Academic journal article Journalism History

Deregulating Telecommunications: U.S. and Canadian Telecommunications, 1840-1996

Academic journal article Journalism History

Deregulating Telecommunications: U.S. and Canadian Telecommunications, 1840-1996

Article excerpt

Wilson, Kevin G. Deregulating Telecommunications: U.S. and Canadian Telecommunications, 1840-1996. Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield, 2000. 309 pp. $24.95.

Journalism historians are, by their definition, concerned with the content of communication messages. It is part of the vibrancy of the discipline that its research concerns the expression of ideas and the practices of those individuals who shaped the messages disseminated through mass communication. An added benefit of the research has been that it has produced stories of great women and men-editors, reporters, and all kinds of pioneers-whose words and images influenced voters in every era of American history. Ours is a study of people and their voices.

With that in mind, it may be surprising to discover that a book concerned with government regulation, economic theories, and corporate strategy would be of importance to journalism historians. Yet Kevin G. Wilson's Deregulating Telecommunications: U.S. and Canadian Telecommunications, 1840-1997 is such a fascinating study of an extraordinary shift in the philosophy of message delivery that it belongs on the shelf of every scholar interested in how North American mass communication became what it is today. Though the shift was "improbable, according to Wilson, and though it took different forms in the United States and Canada, the reality is that the model of telecommunications technology in this continent has moved from a system of regulated message carriers to a converged industry in which the carrier also may provide the content.

The timeline would be extremely difficult to follow were it not for Wilson's helpful method of reminding the reader of where he or she is in the story. …

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