Victor Pickard seminar event mashup
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Book cover image courtesy of Victor Pickard; graphic mashup created with Canva

As local media institutions collapse and news deserts sprout up across the US and beyond, commercial journalism is facing a profound crisis. Meanwhile, continuous revelations about the role that major media outlets—from Facebook to Fox News—play in the spread of misinformation have exposed deep pathologies in American and global communication systems. Despite these threats to democracy, policy responses have been woefully inadequate, in large part because we are overlooking the core roots of the crisis. By uncovering degradations caused by run-amok commercialism, my research brings into focus the historical antecedents, market failures, and policy inaction that led to the implosion of commercial journalism. Fortunately, the narrative is not all doom and gloom: This crisis is also an opportunity to reinvent journalism.

Victor Pickard is an Associate Professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School for Communication, where he co-directs the Media, Inequality & Change (MIC) Center. Currently he is a visiting fellow at Goldsmiths and LSE. His research on the history and political economy of media institutions has appeared in a wide range of academic and popular publications. He is the co-author of After Net Neutrality: A New Deal for the Digital Age and the author of Democracy without Journalism? Confronting the Misinformation Society.

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