About This Site

This website is the online record of the activities of the MIT Communications Forum.

For more than 30 years, the Communications Forum has played a unique role at MIT and beyond as a site for cutting-edge discussion of the cultural, political, economic and technological impact of communications, with special emphasis on emerging technologies.

Leading scholars, journalists, media producers, political figures and corporate executives have appeared at conferences and panels sponsored by the Forum.

Translating specialized or technical perspectives into a discourse accessible to non-specialists is a defining ambition of the Forum. When engineers, scientists, other academics or media practitioners address the Forum, they accept a responsibility to speak in a common language that must be understood and used by literate citizens and professionals in many fields.

The Forum's founding director was the late Ithiel de Sola Pool, a pioneer in the study of communications who taught in the MIT Political Science Department.

The Forum is funded by contributions from members of the MIT Industrial Liaison Program and foundation grants.

Media in Transition

To mark its twentieth anniversary in 1998, the Communications Forum launched the Media in Transition project in collaboration with the new MIT Program in Comparative Media Studies (CMS).

Funded by the Markle Foundation, this initiative involved a series of forums and conferences comparing earlier periods of decisive technological and social change with our contemporary experience of media transformation and convergence.

The strongest papers and reports generated by the project are now available in two volumes published by the MIT Press, Democracy and New Media and Rethinking Media Change, as part of a book series supervised by Forum Director David Thorburn. A website about the book series can be viewed at http://web.mit.edu/transition.

International conferences devoted to the theme of Media in Transition are held every other year at MIT under the joint sponsorship of CMS and the Forum.

MIT Communications Forum

Director Emeritus

David Thorburn
Professor of Literature, MIT


Seth Mnookin
Associate Director, MIT's Graduate Program in Science Writing

Assistant Director

Marah Gubar
Associate Professor of Literature, MIT

Governing Board

Patsy Baudoin
Digital Humanities Librarian

Mary Fuller
Head, Literature Section, MIT

Henry Jenkins
Provost's Professor of Communications, Journalism and Cinematic Arts, USC

Robert Pinsky
Professor of Poetry, Boston University

Steven Pinker
Johnstone Family Professor of Psychology, Harvard University

Ed Schiappa
Head, CMS/W, MIT

Ethan Zuckerman
Director, Center for Civic Media


Greg Peverill-Conti

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