International Journal of Communication
Publishes a Special COMPASS Section on
Media Policy Research and Practice


What is the relationship between communication research and media policy?

What insights emerge from academic encounters with the policymaking apparatus?

How can this critical engagement help address today’s most pressing media policy problems?

This Special Section on Media Policy Research and Practice  features essays from doctoral students participating in the Consortium on Media Policy Studies (COMPASS) program. In 2004, the COMPASS program emerged as a joint effort between several leading communication departments, designed to immerse PhD students in policymaking processes to better inform their research and help build the field. At the same time, it encourages government and NGO policymakers to incorporate insights from such scholarship into their daily work. This reflects the program’s commitment to the idea that communication research, with its interdisciplinary origins, structural focus, and critical approach, can provide meaningful contributions to media policy analyses and debates.

The contributors to this Special Section secured fellowships related to their research interests in government institutions such as the State Department and the FCC, and nonprofit media advocacy organizations and think tanks like Common Cause, Free Press, the New America Foundation, and Public Knowledge. During their summer fellowships, the fellows were exposed to the daily practices of media policymaking, while contributing research to the policy work of their host institutions. The Special Section articles engage a range of important policy issues—from online privacy and surveillance, to copyright and advertising regulation—and propose policy reforms to make the policymaking processes and debates more transparent, accountable, and accessible to the public. Together, they make the case for the productive nexus of research and practice, highlighting the value of communication scholars’ interventions in key policy debates.

We invite you to read these feature essays that published in the International Journal of Communication on November 8, 2017.  Please Ctrl+Click on the essay titles below for direct linking to the papers of interest.


Media Policy Research and Practice: Insights and Interventions ‒ Introduction
Pawel Popiel, University of Pennsylvania
Victor Pickard, University of Pennsylvania
Mark Lloyd, University of Southern California

Who’s Behind that Political Ad? The FCC’s Online Political Files and Failures in Sponsorship Identification Regulation
Rachel E. Moran, University of Southern California

Critical Communication Policy Research and the Attention Economy: From Digital Labor Theory to Digital Class Struggle
Brice Nixon, Temple University

Measuring the Journalism Crisis: Developing New Approaches That Help the Public Connect to the Issue
Alex T. Williams, University of Pennsylvania

Television Versus the Internet for Information Seeking: Lessons from Global Survey Research
Sonia Jawaid Shaikh, University of Southern California

Race, Class, and Privacy: A Critical Historical Review
Matt Reichel, Rutgers University

New Media, Work Boundaries, and Privacy
Opeyemi Akanbi, University of Pennsylvania

Training Doctors to Communicate: Lessons from Integrating Behavioral and Social Science into Medical Education
Jillian Kwong, University of Southern California


Larry Gross

Arlene Luck
Managing Editor

Pawel Popiel, Victor Pickard, Mark Lloyd
Guest Editors