Media Ownership: Research and Regulation

2005 Rupe Conference - Media Ownership: Research and RegulationMedia Ownership: Research and Regulation was a year-long series of events examining the changing patterns of media ownership, their implications on civic practice, and the regulatory structures that govern them and culminating in the 2005 Rupe Conference on Media Ownership engaged more than 50 faculty members from 20 different departments. The series was sponsored by:

  • The Center For Film, Television and New Media
  • The Critical Issues in America Endowment of the College of Letters & Science
  • The Arthur N. Rupe Chair in the Social Effects of Mass Communication in the Department of Communication
  • Department of Film Studies
  • Interdisciplinary Humanities Center


Technological developments, regulatory policies, political ideologies, cultural trends, economic forces, and globalization, the media landscape in the U.S. and around the globe is rapidly changing. Many people are deeply concerned about the increasing concentration of media production and distribution, and worry about the effect of such consolidation on diversity of opinion and content, creativity, commercialization, and democratic access to the marketplace of ideas. In June 2004, the Federal Communications Commission approved sweeping changes in rules on media ownership that would allow forms of vertical and horizontal integration of the media and entertainment industries that have not been seen since before the trust-busting “Paramount decrees” of 1948. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit stayed the implementation of the rules after finding that the FCC’s studies “employ several irrational assumptions and inconsistencies,” and that the FCC’s “diversity index” was arbitrary and capricious. Compounding the problem of the lack of authoritative research on the social and political effects of media concentration is the lack of press coverage on these kinds of regulatory debates. The time is right for a major public research university to use its resources to discover the kind of research programs needed to understand the national and global complexity and consequences of the rapidly changing configurations of media ownership, and to help the public understand and react appropriately.


Lecture Series

Media Ownership and Regulation

October 18, 2004 - Watch on UCTV

Patricia Aufderheide, Professor in the School of Communication, and Director of the Center for Social Media, American University: Feeds, Funnels, Filters and Us: The Public's Interest in the Media Environment

Media Ownership and Legal Issues

November 3, 2004 - Watch on UCTV

Larry Stein, Partner, Liner Grode Stein Yankelevitz Sunshine Regenstreif & Taylor: Media Concentration in the Entertainment Industry

Copyright and Media Ownership

November 17, 2004 - Watch on UCTV

Networking Versus Boadcasting: An Historical Perspective on the Copyright Wars

Moderated by Mark Rose, Associate Vice Chancellor, Author of Authors and Owners: The Invention of Copyright


  • William Warner, Professor of English, Director of the University of California Digital Cultures Project, UCSB: Copyright and Access to Information in the University
  • Sarah Pritchard, University Librarian, UCSB: Copyright and Access to Information in the University

Media Politics in the United States Today

February 13, 2005 - Watch on UCTV

Robert McChesney, Gutgsell Endowed Professor in the Department of Communication, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign: Media Policits in the United States Today

New Paradigms in Global Entertainment Economics or The Companies that Ate Hollywood

March 3, 2005 - Watch on UCTV

Jennifer Holt, Visiting Assistant Professor in the School fo Cinema and Television, University of Southern California: New Paradigms in Global Entertainment Economics or The Companies that Ate Hollywood

Media Concentration and Media Bias: The State of Newsgathering Today

May 21, 2005 - Watch on UCTV

Moderated by Ann Louise Bardach, and Virginia Postrel, former editor of Reason magazine


Rupe Conference on Media Ownership: Research and Regulation

Saturday May 21, 2005 / 9:00-5:00 PM / Victoria Hall Theatre, Santa Barbara

Session 1: The Current Condition and Trends of Media Ownership

  • Eli Noam (Columbia University): KEYNOTE PRESENTATION -- Media Concentration Trends in America: Data, Facts & Fiction
  • Denise Bielby and Molly Moloney (UCSB): Considering Global Media Concentration: Sociological Contributions
  • Moderator: Jennifer Holt (USC)

Watch on UCTV

Session 2: Political and Legal Foundations

  • Diane Watson (Representative 33rd Congressional District, U.S. Congress): Media Ownership, Politics and Legislation
  • Michael Epstein (Southwestern University School of Law): Legal Foundations of Media Ownership
  • Moderator: William Warner (UCSB)

Watch on UCTV

Session 3: Media Access

  • Welcome back from Constance Penley (Center Co-Director)
  • Leah Lievrouw (UCLA): Online Oppositional Media
  • Ann Louise Bardach (author, journalist and Director of The Media Project of the UCSB Center for Film, Television and New Media): Implications of Media Ownership for Editors and Journalists
  • Moderator: Sarah Pritchard (UCSB)

Watch on UCTV

Session 4: Ethics, Research and Regulation

Watch on UCTV