The Next Generation of Broadcasting: A Talk by Vincent Curren


October 6th, 2017

Vincent Curren, Principal at Breakthrough Public Media Consulting, Inc., provided his perspective on the future of public broadcasting, focusing on the new IP-based standard created by the Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC), called ATSC 3.0. This new standard will enable real synergies between the Internet and broadcasting, and much much more. So join us to learn about the future of public broadcasting, and the next generation of television, as well as developments on the ground here in East Lansing at WKAR.

Quello Center presents: Next Generation Broadcasting by Vincent Curren from Quello Center on Vimeo.

Biographical Sketch of Speaker

Vincent Curren is principal of Breakthrough Public Media Consulting, a firm that helps public media companies navigate today’s dynamic and competitive media world. Vinnie is working with the Public Media Company to help public television stations leverage the power of ATSC 3.0, the next generation, broadcast television standard.

Before leaving to start his own firm, Vinnie served as Chief Operating Officer of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a position that he held for nearly a decade. While at CPB, Vinnie had overall responsibility for managing station policy, grant-making and station support activities, ensuring that all Americans receive robust public media services for free and commercial-free. Prior to being named COO, Vinnie was the Senior Vice President for Radio at CPB.
Vinnie has been a major market station general manager (WXPN, Philadelphia), has held programming, fundraising, and engineering positions in radio, been a commercial television producer/director, and has served on the boards of the Development Exchange (now Greater Public) and the Station Resource Group. Vinnie holds a BA from SUNY Buffalo (Psychology) and an MS from the University of Pennsylvania (Organizational Dynamics)

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Optimism Prevails in Opinions on the Future of Detroit


Optimism Prevails in Opinions on the Future of Detroit

by Bill Dutton and Bibi Reisdorf, Quello Center, MSU

Conversations about the prospects for Detroit’s future often expose a divide between those who see the city recovering from a decline in population and financial vitality and those who have given up on the city’s recovery. As part of a research project on the role of the Internet and new media in the development of Detroit, the Quello Center surveyed a random sample of Michigan residents about their perspectives on the future of Detroit. Conducted as part of MSU’s State of the State Survey (SOSS), the sample included nearly 1,000 respondents. Each respondent was interviewed over the phone through random sampling of mobile and fixed-line phones in Michigan.

The results show a divided public, but one in which positive views on the prospects for Detroit far outweigh more pessimistic viewpoints. We asked respondents: “Do you believe that the City of Detroit will decline or improve over the coming years?” More than 7 of every 10 respondents expected the city to improve in the coming years (Figure 1). Just under a quarter of respondents (24.8%) said that they expected the city to decline. Only a small proportion (4.7%) thought the city would stay about the same as today.

Moreover, Michigan residents are more positive about the future of Detroit in 2016 than in 2008, five years before the city of Detroit became the largest municipality in the United States to file for bankruptcy on July 18, 2013. In 2008, there was a more equal split among Michiganders, with 27.7% expecting the city to decline, and a slightly larger proportion (32.3%) expecting it to improve. Fully forty percent (40.1%) expected the city to stay in the same situation in 2008, compared to less than 5 percent in 2016. The drop in those expecting things to change might have declined due to a change in response categories, but opinion has clearly shifted to a more positive outlook for Detroit in the post-bankruptcy environment.

Figure 1. Michiganders Optimistic About the City of Detroit’s Future

Figure 1

Figure 1

2008: N=990
2016: N=995.

However, not all Michganders are alike in their views. Those who are more positive are more likely to be African-American, female, have incomes above $30,000 per year, and live inside the city of Detroit. Detroit residents were more positive in both 2008 and 2016, but race and gender differences were particularly marked and changed overtime.

