MIC Co-Director publications

DEMOCRACY WITHOUT JOURNALISM?: CONFRONTING THE MISINFORMATION SOCIETY

  • The first scholarly book to historicize the current American journalism crisis and situate it within long-term structural problems that plague the entire commercial news industry
  • A timely intervention that brings normative questions about journalism’s democratic imperatives back into focus and proposes structural alternatives to today’s failing commercial news models
  • Scrutinizes major transformations in American journalism while offering policy proposals for creating a more democratic media system
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AFTER NET NEUTRALITY: A NEW DEAL FOR THE DIGITAL AGE

This short book is a provocative analysis of net neutrality and a call to democratize online communication. It functions as both a primer that explains the history and politics of net neutrality and an argument for a more equitable framework for regulating access to the internet. Pickard and Berman argue that we should not see internet service as a commodity but as a public good necessary for sustaining democratic society in the twenty-first century. They aim to reframe the threat to net neutrality as more than a conflict between digital leviathans like Google and internet service providers like Comcast but as part of a much wider project to commercialize the public sphere and undermine the free speech essential for democracy. Readers will come away with a better understanding of the key concepts underpinning the net neutrality battle and rallying points for future action to democratize online communication.

DIGITAL REBELLION: THE BIRTH OF THE CYBER LEFT

Digital Rebellion examines the impact of new media and communication technologies on the spatial, strategic, and organizational fabric of social movements.

Todd Wolfson begins with the rise of the Zapatistas in the mid-1990s, and how aspects of the movement–network organizational structure, participatory democratic governance, and the use of communication tools as a binding agent–became essential parts of Indymedia and all Cyber Left organizations. From there he uses oral interviews and other rich ethnographic data to chart the media-based think tanks and experiments that continued the Cyber Left’s evolution through the Independent Media Center’s birth around the 1999 WTO protests in Seattle.

After examining the historical antecedents and rise of the global Indymedia network, Wolfson melds virtual and traditional ethnographic practice to explore the Cyber Left’s cultural logic, mapping the social, spatial and communicative structure of the Indymedia network and detailing its operations on the local, national and global level. He also looks at the participatory democracy that governs global social movements and the ways the movement’s twin ideologies, democracy and decentralization, have come into tension, and how what he calls the switchboard of struggle conducts stories of shared struggle from the hyper-local and dispersed worldwide. As Wolfson shows, understanding the intersection of Indymedia and the Global Social Justice Movement illuminates their foundational role in the Occupy struggle, Arab Spring uprising, and the other emergent movements that have in recent years re-energized radical politics.

America’s Battle for Media Democracy: The Triumph of Corporate Libertarianism and the Future of Media Reform

 

How did the American media system become what it is today? Why do American media have so few public interest regulations compared with other democratic nations? How did the system become dominated by a few corporations, and why are structural problems like market failures routinely avoided in media policy discourse? By tracing the answers to many of these questions back to media policy battles in the 1940s, this book explains how this happened and why it matters today. Drawing from extensive archival research, the book uncovers the American media system’s historical roots and normative foundations. It charts the rise and fall of a forgotten media reform movement to recover alternatives and paths not taken. As much about the present and future as it is about the past, the book proposes policies for remaking media based on democratic values for the digital age.