Friday, April 5, 2013

Author Profile: Joseph Turow

Turow is the Robert Lewis Shayon Professor of Communication at the Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania. He received his B.A. in English at University of Pennsylvania in 1971, and obtained his M.A. and Ph.D. degree in Communication at the same university in 1973 and 1976. After his graduation, he first taught in Purdue University, where he earned his tenure later in 1981. Turow moved back to University of Pennsylvania in 1986, and became a full professor in 1990. He also received the Distinguished Scholar Award, National Communication Association, in 2010. 

As an academia, Turow’s research interests focus on digital cultural industries, especially on the intersection of the Internet, marketing, and society. Turow has a long-list of publications, including both books and journal articles. The book titled “Niche envy: Marketing Discrimination in the Digital Age” (Amazon book, Library catalog) where our reading comes from was published in 2006 by the MIT Press, and it has been cited by 104, according to Google Scholar’s results. In this book, Turow studies the development of database marketing and examines its impact on civic life. Turow’s most-cited book (cited by 389) “Breaking up America: Advertisers and the new media world” (published in 1998 by the University of Chicago Press) (Amazon book, Library catalog) investigated the changes of marketing strategies since the mid-1970s. Another book on the advertising industry is “The Daily You: How the New Advertising Industry is Defining Your Identity and Your Worth” (Amazon book, Library catalog), published in 2012, where Turow examines the online advertising industry, explains how they collect users’ data for marketing, and then raises the questions about users’ rights to control the individual data.  

Besides the books on advertising industry, Turow also published some other books on new media in general, including an introductory book for students majored in mass communication “Media Today: An Introduction to Mass Communication” (Amazon book). This book was first published in 1999, and its 5th edition will be published in the winter of 2013. The companion website for this book can be found at here.  It provides abundant resources for both instructors and students that use this book for their class, including some video clips on a certain topic and quizzes.     

Furthermore, Turow frequently appears in mass media. There is a 40-minute NPR interview in 2012, where Turow, based on his book “The Daily You”, talked about how the advertisers used social media tools, such as YouTube and Facebook, to track users’ online behaviors and send ads to them.  

You can find more information about Turow’s publications in his CV.

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