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Aspen Digital Reports FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions

What is the purpose of this website?
This site features the projects and reports of the Aspen Institute Communications and Society Program.  The site provides a dynamic space for viewers to explore and share Program content and engage with relevant cutting-edge communications policy issues.  It also highlights and connects readers to the supporters and participants of the Communications and Society Program Roundtables, Task Force projects, Commissions, and public programs.

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 Chevy Chase, Maryland.

Who sponsors the programming of the Communications and Society Program?
Programming at the Communications and Society Program is funded by various foundations, and corporate and personal contributions. For a full list of Program supporters, visit our Partners page.

How can I get involved with the Communications and Society Program?
Participation at Communications and Society Program Roundtables is by invitation only.  To stay informed of our upcoming public and live-streamed events, sign up for our email updates, and follow us on Twitter and Facebook

To support the Communications and Society Program, donate online or contact us at 202-736-5818

Where is the Aspen Institute Communications and Society Program headquartered?
The Communications and Society Program is located at:

2300 N Street, NW
Suite 700
Washington, DC 20037

The Communications and Society Program also conducts programming at the Aspen Institute campuses in Aspen, Colorado and on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.