Michael Edward Lenert

Attorney-at-Law and Professor

Website: commlex.com

Selected Publications

Are Free Expression and Fundamentalism
Two Colliding Principles?

In Hoover, S. & Kaneva, N. (Eds). Fundamentalisms and the Media, Continuum Press, London


This book chapter examines the heated dispute over the publication of the "Danish Cartoons" in the context of two potentially colliding principles: a religious (Islamic) fundamentalist insistence on observing certain standards of right and wrong, and an equally strong secularist (and Western) insistence on upholding unlimited freedom of expression. What are the potential limits to the right of freedom of expression in a multicultural context?

A social shaping perspective on the
development of the world
wide web: The case of iCraveTV

New Media & Society


This article uses the Social Shaping of Technology (SST)
framework to analyze the case of a Canadian internet
company called iCraveTV, which captured broadcast
television signals off the air and retransmitted them over
the internet. The example of iCraveTV directs attention to
questions about the interactions of domestic and
transnational forces in the shaping of internet and world
wide web technologies.

A Communication Theory Perspective on Telecommunication Policy

Journal of Communication


Discusses the liberalization and democratization of the Internet in relation its underlying technical, social, economic, and legal arrangements using the theory in James Carey's Communication as Culture (1989).

Macro-Ethics and the Journalistic Field:
A Critical Studies Perspective on Journalism Ethics

 International Association for Media and Communication Research conference at UNESCO


In her book, Buried by the Times: The Holocaust and America’s Most Important Newspaper (2005), journalism professor Laurel Leff exhaustively describes how the New York Times buried the story of the Holocaust. Leff argues that The New York Times consistently failed to put Holocaust news on the front page, to identify the victims as Jews, and to editorialize when appropriate. I propose in this essay to rethink the failure described in Leff's book from the framework of journalism ethics. In other words, assuming that Leff is correct about the Times' coverage of the Holocaust, what can be said about this failure from an ethics perspective? Was this "failure" of the New York Times a failure of professional ethics? And if yes, how are we to best understand the nature of this failure as well as anticipate or prevent similar lapses in the future?

The Internet as a Place for Community Action:  Preliminary Results from the Promise
Tahoe Website Trial.

American Communication Journal (ACJ) Vol 9, Issue 4, Winter 2007.


Abstract: Can an Internet-based social networking application link citizens, journalism and community action? For
this study, we developed a "Web 2.0" application called Promise Tahoe, designed to create a platform for community problem solving through collective action. The design of Promise aims to dissolve the barriers of traditional journalism and motivate members of the community to get involved. Although the application of Promise Tahoe was not fully tested during the study period, the research we did gather supports the idea that such a tool can be built and deployed within a community to provide
positive results.

Powerpoint Presentation to accompany the paper (click here), presented at Transforming Audiences, an international conference held on 6-7 September 2007, at the University of Westminster, London, UK.


The Queens Experience: Digital Storytelling

Queens College, City University of New York


The Queens Experience was an early attempt to use the Internet and "streaming media" for digital storytelling that empower citizens and inform communities. The results of this project were presented as a research paper: Using Webcasting and Personal Narrative as a Local Communications Medium. (Juried submission)., at Association of Internet Researchers, Maastricht, The Netherlands, 2003.

Mapping Social Entrepreneurship
and the Role of Charitable Foundations
in Electronic Media: 1946-1996

Report to the Ford Foundation, New York City


TThis 2003 report proposes a framework for understanding the role of charitable foundations in the area of electronic media policy. To develop such a framework, a historical analysis of foundation archives, legal, and regulatory texts was conducted. The principal argument presented in the report is that the most meaningful way of understanding foundation actions in this area is to see them as social entrepreneurial efforts.