Entity | Dallas Walker Smythe

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Dallas Walker Smythe (March 9, 1907 – September 6, 1992) was a political activist and researcher who contributed to a political economy of communications. He believed that research should be used to develop knowledge that could be applied to policies in support of public interest and the disenfranchised in the face of private capital. He focused his research on mass media and telecommunications. Some of his main ideas included the "invisible triangle" (broadcasters, advertisers and audience members), and the "audience commodity". Much of his effort was focused on differentiating between Administrative and Critical Communications research. Dallas Walker Smythe was born in 1907 in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada. His father ran a hardware store in Regina, and his mother was a nurse from Caledonia. His parents married in 1906. His father was a Presbyterian, and his mother followed the Church of England. Religion was important in his early childhood. The family didn't follow any particular church, but often read the passages in the New Testament that discussed the ethical principles of Christianity, which held ideas of primitive socialism. As a child, he almost died of the flu, and subsequently his family moved to Pasadena, California, in search of a healthier climate. Encouraged by his junior college economics teacher, Smythe wrote an essay for a national contest and won $100. This encouraged him to pursue economics and become a teacher. Smythe was shy in junior college and didn't date much. He eventually married Beatrice Bell, the first woman he fell in love with. After studying at the University of California, Los Angeles, in his third year of junior college, he finished his degree at the University of California, Berkeley, achieving his A.B. in Economics in 1928. Later that year, he entered the Ph.D. Economics program at Berkeley, where he undertook a seven-year thesis on the East San Francisco transit system.
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Born: 1907, Regina
Died: 1992, Langley

Alternate Names: Dallas W. Smythe
Occupation(s): sociologist, lecturer, economist
Associated Place(s): Canada, Urbana (Ill.)