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Kathryn Montgomery

School of Communication

  • Kathryn Montgomery is a full-time professor and Director of the Communication Studies Division. She is also founding Director of AU’s 3-year PhD program in Communication. Throughout her career, Dr. Montgomery has written and published extensively about the role of media in society, addressing a variety of topics, including: the politics of entertainment television; youth engagement with digital media; and contemporary advertising and marketing practices. In addition to numerous journal articles, chapters, and reports, she is author of two books: Target: Prime Time – Advocacy Groups and the Struggle over Entertainment Television (Oxford University Press, 1989); and Generation Digital: Politics, Commerce, and Childhood in the Age of the Internet (MIT Press, 2007). Before moving to Washington, D.C. in 1990, she taught television and media at the University of California, Los Angeles and California State University, Los Angeles. Throughout her career, Montgomery's research, writing, and testimony have helped frame the national public policy debate on a range of critical media issues. From 1991-2003, she was co-founder and President of the nonprofit Center for Media Education, where she spearheaded a national campaign that led to passage of the 1998 Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), the first federal legislation to protect children's privacy on the Internet. She received her PhD in 1979 from the University of California, Los Angeles.

  • SOC - School of Communication
  • Mary Graydon - 330L
  • Monday - 1:15 - 2:15 pm, Wednesday - 1:30 - 5:00 pm or by appointment

  • (202) 885-2680
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  • To request an interview for a
    news story, call AU Communications
    at 202-885-5950 or submit a request.


  • Summer 2014

AU Expert

Area of Expertise: Children and media, media policy, media criticism, Internet and youth, media literacy, entertainment media, media and politics, digital marketing, food marketing and health

Additional Information: Kathryn C. Montgomery is a well-known media scholar and leading public policy advocate. Her recent book, Generation Digital: Politics, Commerce, and Childhood in the Age of the Internet (MIT Press, 2007), explores the myriad ways that young people are engaged with digital media—from instant messaging to cell phones to Facebook and YouTube—and the profound influence these technologies have in their daily lives. The book also addresses a range of key public policy debates about children and media, documenting several major disputes during the 1990s and offering analysis of critical issues such as Internet pornography, television violence, and commercialization. Montgomery’s 2004 report, "Youth as E-Citizens," was the first major study to examine the ways in which young people use the Internet for civic and political engagement. She is conducting research on interactive food and beverage marketing, examining the variety of ways used by companies, the Internet, mobile phones, video games, and other digital technologies to target children and adolescents. (Reports are available at digitalads.org.) Before her move to Washington, D.C., Montgomery was a professor of film and television at UCLA. Her book Target: Prime Time: Advocacy Groups and the Struggle Over Entertainment Television (Oxford University Press, 1989) was a groundbreaking history of the relationship between interest groups and network television. In 1991, she co-founded the Center for Media Education (CME). As president of CME, a role she held until 2003, Montgomery played a lead role in promoting media policies to benefit children and youth. Montgomery's research and policy efforts in e-commerce and electronic privacy led Congress to pass the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) in 1998. She continues to participate in public policy proceedings in Washington, D.C., including giving testimony before Congress and at the Federal Trade Commission.

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