Figure 2 shows that in 2008, African American respondents were far more optimistic about the future of Detroit than were white respondents. For example, in 2008, 52% of African American respondents thought the city would improve, compared to only 28.7% of white respondents (Figure 2). From 2008 to 2016, there has been a dramatic increase in the proportion of more optimistic African American (52.6-75.4%) respondents, as well as white respondents (28.7-69.8%), leaving racial divides in attitudes about the city’s future less pronounced in 2016 than in 2008.

Figure 2. Narrowing Racial Divides in Beliefs About Detroit’s Prospects

Figure 2

Figure 2

African American 2008: N=137
African American 2016: N=118
White 2008: N=835
White 2016: N=772

With respect to gender, Figure 3 shows that more women were pessimistic than men (29.6% of women thought things would improve, compared to 35.2% of men), and proportionately more women were likely to believe things would stay the same (44.2% of women, compared to 35.6% of men). However, by 2016, this had reversed, with 74.1 percent of women believing things would improve for Detroit, as compared with 66.9 percent of men. More men and women were optimistic in 2016, but the gain among women surpassed that among men (Figure 3).

Figure 3. Women Become More Optimistic Than Men About Detroit’s Future

Figure 3

Figure 3

Men 2008: N=477
Men 2016: N=477
Women 2008: N=514
Women 2016: N=479

It is difficult to anticipate the consequences of this shift in opinion. It is possible that a more positive outlook within the population—especially within Detroit itself—will contribute to supporting a growing number of initiatives underway in the central city and neighborhoods of Detroit, ranging from tech startups and urban farming to programs for vulnerable residents in distressed areas of the city.

The Quello Center will continue to follow shifting opinion as it studies the role of the Internet in networking collaborative efforts and opening access to information to its residents in order to support urban development and citizen engagement.


Dr Bibi Reisdorf or Professor Bill Dutton at the Quello Center at


The State of the State Survey (SOSS) is organized and directed by the Institute for Public Policy and Social Research (IPPSR) at Michigan State University. See:

Information about the ICT4Detroit Project of the Quello Center is available at:

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Steve Wildman on the Future of Media Content Delivery


The Quello Center Advisory Board identified the future of content delivery as one of the Center’s most critical issues for research. Late in 2014, Professor Steve Wildman provided an overview of the prospects for new forms of content delivery to a group of visiting executives. Prior to his lecture, Bill Dutton interviewed him about the key points he planned to cover. You’ve find this video of this interview to be a succinct summary of major issues facing the future of broadcasting and the media more generally. We’d welcome your comments – whether you agree to disagree with the future painted by Professor Wildman.

Delivering Media Content in a New Technological Environment: An Exploration of Policy Implications from Quello Center on Vimeo.

His video is at:

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Re-inventing Journalism: A Report on a Conference in Switzerland


Re-inventing Journalism
by Avshalom Ginosar

“Re-inventing Journalism” – this was the title of an international academic conference that took place in Winterthur, Switzerland (15 minutes from Zurich by train), on February 5th-6th. More than an hundred scholars, most of them from Europe, attended the conference.

Most of the 23 different workshops and presentations addressed, in one way or another, the transition of journalism onto the online world. It seems that this issue occupies not only the industry of news which keeps looking for the successful new business model, but it is an issue of great confusion and concern for the academic community as well. Scholars from different countries and different academic institutions are looking not only for new definitions of journalism and journalists; rather, they question the traditional theories of journalism and look for new theoretical directions, more suitable to the digital era of journalism. In fact, in all the sessions I attended, I heard more questions than answers.

The highlights of the conference were two keynote talks by Prof. Jane Singer of the City University in London, and of Wolfgang Blau, who is ‎now the Director of Digital Strategy at the British Guardian, and previously was the editor of the online version of the German weekly newspaper Die Zeit. These two figures knew about digital journalism than most of us attending, and both raised questions about its future. However, both of them certainly did not bury journalism as an occupation or as a social activity. On the contrary, both are very optimistic regarding the future of journalism in the digital and mobile world although as a journalism that will be quite different from the journalism to which we have grown accustomed for decades.

