Elliot King, Ph.D., a professor of communication at Loyola University Maryland, has recently published Free for All: The Internet’s Transformation of Journalism. The book provides the first comprehensive account of the origins, challenges, triumphs, failures and impact of online journalism.
“The book is really a dual history of how online journalism has evolved with the emergence of the computer as the third great communications platform,” said King, who has been with Loyola since 1992 and who teaches courses in media, culture and society, reporting on urban affairs, free speech and expression, and communications ethics. “One goal of the book is to let everybody take a deep breath and put the changes underway in journalism today into a broader context.”
King is uniquely suited to tackle this topic. After earning a master’s degree at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, King found himself covering technology. In 1984, he was offered a free e-mail account through the Computer Press Association—which he didn’t use for four years, until an editor offered him a $25 bonus if he filed his story electronically. An enduring fascination with technology’s relationship with the media began. After receiving a Ph.D. in media sociology from the University of California, San Diego, with a dissertation that looked at 19th century journalism, he established a digital media lab at Loyola in the mid-1990s and built Web sites for the Gordon Publications Division of Cahners Publishing, a major business-to-business publisher, as well as Business Publishers Inc. and Turner Home Entertainment. He organized his first online conference in 1991.
Published by Northwestern University Press, Free for All opens with a look at the impact of technology over time and ends with Twitter. It explores technology’s impact on the practice and social role of journalism from the pamphleteers of the 1600s to bloggers today.
“I’ve always been a student of journalism’s history,” said King. “The difference is, my history extends 10 years into the future.”
Free for All is available through major online booksellers. For more information on the book or King, visit www.joyofjournalism.com.
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