Sunday, March 3, 2013

Meet Mark Cenite

Mark Cenite (back row, right) tends to wear black when
he teaches. In 2010, his undergraduate students
held a "dress like Mark Cenite day."
Mark Cenite is a Senior Lecturer and the Assistant Chair of the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information at Singapore's Nanyang Technological University. A native of Mineral Point, Wisconsin, he graduated with a degree in Psychology from the University of Wisconsin in 1990. Subsequently, he earned a law degree from Stanford in 1996 and a Ph.D. in Mass Communication from the University of Minnesota in 2001. He has taught at Nanyang Technological University since 2001 with a brief interruption for two years of teaching at Hong Kong Baptist University.

Cenite is a prolific author and researcher, having authored or co-authored 11 articles, essays, or book chapters since 2009. In describing his research strategies, he writes: "with training as a lawyer and in the social sciences and the humanities, I take a multi-disciplinary approach to studying media law and ethics,"and he has rather wide-ranging research interests in topics related to mass media, the internet, and ethics. He has investigated topics like: the development of journalism ethics, blogging ethics, file sharing, online pornography, online commenting, media bias, and the ethics of informed consent in the Borat movies. He has also written several articles on perceptions and portrayals of homosexuality, particularly in regard to the acceptance of gays and lesbians in Singapore.

In a 2011 article in the New York Times, Cenite observed that the internet has helped to democratize politics, even in authoritarian regimes like Singapore. "Social media have lowered the barriers of entry into political discourse everywhere," he argued, "but that's particularly significant in Singapore because here the barriers to entry into political discourse and the accompanying risks have been so high." In an earlier interview, however, Cenite worried about "the excessive inward focus and self-indulgence of many bloggers." He encouraged internet authors to think beyond what he would later call "personal blogging:" "many blogs are 'me, me, me' - this is how I feel today and why," he said in 2006. "Unless you provide something that's different," he cautioned bloggers, "your blog will be lost in the sewage of the blogosphere."

Not surprisingly for a scholar with an interest in the internet and in mass communication, Cenite has a rather robust online presence. In addition to his homepage (linked above), he maintains profiles on a diverse group of social media sites, including: Facebook, LinkedIn Twitter, Youtube, Pinterest, Google Plus, Quora, Grooveshark, and Scribd.

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