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Philip M. Napoli – Data Politics: The Information Ecology of Communications Policymaking

Thursday, April 7, 2011
12:30 pm


Sherrerd Hall, 3rd floor open space
Princeton, NJ 08544 United States + Google Map

Food and discussion begins at 12:30 pm. Everyone invited.

Policymaking frequently is characterized as being increasingly data-driven and yet, paradoxically, increasingly politicized. This work-in-progress examines the intersection of these trends via an analysis of the past and present of U.S. communications policymaking. The notion of an information ecology is employed in this context to describe the policies, norms, and resources surrounding the usage of research and data in policy decision-making. This presentation will focus on the contemporary information ecology of communications policymaking via an analysis of current cases, ranging from broadband deployment to media ownership to cable regulation. This analysis draws upon a range of primary sources, including government agency decisions; court filings and decisions, congressional hearings and testimony; government reports; and stakeholder filings with government agencies. The results highlight a range of strategies that are employed to alter the information ecology of policymaking in ways that help to produce particular policy outcomes. The presentation concludes with a set of recommendations for strengthening the information ecology of communications policymaking.


Philip M. Napoli (Ph.D., Northwestern University) is a Professor of Communications and Media Management in the Graduate School of Business, and Director of the Donald McGannon Communication Research Center, at Fordham University. Professor Napoli also serves as a Docent in the Department of Communication at the University of Helsinki and as a Knight Media Policy Fellow at the New America Foundation. His most recent book is Audience Evolution: New Technologies and the Transformation of Media Audiences (Columbia University Press, 2011).