Viktor Pickard

Victor Pickard, Ph.D.

Viktor Pickard
  • C. Edwin Baker Professor of Media Policy and Political Economy
  • Co-Director, Media, Inequality & Change Center

Victor Pickard’s research focuses on the history and political economy of media institutions, media activism, and the politics and normative foundations of media policy. His work is particularly concerned about the future of journalism and the role of media in a democratic society.

Victor Pickard is a Professor of Media Policy and Political Economy at the Annenberg School for Communication. Previously he taught at NYU and the University of Virginia and has held visiting appointments at Cornell, Goldsmiths, and LSE. He also worked on media policy in Washington, D.C. as a Senior Research Fellow at the media reform organization Free Press and the think tank New America, and as a Policy Fellow for Congresswoman Diane Watson.

Pickard has published over 100 book chapters, articles, and essays in leading scholarly journals and anthologies. He also has written or edited six books, including, most recently, Democracy Without Journalism?: Confronting the Misinformation Society (Oxford University Press, 2020). Previous books include Net Neutrality: A New Deal for the Digital Age (with David Berman; Yale University Press, 2019) and America’s Battle for Media Democracy: The Triumph of Corporate Libertarianism and the Future of Media Reform (Cambridge University Press, 2014). He is also co-editor of the books Will the Last Reporter Please Turn out the Lights (with Robert McChesney; The New Press, 2011), The Future of Internet Policy (with Peter Decherney; Routledge, 2016), and Media Activism in the Digital Age (with Guobin Yang; Routledge, 2017).

Pickard has also co-authored three major reports. In 2009, he was the lead author of the first comprehensive report on the American journalism crisis, “Saving the News: Toward a National Journalism Strategy” (published by Free Press as part of the book Changing Media: Public Interest Policies for the Digital Age). In 2017, he co-authored the major report “Essential Principles for Contemporary Media and Communications Policymaking” (with Robert Picard; published by the Reuters Institute, University of Oxford). In 2018, he co-authored the report “The Media Democracy Agenda: The Strategy and Legacy of FCC Commissioner Michael Copps” (with Pawel Popiel; published by the Benton Foundation).

Pickard sits on the editorial board of 12 major communication journals and book series, and he has received numerous article and book awards, including the Frank Luther Mott/Kappa Tau Alpha Journalism book award and the Harry W. Stonecipher Award for Distinguished Research on Media Law and Policy.

Pickard also maintains an active profile as a public scholar. He is a frequent commentator on public radio and he often speaks to the press about media-related issues. He has been interviewed about his research in leading news organizations such as NPR, the Washington PostUSA TodayColumbia Journalism Review, and the New York Times. His op-eds and essays have appeared in venues like the Guardian, the Washington Post, the Seattle Times, the Huffington Post, the Philadelphia Inquirer, Harvard Business ReviewJacobinThe Nation, and The Atlantic. He has delivered lectures and keynote addresses on campuses around the world. He is a board member for Free Press and he frequently collaborates with activists, policymakers, journalists, and community groups focused on media reform. Since 2012, he has co-directed the annual Consortium on Media Policy Studies (COMPASS) program in Washington D.C. With Sarah J. Jackson and Todd Wolfson, he co-directs the Media, Inequality & Change (MIC) Center.


  • B.A., Allegheny College, 1995
  • M.A., University of Washington, Seattle, 2003
  • Ph.D., University of Illinois, Urbana, 2008

Selected Publications

“Media Activism from Above and Below: Lessons from the 1940s American Reform Movement” in Media, Ideology and Hegemony. Brill, 2018.

“Digital Journalism and Regulation: Ownership and Content” in The Routledge Handbook of Developments in Digital Journalism Studies. Routledge, 2018.

Media Activism in the Digital Age. Routledge, 2017.

“Essential Principles for Contemporary Media and Communications Policymaking.” Reuters Institute, 2017.

“Media Policy Research and Practice: Insights and Interventions — Introductions.” International Journal of Communication, 2017.

The Future of Internet Policy. Routledge, 2016.

America's Battle for Media Democracy: The Triumph of Corporate Libertarianism and the Future of Media Reform. Cambridge University Press, 2014.

“The Great Evasion: Confronting Market Failure in American Media Policy.” Critical Studies in Media Communication, 2014.

 “Salvation or Folly? The Promises and Perils of Digital Paywalls.” Digital Journalism, 2013.

“Laying Low the Shibboleth of a Free Press: Regulatory Threats against the American Newspaper Industry, 1938 – 1947.” Journalism Studies, 2013.

“Social Democracy or Corporate Libertarianism? Conflicting Media Policy Narratives in the Wake of Market Failure.” Communication Theory, 2013.

“Being Critical: Contesting Power within the Misinformation Society.” Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies, 2013.

“The Air Belongs to the People: The Rise and Fall of a Postwar Radio Reform Movement.” Critical Studies in Media Communication, 2012.

Will the Last Reporter Please Turn Out the Lights: The Collapse of Journalism and What Can Be Done To Fix It. The New Press, 2011.

“Saving the News: Toward a National Journalism Strategy.” FreePress, 2009.