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UCLA CENTER FOR COMMUNICATION POLICY
The UCLA Center for Communication Policy is a forum for the discussion and development of
policy alternatives addressing the leading issues in media and communication. Communication
policy at its core begins with the individual and the family. The Center conducts and facilitates
research, courses, seminars, working groups, and conferences designed to have a major impact on
policy at the local, national, and international levels. In addition, it provides a base for visiting
scholars who are engaged in efforts to examine and shape communication policy. The goals of
the Center--one of eight research units within the UCLA School of Public Policy and Social
Research--include using the vast intellectual resources of UCLA to deal with some of the most
important concerns of the day and to have a transforming effect on the issues.
Since the creation of the Center for Communication Policy in September, 1993, it has been
awarded a $1.5 million national research grant, held five national and several local conferences,
conducted two nationwide surveys with one of America's leading newsmagazines, and established
a national identity in the area of communication policy for the Center and UCLA. Conference
keynote speakers have included Vice President Albert Gore, First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton,
and FCC Chair Reed Hundt.
- The Violence Assessment Monitoring Project is based on an agreement between the four
major broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC) and Congress. As independent
monitors, this qualitative analysis of prime time and children's programming will result in
annual reports and policy recommendations for each of the next three years. The reports
will be public documents shaping the discussion of this vital issue. Students working with
the Center on this project are gaining valuable experience with qualitative methods and
important knowledge and insight into the societal issue of violence on television.
- In January, 1994, the Center for Communication Policy co-hosted the Information
Superhighway Summit with the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. The
conference featured Vice President Gore, Chairman Hundt, and the chief executive
officers of practically every major film studio and technology company in America. The
Summit was broadcast live on C-SPAN, E! Entertainment, and on the UCLA campus.
Over 350 members of the news media attended, providing coverage of the Summit on the
front page of every major newspaper and all newsmagazines and network television
stations. Not only was this the first public conference bringing together all of the major
industry, government and academic leaders in the field, but also began the national
dialogue about the Information Superhighway and its implications.
- On March 3-5, 1994, the Center served as a co-sponsor of the first annual conference on
"Children and the Media" with Children Now and Stanford University. The conference
focused on children and the news media. It considered, for example, how children's issues
are treated by various media and what impact news has on children. The keynote speaker
by satellite from the White House was First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton. Conference
participants included many distinguished journalists, news media executives, former
Secretary of Education Shirley Hufstedler, and former FCC Chairman Newton Minow.
- Three of the local conferences the Center for Communication Policy has co-sponsored
were a day-long "Working Forum for the Media and Community on Cooperative
Responses to Civil Unrest" with the County Commission on Human Relations, the
American Jewish Committee, and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference; a day-
long conference on the effects of California's Proposition 13 with Money Magazine; and a
press workshop on Children and the Information Superhighway with Children Now.
- Last year with U.S. News & World Report the Center surveyed 7,100 members of the
entertainment industry's creative community about their attitudes towards the issue of
violence in the media. The results, which revealed that a strong majority of entertainment
professionals found media violence to be part of an overall societal problem, were
published in a nine-page story in May, 1994.
- On March 2-4, 1995, the Center again served as co-sponsor with Children Now and
Stanford University for a second annual conference, "Shaping Our Children's Values: The
Role of the Entertainment Media." The conference featured discussions of such topics as
what role does media play in the current national values crisis, how media shapes
children's political attitudes, and an industry perspective on values and the media.
President Bill Clinton spoke by videotape on "The New Covenant: Media and Values."
Keynote speaker Rich Frank, president of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences,
was joined by numerous distinguished media executives, advocacy group representatives
and journalists. Conference participants also included NBC anchor Tom Brokaw and
former FCC Chair Newton Minow.
- The Center co-sponsored a day-long conference on March 18, 1995, on the "Information
Superhighway '95" with GTE and the UCLA Executive MBA Program. Keynote
speakers were John Cooke, executive vice president of Disney and member of the National
Information Infrastructure Commission, and Michael Phelps, M.D., director of the Crump
Institute for Biological Imaging, who gave a multi-media presentation on brain function.
Topics included regulation and competition, the role of the media, and an Internet
- On March 30, 1995, the Center co-sponsored "Images of Aging," a mini-conference for
the entertainment industry sanctioned by the White House Conference on Aging. Co-
sponsors were AARP, CBS, and the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.
Conference participants included government policy makers, academics, entertainment
industry representatives, and gerontology experts. Issues discussed included the
demographics of aging, stereotypes and images of aging in the media, and trends in and
impacts of advertising on older viewers.
- In 1995 the Center continued its survey with U.S. News & World Report of over 7,000
members of the entertainment industry's creative community. This year's study focused on
values, both personal and as portrayed in the media. The results were published in a
featured story in the May 15, 1995 edition of the magazine.
- On June 1, 1995, the Center co-sponsored with the American Cinema Foundation a
conference on "Religion and Prime Time Television." This conference was designed to
examine portrayals of religion on television and attitudes of the religious community
towards television. Conference participants included a broad variety of religious leaders,
atheists, academics, and television creators and executives. Issues discussed included the
current status of religion on television, a hypothetical exploration of a proposed television
show with religious characters and themes, the impact of our pluralistic society on religion
and television, and how this issue should be addressed in the future. As a result of the
conference, a number of participants agreed to write articles for a book on the subject and
many agreed to come together in a continuing dialogue on television and religion to be
facilitated by the Center and the American Cinema Foundation.
- On July 9-10, 1995, Vice President Al Gore sponsored "The Family and the Media," a
conference in Nashville, Tennessee. The Center consulted on the program and prospective
participants and prepared a film on media images, "Mixed Messages," which opened the
conference. Center Director Jeffrey Cole participated in a panel discussion moderated by
President Clinton and Vice President Gore. The discussion focused on media violence and
its relationship to the current legislative agenda, including the telecommunication bill.
- The Center also has been involved in discussions on AIDS education in the media and
international financing in global communication. In the next year, the Center will co-host
conferences on Advertising in Children's Television and the Impact of Special Interest
Groups on Television. The following year the Center plans to hold an international
conference on global media issues.
- In early 1996 the Center will participate in a national conference, "The Impact of
Television on Society: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly," sponsored by the Academy of
Television Arts and Sciences. Center Director Jeffrey Cole is co-chair of the program
committee. Leaders in media, politics, and a variety of specializations will address
violence, sex, and other television-related issues.
- Courses in Communication Policy, Technology, Ethics, and Communication in Society are
currently under development for undergraduate and graduate students.
In a short period of time, the UCLA Center for Communication Policy has become a nationally
regarded policy studies center. The Center remains fully committed to studying, through a variety
of prisms, the important communication issues that will transform our lives.
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