The Naked Nielsens

The metrics are wearing no clothes. How would you react if you found out that the basis of your business model was bogus? That’s the nightmare that the television industry is finally waking up to, and I bet that online media won’t be far behind. The TV business is built… More

Michael J. Copps and the Comcast Catast

Scott McGibbon is a Project Specialist at the Lear Center.   The ongoing challenges to corrupt oligarchies in the Middle East have shaken the world and reminded Americans how powerful the pull of liberty and democracy can be anywhere. These echoes of our own revolutionary history flood our TV and… More

Themes & Refrains at TED 2011

I had the great pleasure of attending TED last week – not in Long Beach but in Palm Springs, where a very international crew of 600 fired-up TEDsters watched a simulcast of TED on monitors so large and numerous that I kept thinking I was going to bump into the… More

Look! A Woman!

It’s a 140-year-old Harvard club. When you join, they give you a rose to press and return in your first book. Among my proudest accomplishments: I made it co-ed. Here’s what I wrote about it as a curtain-raiser to this year’s annual Signet Society dinner, which honors its female alumni.  … More

Play and Learning

We’ve all heard about different “learning styles” – some people supposedly respond better to hands-on instruction, others are more visual, and some just want to read books. I always thought these models were terribly reductive, but they held sway among many who worked with me developing edutainment software in the… More

Creativity & Collaboration in the Academy

Last week, the Lear Center hosted an exhilarating event about changing the nature of the academy and how it does research. Sponsored by Randy Hall, the Vice President of Research at USC, the event brought together a breathtaking array of scholars from across the disciplinary spectrum – many of whom are… More

Good as Gold?

Norman Lear, whose TV screen cred goes back to the beginning of the medium as well as encompassing his own landmark shows, has said on more than one occasion he believes the Golden Age of television is right now, not during the heyday of his shows All in the Family and Maude nor… More

On my recent L.A.-bound vacation, I took the time to check out a Web site I’d had my eye on for months:, a supremely cool, online collaborative media-making venture started by actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt. It seems to have reached a happy and coherent critical mass lately (I was a… More

It’s the Pictures that Got Small

At the second annual Producer Guild’s “Produced By” conference last month, veteran television and movie producer Marshall Herskovitz expressed deep concern that the headlong push of content to every new platform by media conglomerates could end up reducing the value of that content and cheapen the audience experience. Days later,… More