How phone companies redline cell phone customers into digital ghettos

This op-ed was originally published in The Hill Why can't most inexpensive cell phones receive life-saving emergency weather alerts? Why, unlike people in the rest of the world, can't Americans listen to emergency information broadcasts on their cell phones? These are not accidents or unanticipated consequences. These are the results of deliberate decisions that have been made on the design, regulation and operation of the U.S. cell phone system. Nearly a decade ago, Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), who now chairs the House Energy & Commerce Committee, anticipated the need to expand access to emergency information. "With nearly 200 million Americans…

‘The Little Red Dot’ turns 50: Singapore’s five decades of soft power

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Singapore's emergence from a tiny third world island nation to a first world power – with no natural resources and a population smaller than some U.S. cities – was the topic of discussion at a CCLP forum here on Monday. Ashok Kumar Mirpuri, Singapore's Ambassador to the United States, noted that decades ago, Singapore was dismissed as "a little red dot." But what may have been intended as an insult became a term of pride, with "Little Red Dot" institutions sprouting through the country. Ashok Kumar Mirpuri, Singapore's Ambassador to the United States "In 1965 Singapore was…

Lifeline phones should be enhanced to ensure public safety, CCLP urges FCC

Why can't many inexpensive cell phones receive life-saving emergency weather alerts? Why, unlike people in much of the world, can't Americans listen to emergency information broadcasts on their cell phones? These are not accidents or unanticipated consequences. These are the results of policies and decisions by government agencies and the U.S. cell phone industry that should be addressed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Based on a series of meetings with high level participants from government, industry and academia, CCLP filed a comment with the Federal Communications Commission on May 29, 2015, recommending that the FCC ensure that cell phone…

VOA chief cites imbalance in international media

The director of Voice of America called attention to the slanted news coverage by state-owned media outlets in foreign countries during the keynote luncheon of an international policy conference co-sponsored by the Center on Communication Leadership & Policy (CCLP) on April 17, 2015. David Ensor was interviewed by CCLP senior fellow Adam Clayton Powell III at the Pacific Council on International Policy's Spring Conference. CCLP director Geoffrey Cowan, former VOA director, introduced Ensor and Powell to the more than 200 people from governmental, non-profit, academic, and private sectors who gathered at the historic and elegant California Club in downtown Los…

Roots of U.S. public diplomacy in 1917 echo debates of 2015

WASHINGTON – 98 years ago, the United States government formally inaugurated the first American agency of public diplomacy, and it faced the same questions in 1917 during World War I that the U.S. faces in 2015 against ISIS. That agency, the Committee on Public Information (CPI) was created to counter German propaganda and to create a more favorable image of the U.S. both at home and around the world. This agency and its mission was the topic of the Center on Communication Leadership & Policy's Washington Communication Leadership forum on Monday, featuring historians from the State Department and academic experts…

Americans can now listen to FM radio on their cell phone – for free

WASHINGTON – New software now allows millions of Americans to unlock the free FM radio receivers built into almost every smartphone sold in the US. Called NextRadio, the free app unlocks the FM receiver, enabling the phone to receive all local FM radio stations for free without using the cell phone network, so there are no data charges or other costs. Just remember to recharge your battery. NextRadio only works on Android cell phones, and not yet on all Android phones. Originally developed with Sprint, NextRadio now runs on all major US cell phone networks. The new app does more…

Adam Clayton Powell III honored at Africa’s largest journalism conference

Senior fellow Adam Clayton Powell III, who leads CCLP's new initiative on mobile phones as a platform for public service, was named a Highway Africa Fellow at the 2014 Highway Africa Conference at Rhodes University's School of Journalism and Media Studies in Grahamstown, South Africa. The 2014 Highway Africa Fellows, left to right: Joe Alfers, Mathatha Tsedu, Cheriff Moumina Sy, CCLP senior fellow Adam Clayton Powell III, Elizabeth Barratt, Jovial Rantao, and Amina Frense. In addition to being the only American to receive the award, Powell also holds the record for attendance; he has presented at 17 of the 18…

Al Jazeera America anchor: We never hear from Qatar

WASHINGTON — We never hear from Doha. That was the assertion by Joie Chen, Washington anchor for Al Jazeera America at Monday's CCLP Washington Communication Leadership forum. "I have never been to Doha," she said, "and I haven't heard from anyone in Doha." Rejecting criticism that Al Jazeera America is an instrument of the government of Qatar, which funds the new network, Chen said Al Jazeera America should be compared to the BBC or NPR, not to the VOA or Russia Today. "We are not in the public diplomacy business," said Chen. "We are in the journalism business."…

State Dept in-house tech R&D lab creates tech camps, virtual internships – and draws interest from Fortune 100 companies

WASHINGTON – The State Department's Office of eDiplomacy, the in-house lab for tech innovation and management, was the focus of the June CCLP Washington DC lunch forum. Richard Boly, who directs the office, said the eDiplomacy initiative has been so successful that major companies from Kimberly Clark to Nike have come to study innovations implemented in the State Department. Noting it took diplomacy centuries to moved from wax-sealed envelopes to the telegraph (he called it diplomatic Disruptive Technology 1.0), Boly said the pace of change has compressed from years into weeks and even days. But that reflects his background in…

Public media junior staff question ability of senior managers to manage digital and social media platforms

WASHINGTON – Senior managers in U.S. public media and millennial junior staff members share almost identical visions of the transition from broadcasting to digital platforms over the next ten years, according to a new survey presented at today's CCLP forum here. But the same survey shows more than 40% of the younger staff members are not confident that senior managers know what they are doing in digital media. The senior managers and junior staff were very close in their projections of the shift from broadcasting in 2013 to digital in 2023, "within a few percentage points" according to Mark Fuerst,…