Spock’s ‘Good Mother’

“Oh, by the way, Leonard,” I say into the phone, as breezily as I can feign, “what did you think about Diane’s belt?” Leonard Nimoy is on location in Cambridge, Massachusetts, preparing to direct The Good Mother for Disney, starring Diane Keaton. I’m the executive on the movie, on the… More

New Media & the Holocaust

As we recognize the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, we can’t help but consider what’s changed … and what hasn’t. After the recent attacks in Paris there are renewed worries about how we communicate the Holocaust to new generations, especially as the ranks of survivors and witnesses dwindle… More

Making Media Smarter

The entertainment industry is notorious for adjusting its numbers to service an often inscrutable bottom line. And all of us — including everyone who variously produces or consumes media content — have been ill-served by cookie-cutter audience segmentation techniques and panel-based research methods that cannot account for what’s happening in… More

How Satire Happens

On May 4, 1970, when 29 Ohio National Guardsmen shot 67 rounds of ammunition at a group of unarmed Kent State University students protesting Richard Nixon’s expansion of the Vietnam War into Cambodia, killing four students and wounding nine others, I was the president of the Harvard Lampoon, the nation’s… More

New Tools for Measuring Cultural Engagement

I was very pleased to be invited by the National Endowment for the Arts to participate in a lively symposium addressing perhaps the most important issue in the arts these days: how do we justify public funding for the arts? For those of us who frequently attend arts and culture events,… More

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

Gen-Lear

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