I’m an Associate Professor of Media and Communication in the Department of Media, Journalism & Film at Miami University. I write and teach about the transformation of media and advertising systems in the digital age with an emphasis on the political economy of internet technologies and consumer surveillance.

My book, Profit Over Privacy: How Surveillance Advertising Conquered the Internet, is out now (Sept 2021) from University of Minnesota Press. The book gives data-driven advertising an origin story, looking closely at the political contests of the 1990s that laid the foundation for today’s surveillance advertising economy. (Click here to read the very important privacy policy for my book.) Read more about research here. I teach courses on advertising and media industries, media history and policy, and communications technologies.

Recently, I consulted on language for proposed legislation, the Banning Surveillance Advertising Act, introduced by Congresswomen Anna G. Eshoo (D-CA) and Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) and Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ). Here is my statement of support for the bill: “Surveillance advertising is a broken business model that incentivizes manipulation, enables discrimination, weakens privacy, and undermines a free and diverse media system. The Banning Surveillance Advertising Act is an important step toward resetting the internet economy to work for everyone, rather than the most powerful.”

I’m happy to talk with journalists and other folks about digital advertising and other issues related to internet business, media, advertising, and politics. See Media, Talks, & Consulting page for more info.

This site is a likely a bit out of date. Some (fairly) recent activities:

Writing

Selected Media and Talks:

Previously I taught at Queens College, City University of New York and in the New Media Studies program at DePaul University. Before that I was a Graduate College Fellow and a researcher with the Center for People and Infrastructures at the University of Illinois. And waaaay before that, I was a fellow at the Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities and a participant in the Annenberg-Oxford Summer Institute on Global Media Policy. I did my PhD at the Institute for Communications Research at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

Just a note about any ads you might see: WordPress, the host of this site, now runs ads on hosted sites unless users upgrade.

Another developing interest of mine is information visualization. Info viz can be great a teaching and research tool, blending aesthetics with the presentation and interpretation of data. Here is a word cloud visualization of my manuscript’s first chapter, weighted by frequency. It provides a quick impression of my points of emphasis. Scroll down for a few more infographics.

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This is a pseudo-cartogram illustrating the “realms of social media.” (Image by David Parkins for The Economist.)

tech firms world map infogrpahic

And an infographic about income distribution. (Image by Mother Jones. Data from Emmanuel Saez.)

And then there is this, from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration. Some infographics are more useful than others. (I still like this one though.)