would have the time, resources and commitment to be a scholar, a policy advocate, […]
In this essay, we assume—perhaps too broadly—that research is useful for policy formations and ask, rather, why engage in comparative research? And because of our own work, we focus on comparative research concerning media law and policy. Comparisons can lead to fresh, exciting insights and a deeper understanding of issues that are of central concern in […]
In an ideal world, uncontaminated by partisanship and political agendas, academic researchers have much-needed qualifications and skills that can contribute to rational decision-making by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). By law, the FCC has to combine its in-house expertise with a transparent and complete collection of evidence when establishing rules, regulations and policies. Sadly, the […]
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is considered by Congress and courts to be an “expert” agency and is tasked with a wide range of decisions that rely on expertise in engineering, economics and statutory construction. This presumed expertise allows courts to grant “deference” to the agency’s decisions. In appeals of FCC decisions, the adage that […]
My research focuses on issues of public service broadcasting (PSB) and public culture and media generally, and includes major studies in the last decade of the BBC and Channel 4, the two main British public service broadcasters, the UK television industry, and digital television and convergence. I researched and wrote the first independent inside study […]
I joined the Working Group on Internet Governance with very low expectations of how my input would be received. The reason is simple: this was a Group that was to deliver a report on a very sensitive (read “political”) area of the Internet. Where the urban legend said the Internet could not be regulated or […]
It has been a characteristic of the modern state ever since the French Revolution to favor evidence-based policymaking. Indeed, the word “statistics” refers to the interplay between the development of research methods and the uses of those methods by governments. But the nature of the state, and of knowledge production, and of state-society relations, have […]