The Consortium on Media Policy Studies (COMPASS)

The Consortium on Media Policy Studies (COMPASS)


For well over a decade, a group of leading
Communication PhD programs in the United States have sponsored a select group of students
to spend the summer at various host institutions in Washington D.C. These institutions typically include think
tanks, regulatory agencies, advocacy groups, the Federal Communications Commission, for
example, many other places where the students get to see from a front-row seat how these
media policy debates unfold and to observe the politics behind these media policies. I am placed at the Center for Technology and
Innovation at the Brookings Institution, and we focus on issues having to do with access
to broadband. This is really given me the opportunity to
take a lot of my subject matter knowledge that I got from books and actually see how
that knowledge is applied in the real world. It’s given me just a number of possible avenues
that I can pursue in my own research. COMPASS is an incredible opportunity to see
the whole political process and how policy is made. As a scholar, we can be so arrogant. Why does the government do something that
everyone thinks they shouldn’t do? But when you come to this program and talk
with so many people, you will see the bigger picture, and a more complex and nuanced picture
about how policy works. I think the COMPASS program has really been
quite a boon for me this summer. First of all, there’s funding, so you’re able
to be supported living in D.C., working in D.C. But also some of the network opportunities,
the ability to be placed with an agency, it’s really gotten my foot in the door and it’s
been a great opportunity to work there. Every week we have a seminar, and so far we
have met people from the government, from the Congress, from the corporates and from
the scholars, from the think tanks. I think networking has probably been the best
part of my summer. First the FCC has been really wonderful in
arranging lunches, speakers, allowing you to get coffee with staff, and I’ve met so
many great people who have also introduced me to other great people. The COMPASS program also really encourages
the students to meet up with each other, to let each other know about guest speaker events,
and also the speakers who have come in to our class are all really professional people,
great people with networks themselves to tap into. When we were at FCC, one of the speakers on
the broadband and health relationship conversation we had was a communications lawyer, and another
one was a medical doctor. It’s been really exciting and refreshing to
meet people outside of the academic space who are interested and passionate about solving
similar problems that I am. I think the person that I’ve learned the most
from while being at COMPASS holistically has been Mark Lloyd. He has incredible depth of knowledge both
of the history of media, having come from media himself, and the political process. He’s a lawyer and a professor, so he meets
the intersection of academia, policy, and industry. He’s an incredible guy to learn from and to
be around. The long-term goal for COMPASS is to build
out the field of media policy research and to try to create these bridges between academics
and people who are working on media policy in places like Washington D.C. This is an incredible opportunity to learn
how to focus your own research on something that could be applicable in the real world.

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