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Victor Pickard

Professor of Communication, University of Pennsylvania
Areas of Expertise:

About Victor

Pickard’s research interests cohere around a central concern: how media institutions and systems enable or constrain democratic practices. To understand these potentialities, his work examines the policies, politics, histories, ideologies and democratic theories that structure U.S. and global media. More specifically, he focus on internet and media policy, the politics and normative foundations underlying specific policy regimes, and activist efforts toward changing them. In recent years, my research has focused on questions about the future of journalism.

Pickard has worked on media policy in Washington, D.C. as a senior research fellow at Free Press and the New America Foundation’s Open Technology Institute, as well as a policy fellow for Rep. Diane Watson. Currently, he is a board member of Free Press, a leading US media reform organization.


In the News

" Biden’s Broadband Plan Is a Good Start—But America Needs Guaranteed Broadband for All," Victor Pickard (with David Elliott Berman), Politics, The Nation, May 21, 2021.
"Why Local Journalism Must Be Considered Infrastructure," Victor Pickard, Opinion, The Hill, April 18, 2021.
"Instead of Killing the U.S. Postal System, Let’s Expand It," Victor Pickard, The Nation, May 7, 2020.
Victor Pickard quoted by Brian Fung and Tony Romm, "FCC Chairman Has ‘Serious Concerns’ about the Sinclair-Tribune Merger and Could Seek to Block the Deal" The Washington Post, July 16, 2018.
Victor Pickard's research on net neutrality discussed by Anna Kramer, "The End of Net Neutrality: Will Users Notice Their Missing Internet Freedom?," WHYY, June 12, 2018.
on KALW's Media Roundtable, Victor Pickard, April 13, 2018.
"The Problem With Our Media is Extreme Commercialism," Victor Pickard, The Nation, January 30, 2017.
"Yellow Journalism, Orange President," Victor Pickard, Jacobin, August 29, 2016.
Guest to discuss What Radio Can Teach the Internet on On the Media, WNYC, Victor Pickard, February 27, 2015.
Victor Pickard quoted , "The Leonard Lopate Show, WNYC" , February 18, 2015.
"Before Net Neutrality: The Surprising 1940s Battle for Radio Freedom," Victor Pickard, The Atlantic, January 29, 2015.
Guest to discuss The History of America’s News Media and What Went Wrong on Radio Times WHYY, Victor Pickard, January 12, 2015.
Guest to discuss Will the Last Reporter Please Turn Out the Lights on C-SPAN Book TV New America Foundation, Victor Pickard, June 20, 2011.


America’s Battle for Media Democracy: The Triumph of Corporate Libertarianism and the Future of Media Reform (Cambridge University Press, 2015).

Traces the historical and ideological roots of the American media system by drawing from extensive archival research. In particular, it analyzes the critical juncture in the 1940s when policymakers, social movements, and communication industries grappled over the role of a commercial press in a democratic society.

Will the Last Reporter Please Turn Out the Lights: The Collapse of Journalism and What Can Be Done to Fix It (with Robert McChesney) (The New Press, 2011).

Assembles key writings on the crisis in journalism and offers policy proposals for how we might begin to re-imagine the ownership and control of news media so that it can better serve democracy.

Saving the News: Toward a National Journalism Strategy (with Josh Stearns and Craig Aaron) (Free Press, 2009).

Defines the nature of the journalism crisis, catalogued alternative models, and proposed public policy initiatives to sustain public service journalism in the first comprehensive study of the journalism crisis that accelerated in 2008-2009.