This post was written by Dr. Valerie V. Peterson, Professor of Communication Studies at Grand Valley State University.
Ten years ago, cameras were just becoming “standard” in smartphones. Today, digital devices are everywhere, and in many places fully naturalized. Digital devices have enabled and disabled political uprisings and carved new pathways to wealth and domination. They have also transformed family, friendship, education, sexuality, and pretty much all other aspects of everyday life. These extensions of our selves have changed consciousness via myriad applications (apps). Where will we go next?
Faculty Members Corey Anton and Valerie V. Peterson participated on the panel “Surviving (and Thriving) in Today’s Digital Environment: Looking Back and Looking Ahead.” The panel was sponsored by the Media Ecology Association at the 105th Annual Convention of the National Communication Association (NCA) in Baltimore Maryland, November 14-17. The questions posed to panelists were: Where did you think digital media would go ten years ago and what is the digital environment today?
Panelists shared their own ideas and the ideas of other authors to help think through changes in the media environment and today’s digital situation. Authors mentioned included Evgeny Morozov, Cathy O’Neil, Jaron Lanier, Neil Postman, Marshall McLuhan, Lewis Mumford, Walter Ong, Jaques Ellul and more.
Below are descriptions of the MEA panelists. The descriptions are drawn from popular websites. Links to contact information are also included – for the purposes of networking and continued media ecological studies.
These scholars are friendly and knowledgeable teacher/scholars, willing to share their enthusiasms and expertise. Consider contacting them if their interests align with your own.
Panelists are described in the order they appear in the photo (from left to right): Susan Drucker – Hofstra University; Thomas F. Gencarelli, Manhattan College; Valerie V. Peterson, Grand Valley State University; Lance Strate, Fordham University; Corey Anton, Grand Valley University; Stephanie Gibson, University of Balitmore; and Michael Plugh, Manhattan College. Not in the picture but also on the panel was Paul Soukup S. J., Santa Clara University.
- Professor Susan Drucker is coordinator of the media studies program in the Department of Journalism/ Mass Media Studies at Hofstra University. She is also an attorney, a prolific author, and past president and legal counsel for the Eastern Communication Association and New York State Communication Association. Her latest work is a documentary film: “Memories in Cypriot Soil: The British Detention of Jews in Cyprus from 1946-1949.
- Professor Thomas Gencarelli teaches and is a former chair in Manhattan College’s Communication program. He has served as president of the Media Ecology Association, the New York State Communication Association, and the New Jersey Communication Association. Professor Gencarelli is also current editor of the Institute of General Semantics’ periodical journal, ETC.: A Review of General Semantics. His scholarship includes Baby Boomers and Popular Culture: An Inquiry into America’s Most Powerful Generation (co-authored with Brian Cogan. Santa Barbara: Praeger, 2014).
- Professor Valerie V. Peterson teaches in the Communication Studies Major in the School of Communications at Grand Valley State University. She is past Managing Editor of Explorations in Media Ecology and co-planned the 2013 Media Ecology Association Convention at Grand Valley State University. She is author of Sex, Ethics, and Communication: A Humanistic Approach to Conversations on Intimacy, 2nd ed. (Cognella, 2013), and has written scholarly essays on topics including visual rhetoric, literacy, rhetorical theory, rhetorical criticism, interdisciplinarity, and classical rhetoric.
- Professor Lance Strate is one of the founders of the Media Ecology Association, a former editor of its scholarly journal Explorations in Media Ecology, and the association’s first president. He teaches communication and media studies at Fordham University is an intellectual resource for both media scholars and popular news outlets. He has written numerous books and articles, and in 2015 was the Margaret E. and Paul F. Harron Endowed Chair in Communication at Villanova University.
- Professor Corey Anton teaches in the Communication Studies Major in the School of Communications at Grand Valley State University. He is a former president of the Media Ecology Association, a former editor of its journal, a fellow of the International Communicology Institute, and vice president of the Institute of General Semantics. He is author of three books and editor of three more including Taking Up McLuhan’s Cause (with Lance Strate and Robert K. Logan, 2017).
- Professor Stephanie Gibson is chair of the Klein Family School of Communications Design at the University of Baltimore. Her interests range from TV studies to baseball to cyberculture. Her co-edited book Communication and Cyberspace: Social Interaction in an Electronic Environment is it its second edition. She was awarded her university’s distinguished chair for service for her activism to abolish the death penalty.
- Professor Michael Plugh is an assistant professor of Communication at Manhattan College in New York City. His research involves issues of technology and socio-cultural change. He has been conference planner for the MEA, the New York State Communication Association, and the New York Society for General Semantics, and in administrative roles he has been entrusted with budgets reaching into the millions. Professor Plugh also researches Japanese culture and spends part of every year in Japan teaching and conducting research.
- Professor Paul Soukup, S.J., teaches at Santa Clara University in California. He publishes in the areas of theology, media and communication, often via the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the American Bible Society. He and Thomas J. Farrell edited four volumes of the collected works of Walter J. Ong, S.J., Faith and Contexts (1992-1999) showing how orality-literacy studies can contribute to an understanding of theological expression. A recent publication is an edited collection of essays: Of Ong & Media Ecology: Essays in Communication, Composition, and Literary Studies (2012). Fr. Soukup currently serves on the Board of Trustees of the American Bible Society and recently served on the Board of Trustees at Loyola University of New Orleans.