New Essays on Making Communications Research Matter
Dec. 2008 -- "Making Communications Research Matter" is an SSRC essay forum intended to advance dialogue about the relationship between research and policymaking in media and communications. Recent additions (by Kate Coyer, Marianne Franklin, Philip Napoli, and Danilo Yanich) are up for comment and discussion.
Subscribe to the RSS feed for frequently updated content.
“We need also be mindful of the role and value of critical theory and inquiry. The last decade has produced substantive scholarship that well-places alternative and community media on the media studies landscape as well as in the media policy environment. The defensive positioning that our work matters is thing of the past.”
Marianne Franklin: What If? Confessions of a Sceptical Activist
“Recent history is full of lessons about how policy-makers make a difference in the halls of political – national and international – power. For activists or researchers who set out on the institutional-change route, this decision to take a ‘reformist’ approach then has to eschew the public gaze, headline news of the day. It also asks for time, energy and commitment and a devotion to the long term. It also means leaving behind cherished notions of independent thought, a degree of autonomy, and that much aligned space away from it all that enables ‘critical thought’ and ‘rigorous research’ to take place.”
Philip M. Napoli: Audience Evolution and the Resuscitation of “Mass Communication”
“Researchers looking at a wide range of issues related to the production, distribution, and consumption of user-generated content are conducting research that can potentially enhance our understanding of the contemporary dynamics of access to audiences, and can thereby feed into informing the ongoing transition to communications policy frameworks that extend far beyond the traditional institutional communicators -- and that instead account for the masses as mass communicators as well.”
Danilo Yanich: Doing Policy Research: Camelot or Oz?
“Done well, policy research accomplishes the task of speaking truth to power even if power is reluctant to hear it. Done well, policy research is candid, scientifically sound and fearless in its recommendations. Done well, policy research is a fundamental and critical guide to public action. Done poorly, policy research is an abomination that muddies the policy area and makes claim to expertise that it does not possess. Done poorly, it creates the cover that power needs to escape the truth.”