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Sociology Media and Society

You are the Regulator

You are on a U.S. Congressional committee tasked with improving the quality of our information ecosphere. (Note: this could include professional journalism broadcast on mass media channels and/or less professional content shared through social media or the web.)  Before getting started, you need to do some background research on recent regulatory issues, inhibitors of a free press, information quality, etc., and then explore possible solutions.  Your objective is to write a brief report recommending reform of one regulatory issue that you believe will most drastically improve the information ecosystem in the United States.

First, provide a brief explanation of the problem as you see it.  For example, if you are concerned about the power of owners/conglomerates, indecent content, or (un)equal web access, then you might discuss FCC regulations governing those issues.  Alternatively, you might be concerned about digital platforms (Google, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, etc.) allowing false or misleading information to spread rapidly, which could lead you to discuss Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act and what responsibilities it gives platforms as compared to traditional publishers.  Regardless of your focus, be sure to explain the regulatory issue, its recent/current status, and what effects it has on the health of the information ecosystem. That is, what kind of regulatory issue are you dealing withaccess, content, ownership, or something elseas outlined in AMAS chapter 5?  Then, explain how it might be reformed, why the reforms you propose could help address the problems improvements, and if you foresee any complications or potential unintended consequences.

In researching and drafting your report, you should draw on the assigned readings and other relevant course materials.  You may also reference popular media or other policy resources if you find them helpful.

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