Editor’s Note: Earlier this year, S&R ran a five-part series on Lord John Reith, the iconic architect of modern broadcasting in the UK. The series, authored by the University of Colorado’s Dr. Michael Tracey, one of the world’s most distinguished media critics and analysts, explored the complex and controversial Reith, who managed to be at once a visionary, progressive champion of the common Englander and a difficult, even despicable individual in his personal life.
While these essays nominally address a history that’s decades old, the issues raised are startlingly contemporary, as here in the US the same kinds of battles are being waged across the same class lines today.
Some of our readers will perhaps appreciate the following, as this series has now been collected in one place and formatted for printing or download.
It is not difficult to find arguments about the problems facing public service broadcasting in the digital age, of how, over the past two decades, an institution which had previously been relatively stable has been buffeted by new technologies, new politics and new economics which taken together present an existential threat…