Yearly Archives: 2014

Sony ‘R’ US

The most shocking thing about the digital disemboweling of Sony Pictures’ computer data is that anyone would actually find it shocking. That goes for everything from the vulnerability of everyone’s personal and proprietary data, not just Sony’s, to the revelation that a sausage-making industry like the movie and TV business is… More

The Conscious Uncoupling of Cable TV

It’s a good time to be a cord cutter. First HBO, then CBS announced plans to offer stand-alone streaming services to those without cable subscriptions. It was called a watershed moment for cable TV and sent a strong signal that the mythical a-la-carte model for the industry was a real… More


In 1967, my mother, who had been raised in the suburbs of Atlanta, in a lifestyle that shielded her from any memory of the Depression; who was educated at a premiere women’s college; who for twenty-two years was a doctor’s wife; found herself divorced, having to find a job, and… More

Telling Stories and Measuring Impact

When I attended the Evolving Culture of Science Engagement workshop last fall, I was truly inspired by all the talent, technology and pure chutzpa being funneled into creative efforts to engage broader audiences in science. I’m based at the Norman Lear Center, a think tank at the University of Southern… More

Deflating the Filter Bubble

I was asked recently to speak at a symposium on Media Choices at Drexel University. The event drew a fascinating array of scholars who were studying things like Internet addiction, online dating, and political polarization in media consumption. When someone mentions “media choice” to me, I automatically start thinking about… More

Brands Make Lousy Lovers

What brand doesn’t belong on this list? Amazon, Uber, Yelp, Hillary. It’s a trick question. They all belong. In recent days, they’ve all been making it harder for their fans to love them. I loved Amazon at first sight. Later, when it killed Borders, I forgave it, and called it… More

The Secret of Warren Bennis’s Success

Though the size of Warren Bennis’s obituary in The New York Times was epic – all six columns across, filling most of the space above the fold on the back page of the A section – its text made no mention of something about him I always thought inextricable from… More

Please Manipulate Me

What do you call it when media try to manipulate your feelings without first asking for informed consent? Tuesday. Example: The average Facebook user sees only 20 percent of the 1,500 stories per day that could have shown up in their news feed. The posts you receive are determined by… More

Participant Media’s Impact Index

The New York Times devoted significant ink this week to The Participant Index (TPI), an effort by Participant Media to quantify and compare the relative social impact of films, TV shows and online video. The article also mentioned the Lear Center’s $4.2 million Media Impact Project, which has consulted on… More