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November 30, 2023

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New professor analyzes media

The mass media has limitless influence on the U.S. and global economies, Dr. Oliver Boyd-Barrett said in his first address at the University.

His lecture, “Cyber Imperialism: History Interrupted,” was presented yesterday afternoon in the McFall Gallery and was followed by a reception.

Boyd-Barrett has been appointed as new Director of the School of Communications Studies and is scheduled to start work July 1. He will take over for Dr. Joe Frizado, who has been serving as interim director.

He provided audience members with an analysis of recent trends in media communication and the U.S. economy.

He also discussed the effects of U.S. supremacy in the areas of computing hardware and software.

There are two traditional areas of media study, political economy and cultural studies, Boyd-Barrett said. These areas come at the expense of technology telephony and computing, he said.

“We miss, as a scholarly community, a great deal in part technology,” he said.

In the global economy there are often limitations on the rise of local production and insufficient attention to covert influences, Boyd-Barrett said.

“The very phenomenon we got distracted by was beginning to be of such obvious importance,” he said. “Other areas become obscured in this fascination of media context.”

There are many influences in the world today on media including ownership, business models, professional values and content formatting, Boyd-Barrett said.

In the lecture he also referenced several forerunners as being significant in the area of critical media studies, including Herbert Schiller.

“His works in this area were incredibly insightful particularly into trends,” he said.

Information communication technology was one of the main topics during the lecture.

“ICT raises new and somewhat interesting issues of policy,” Boyd-Barrett said.

There has been a convergence of technology, especially within the past 50 years, he said.

Included are trends towards the Internet. What began as an integrated circuit migrated to the ASCII and ARAPANET programs and eventually the Internet and computer technology as we know it today, he said.

Crisis in this area in the 1960’s and 1970’s included the Vietnam defeat, OPEC price increases and blowback from U.S. foreign policy, he said.

These crisis effect the structure of world economy and global communication, Boyd-Barrett said.

“What I argue is that ICT turns out to be part of the response of the crisis,” he said. “ITC helped in a significant way to sustain the U.S. global economy leadership to 2000 and beyond.”

Among the responses to the crisis was the Reagan market re-regulation, Boyd-Barrett said.

“One of the most attention- grabbing strategies of the Reagan administration was the breakup of AT’T,” he said. “I think even today one might argue that, that breakup did indeed signal the beginning of a period of intense creativity.”

We are now in a millennium of globalization, Boyd-Barrett said. The U.S., Europe and Japan now make up over 50 percent of the global economy.

Another issue is that of knowledge-based industries, which are not facing a superior challenge to the U.S., Boyd-Barrett said.

“U.S. dependence on foreign oil will increase again and this will involve the U.S. in transforming the way to better access oil reserves in the Middle East and Asia,” he said.

There are symptoms of decline in the U.S. economy as well, he said. The nation has a huge deficit, debt to foreign investors and American citizens themselves are in debt.

He also addressed questions of India and China and their relationship with the U.S. in the near future.

“Outsourcing the very process of outsourcing itself is a concern, although not immediate,” Boyd-Barrett said. “But in current debates, in respect to India and China, we need to always keep the broad context in focus.”

Countries need to have in place alternate sources of energy for the future, Boyd-Barrett said.

We need to recognize technology in respect to U.S. economic interests, he said.

The speech gave insight to new faculty member, Bill Albertini, assistant professor in the English department.

“This gives me a sense of what the communications school does in respect to other departments on campus here,” he said.

Faculty members were excited to meet Boyd-Barrett after hearing him present some of his research.

“I like the way he produced a lot of statistics and he was very well-informed,” said Radhika Gajjala, associate professor in the department of interpersonal communication. “I’m really excited about his research.”

Jose Cardenas, instructor in the departments of theater and communications, thought the presentation was very interesting. “It was fairly impressive in a certain aspect that it’s not talked about daily but the far reaching aspects are nearly infinite,” he said.

The event was sponsored by the School of Communication Studies, the Darl Ault Visiting Lecturer in Journalism series and the College of Arts and Sciences.

He is anticipating the position as director, Boyd-Barrett said.

“This is opening a new and exciting chapter in an environment that is conductive to research,” he said.

A director search was conducted this year following the announcement that Dr. J. Michael Sproule accepted a position as Dean at St. Louis University.

Boyd-Barrett has been a professor in the Department of Communication in the College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences at California State Polytechnic University since 2001.

Boyd-Barrett has research interests in international communications media, national and international news agencies, globalization and the media, media economics, educational communications and educational management.

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