I would have welcomed more clarity on visions of that future, by these experts, but of course, they were journalists, not futurists. Perhaps readers might be able to suggest future directions or steer us to insightful work in this area?

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Quello Policy Issues: Comments on Emerging Issues


At the last meeting of the Quello Center Advisory Board, in the late Fall of 2014, we discussed key issues tied to media, communication and information policy and practice. The following list is a snapshot of the key issues emerging from that discussion, organized by general categories. Feedback on this list would be most welcome, and will be posted as comments on this post.


Innovation-led Policy Issues

The Future of Content Delivery: Content delivery, particularly around broadcasting of film and television, in the digital age: technology, business models, and social impact of the rapidly developing ecosystem, such as on localism, diversity, and quality.

Wearables: What appears to be an incremental step could have major implications across many sectors, from health to privacy and surveillance.

Regulation of the Internet of Things: Implications for urban informatics, transportation and environmental systems, systems in the household, and worn (wearables above). A possible focus within this set would be on developments in households.

Internet2: Implications for shaping the future of research and educational networking.

Other Contending Issues: Big data, drones, Cloud computing, …


Problem-led Initiatives

(In)Equities in Access: Inequalities in access to communication and information services might be growing locally and globally, despite the move to digital media and ICTs. The concept of a digital divide may no longer be adequate to capture these developments.

ICT4D or Internet for Development: Policy and technology initiatives in communication to support developing nations and regions, both in emergency responses, such as in relation to infectious diseases, or around more explicit economic development issues.

Digital Preservation: Despite discussion over more than a decade, it merits more attention, and stronger links with policy developments, such as ‘right to forget’. ‘Our cultural and historical record are at stake.’


Evolving Policy Issues Reshaped by Digital Media and Information Developments

Universal Access v Universal Service: With citizens and consumers dropping some traditional services, such as fixed line phones, do we need to refocus on providing a minimal level of broadband access to everyone, independent of devices?

Concentration and the Plurality of Voices: Trends in the diversity and plurality of ownership, and sources of content, particularly around news. Early work on media concentration needs new frameworks for addressing global trends on the Web, in print media, automated text generation, and more.

Emerging Privacy Policy: Efforts to balance security, surveillance and privacy, post-Snowden, and in wake of concerns over social media, and big data. White House work in 2014 on big data and privacy should be considered. Policy and practice in industry v government could be a focus. Is there a unifying sector specific perspective?

Freedom of Expression: New and enduring challenges to expression in the digital age.


Media and Information Policy and Governance

Rewrite of the 1934 Communications Act, last up-dated in 1996: This is unlikely to occur in the current political environment, but is nevertheless a critical focus.

Network Neutrality: Should there be Internet fast lanes and more? Issue has been ‘beaten to death’, but brought to life again through the public statements of Chairman Wheeler and President Obama. Huge implications for better or worse.

Future of Internet Governance: Normative and empirical perspectives on governance of the Internet at the global and national level. Timely issue critical to future of the Internet, and a global information age, and rise of national Internet policy initiatives.

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Quello Policy Research Paper on Mobile Today and Tomorrow


The Quello Center has just released a report on ‘Mobile Today and Tomorrow’ by a team of researchers from the Quello Center, Oxford Consulting, and Huawei Technologies. It explores trends in mobile and speculates on future developments. It is anchored in a review of literature, and a set of interviews with leading experts in many aspects of mobile technology, use and policy. It differs from many other overviews in being based on a social science perspective on mobile and striving to be global in its perspective. We invite comments and recommendations on this report and directions for taking further research. The paper is free online as:

Dutton, William H. and Law, Ginette and Groselj, Darja and Hangler, Frank and Vidan, Gili and CHENG, Lin and LU, Xiaobin and ZHI, Hui and ZHAO, Qiyong and WANG, Bin, Mobile Communication Today and Tomorrow (December 4, 2014). A Quello Policy Research Paper, Quello Center, Michigan State University.. Available at SSRN:

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