Josh Heuman, an instructional assistant professor in the Department of Communication at Texas A&M University, is focusing his research on media writers as a small part of the large, ongoing history of media ownership.

Cinema Journal, sponsored by the Society for Cinema and Media Studies, recently published Heuman’s article, “‘Independence,’ Industrial Authorship, and Professional Entrepreneurship: Representing and Reorganizing Television Writing in the FCC Media Ownership Reviews.”

Currently, Heuman is conducting research about writers’ contracts with networks, specifically how much control networks have over writers’ economic and creative careers. 

“The kind of research I do tries to imagine or set esteem for equitable employment relations between writers/producers and networks,” Heuman said. 

Heuman wants to see beneficial change for television writers.  Findings in his research highlight how studios and networks have strong control over their writers from their creativity to economics and the writers’ struggle for media ownership rights.

“In the 1970s there were FCC rules in place to protect writers, but by the 1990s, these rules were no longer in effect. The FCC and justice system are now reluctant to intervene,” Heuman said. “I think when we talk about authorship in communication industries, we use languages of art. The economic and even institutional side of authorship is an artistic phenomenon.” 

In the fall semester, Heuman will be teaching Media Theory and Cultural History of Media.