Public Release: 

Bell Atlantic-Temple University Conference To Look At How Digital Age Communication Is Transforming The World

Temple University

Few would disagree that digital technology is radically reconfiguring the global landscape, changing forever how the world communicates and interacts. It has redefined how information is accessed, manipulated, shared and communicated.

What lies ahead? Greater diversity and more access to information for everyone? Or will a handful of industry giants dominate, and manipulate, the new media environment?

On Friday and Saturday, June 4 and 5, media and technology industry leaders and scholars will explore the implications of the digital age at the Bell Atlantic Temple University Conference on Digital Communication, The Challenge of the Digital Age: A Forum of Diverse Perspectives.

Convening the conference on Friday, June 4, at 8:30 a.m., is George Gerbner, Bell Atlantic Professor of Telecommunications at Temple and director of the Cultural Indicators Project, the annual monitoring and analysis of prime time network television dramatic program content since the 1967-68 season.

All sessions will be held in the Albert M. Greenfield House at Temple University's Sugarloaf Conference Center, 9230 Germantown Ave., in the Chestnut Hill section of Philadelphia. An opening reception and dinner is planned for Thursday, June 3, at 6 p.m. The conference fee is $95.

Featured speakers (with the times of their presentations) include:

  • Patricia Beadling, vice president, external and public relations,Bell Atlantic-Pennsylvania, with responsibility for community relations, consumer affairs, educational relations, public affairs,and local government relations. (Friday, June 4, 8:30 a.m.)

  • Jeffrey Chester, executive director and a co-founder of the Center for Media Education, a former investigative journalist and filmmaker and a nationally known expert on media policy issues. (Friday,June 4,1 p.m.)

  • Dirck Halstead, senior White House photographer, Time Magazine, winner of the Overseas Press Club's Robert Capa Gold Medal for coverage of the fall of Saigon and also editor and publisher of the e-zine "The Digital Journalist." (Saturday, June 5, 2 p.m.)

  • Edward S. Herman, professor emeritus of finance, Wharton School,University of Pennsylvania, an economist and media analyst with a focus on corporate and regulatory issues. (Friday, June 4, 6 p.m.)

  • Kathryn C. Montgomery, president and a co-founder of the Center for Media Education and author of Target: Prime Time (Oxford University Press 1989), the key work on the relationship between advocacy groups and network entertainment television. (Friday, June 4, 1 p.m.)

  • Richard Somerset-Ward, senior fellow, the Benton Foundation, and a consultant on digital broadcasting to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, who was the British Broadcasting Corporation's director in the United States during the latter part of his 21 years with the BBC. (Saturday, June 5, 10:30 a.m.)
"The demands of globalization have necessitated mergers, acquisitions and strategic alliances between media organizations and the technology industry, and we're seeing the results--network television and telephone companies acquiring cable stations, computer hardware companies developing digital communication hybrid devices, software companies becoming Internet providers," notes Gerbner.

"Will this convergence homogenize the new media marketplace and sterilize its content? Will it create a more interactive and empowering media environment, or is it all just an easier way to deliver customers to the marketplace?

"These are some of the questions the conference will address as we search to secure a future in which all citizens have equal access to information."

Gerbner anticipates that the conference will generate some concrete recommendations on how to achieve that goal and protect diversity, and will provide the business community with a better understanding of what the public wants and expects of the new media technology.


For more information or a complete conference schedule, you may visit the conference website:

Or contact:
Linda Greenwood, conference coordinator, by e-mail: or by telephone: 609-784-2382; or Harriet K. Goodheart, director of Temple's News Bureau, by e-mail:; or by telephone: 215-204-7476.

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