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Journalism 2016 - Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Dialogue on the Future of Journalism?
The Aspen Institute Dialogue on the Future of Journalism Roundtable is a private roundtable of media executives, journalists, editors and visionaries. It examines the implications of modern technology, the multiplatform internet model and more on the future of journalism.

Journalism is an early and prime example of an industry and profession affected by the digital disruption and rise of networks.  The Journalism industry transformed itself from an editor and filterer of the world’s news to a curator, interpreter and agent for the news consumer. “That’s the way it is,” is now, “That’s how it could be.”  As the profession emerges from a decade of disruption, a number of new principles, models and practices have emerged.  At the same time, there are timeless values that define news and expression that need to be preserved.  The 2016 Dialogue on the Future of Journalism addressed how new forms of expression will impact the future of journalism, particularly in an era of global user generated content and information inflation. The Roundtable is generously supported by senior sponsor the Center for Investigative Reporting. 

What is the purpose of this website?
This site displays the report that resulted from the 2016 Future of Journalism convening that took place in Aspen, CO, August 8-9. The series of chapters, written by rapporteur Sharon Pian Chan, synthesize the ideas that emerged from participants during the two-day dialogue.

What is the Communications and Society Program?
The Communications and Society Program is an active venue for framing policies and developing recommendations in the information and communications fields.  As one of over thirty policy programs at the Aspen Institute, the Program provides a multi-disciplinary space where veteran and emerging decision-makers can develop new approaches and suggestions for communications policy.  The Program enables global leaders and experts to explore new concepts, exchange insights, develop meaningful networks, and find personal growth, all for the betterment of society. 

The Program’s projects range across many areas of information, communications and media policy. Activities focus on issues of open and innovative governance, public diplomacy, institutional innovation, broadband and spectrum management, as well as the future of content, issues of race and diversity, and the free flow of digital goods, services and ideas across borders.

Who leads the Aspen Institute Communications and Society Program?
Charles M. Firestone is executive director of the Aspen Institute Communications and Society Program. Since his appointment in December 1989, the Program has focused on the implications of communications and information technologies for leadership, the impact of new technologies on democratic and social institutions, and the development of new communications policy models and options for the public interest. He was also the Institute's executive vice president for policy programs and international activities from 1997-2000.

Prior to his positions with the Aspen Institute, Mr. Firestone was director of the Communications Law Program at the University of California at Los Angeles and an adjunct professor of law at the UCLA Law School. He was also the first president of the Los Angeles Board of Telecommunications Commissioners, which advises the Mayor and City Council on all regulatory matters relating to the cable and telecommunications fields.

Mr. Firestone's career includes positions as an attorney at the Federal Communications Commission, as director of litigation for a Washington DC public interest law firm, and as a communications and entertainment attorney in Los Angeles. He has argued several landmark communications cases before the United States Supreme Court and other federal appellate courts. Mr. Firestone is the editor or co-author of seven books, including Digital Broadcasting and the Public Interest (The Aspen Institute, 1998) and Television and Elections (The Aspen Institute, 1992), and has written numerous articles on communications law and policy.

He holds degrees from Amherst College and Duke University Law School and resides with his wife, sculptor Pattie Porter Firestone, in Santa Barbara, California.

Who sponsors the programming of the Communications and Society Program?
We would like to thank the Center for Investigative Reporting for its generous support in developing this roundtable.

Who moderates the Dialogue on The Future of Journalism?
Charlie Firestone, Executive Director of the Aspen Institute Communications and Society Program, moderates the Dialogue and all other roundtables produced by the Communications and Society Program.

Who are the participants at the Dialogue on The Future of Journalism?
Participants from the 2016 program include thought leaders from academia, non-profits and industry. Notable participants include, Marty Baron, Joaquin Alvarado, Tom Rosentiel, Craig Newmark, and Nikole Hannah-Jones.

Can I attend the Roundtable on Dialogue on The Future of Journalism?
Participants at the Dialogue are a carefully balanced group of key decision makers from the technology and journalism industries, user and consumer groups, academics, non-profit leaders, and representatives from government that are invited for their expertise, creativity and influential public policy ideas. Participation at the Dialogue on The Future of Journalism is by invitation only. 

Where does the Dialogue on The Future of Journalism take place?
The Dialogue on The Future of Journalism is an annual summer event that has taken place at the Aspen Meadows Conference Center in Aspen, Colorado.

Does the Dialogue on The Future of Journalism have the same theme every year?
The August 2016 Dialogue on The Future of Journalism was the first of the series. While the themes vary each year, the conference always examines the issues of how emergent technologies, economic issues and societal norms influence the journalism industry.