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Journalism and Electronic Media Professor Ben Bates Dies at Sixty-four

Ben BatesBen Bates, professor emeritus in CCI's School of Journalism & Electronic Media (JEM), died on Thursday, November 1, 2018 in Santa Barbara, California surrounded by his family.  

“Ben Bates was a brilliant scholar and a wonderful colleague,” said CCI Dean Mike Wirth. “He will be greatly missed but long remembered for his many contributions to the School of Journalism and Electronic Media, CCI, UT and the academy! We are also deeply grateful to Ben for creating the Ben Bates Graduate Student Endowment through a $750,000 legacy gift to support CCI graduate student research and travel in perpetuity. His gift serves as a lasting reminder of his love of and commitment to graduate education.”

“Ben left us too soon,” said JEM Director and Professor Catherine Luther. “He had so much more to offer to academia. Ben was a consummate scholar who invested so much time and effort in his graduate students, many of whom have gone on to have successful careers. As a former colleague and friend, he will be deeply missed by me and the rest of the journalism and electronic media faculty.”

Benjamin J. Bates

(January 24, 1954 – November 1, 2018)

Dr. Benjamin J. Bates was an internationally known professor in the School of Journalism and Electronic Media at The University of Tennessee, Knoxville where he served with distinction for 22 years from 1994 until his retirement in 2016 when he became a professor emeritus.

His scholarship focused on the interrelationship of media systems and society and the role played by policy in shaping their development. He taught courses in media and information economics & industries, policy, and new technologies, as well as communication theory and research.

His research examined the economics of broadcast policy, traditional media and the Internet, the development of new media world-wide, and communication and information policy issues affecting that development. His most recent work focused on broadcasting & new media, particularly the Internet & World Wide Web, and information economics and policy, particularly copyright.

His ground breaking work led to appointments as an Adjunct Professor in the UT School of Information Science, as well as the Sir David Beattie/Ericsson Professorial Research Fellowship at Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand.

He previously taught at the University of Salzburg (on faculty exchange) and the Universities of Helsinki and Tampere in Finland (as a Fulbright Senior Scholar), and he served as a faculty member at Texas Tech University (where he also served as Director of the Institute for Communication Research), the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Michigan State University, the University of California at Santa Barbara, and Rutgers University. He also worked for a broadcast management consulting firm and held positions at several college radio stations.

His publications are in the Journal of Media Economics, The Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, Journalism Quarterly, Public Opinion Quarterly, The Communication Yearbook, and Information and Behavior book series, The Hong Kong Economic Journal, and Telecommunications Policy. He also wrote many chapters that appeared in scholarly books on the economics of information and media, and the development of telecommunication systems. He served on the editorial board of the Journal of Media Economics (where he was a founding member of the editorial board), JMM ­- the International Journal of Media Management, and Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly as well as reviewing regularly for a range of other journals and academic publishers. He was an active member of AEJMC (where he was past head of the Communication Technology & Policy division), ICA, MAPOR, and BEA (where he was past head of the Research Division), and helped to found the Association of Internet Researchers (where he served as its first Treasurer).

He wrote and maintained the “Media Business & the Future of Journalism” blog for many years. The blog was recognized by the International Journal of Media Management as one of the top blogs in the field.

He received a BA in Economics and Mathematics from Pomona College, Master’s degrees in Statistics from the University of Wisconsin, Madison and in Communication from the University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point and a PhD in Communication from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.