Humans of Communication: Professor Dwayne Winseck

Humans of Communication: Professor Dwayne Winseck     By Madeleine Le Jeune
My name is Dwayne Winseck, and I have been a Communications Professor now for 20 years, 22 years, as a matter of fact. And I have been at Carleton for 18. I have found it to be a really hospitable place for doing the kind of research I want to do, the colleagues that I have. Being in Ottawa is a great city for the research that I do, which is focus on the Telecommunications media and Internet industries and the policy and regulatory frameworks that shape their development and set the institutional, legal and regulatory context in which they operate. So if you want to be in heart of where the big decisions take place that shape these industries, and have done so for over a century, Ottawa is a great place to be.

Dwayne Winseck

All the major players are here, we have awesome archives, its a great town for getting together informally with people for a drink, for a coffee, for a beer, and to talk shop and to talk about what is going on. And I think these informal channels of communication are really, really important for somebody like myself if you want to get a real feel for the texture of how the telecommunications and media industries work in this country and who is who. And how the issues are being perceived and what the different interests are and how the different actors interact with one another. And of course, one gets a little insight into people when you have coffee with them off the record, and so it really humanizes something that I think is usually perceived by people as very distant, as being really far removed from day to day experience and frankly, as I say often in my classes; quite boring. But I think in this city, in Ottawa, if you are interested in this kind of research, this is an area where it really comes to life because there are actually real people involved in this, real people from industry, from Government, and the city is teeming with a number of really good academics doing good research.

There seems to be some new energy in the field too, and I wonder if this isn’t, to take a theoretical idea, because we are living in what some scholars are calling a “constitutive moment”, or a “critical juncture”, when key decisions are being laid down that are going to set the baseline for how these industries develop for the next century. I mean, you can hardly go a month, without some significant decision taking place that is going to have ramifications for at least the next decade. This year alone the CRTC has made at least four major decisions, all of them underpinned by this fundamental recognition that the telecoms media and access industries in Canada are highly concentrated and that there is a role for the Government to play in trying to create the conditions that will allow for more competitors to emerge. This is all near and dear to my heart, given the fact that I’m the director of the Canadian Media Concentration Research Project (the CMCRP, the link to Professor Winseck’s website for this project is http://www.cmcrp.org) which is a project that is dedicated to mapping out the development of the dozen or so sectors of the telecom, media and internet industries over the last 30 years or so, trying to answer the basic question: are the media becoming more or less concentrated, and how do we know one way or another? And so, the research that I do, it is informing regulatory decisions, its being cited out there in the so-called “real world” as well as by my colleagues in the university and in published research, so it’s pretty gratifying to be in a place to do this kind of research.”

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