Top Media Experts Visit Manhattan in June

From June 7-10, Manhattan College hosted the Media Ecology Association’s 13th annual convention, bringing together hundreds of media experts from around the world to present and discuss their latest findings in media culture.

Hundreds of members and guests of the Media Ecology Association (MEA) crossed paths at Manhattan College from June 7-10 to participate in the 13th annual MEA convention, and this year’s theme was fittingly The Crossroads of the Word. The convention allows members from the MEA organization to exchange information on the study, research, criticism and application of media ecology. Throughout the four days of the convention, presenters from around the world discussed their latest topics of research based on media culture today.

“The convention was one of the best the Media Ecology Association has ever held due to the four featured speakers we were able to attract and the ever-increasing internationality of our membership and convention participation,” said Thom Gencarelli, Ph.D., this year’s convention coordinator, chair of the communication department at Manhattan College and vice president of the MEA. “There was also something about celebrating the centenary of seminal media ecologists Father Walter J. Ong and Jacques Ellul that truly elevated our proceedings in a unique and special way.”

“The convention was one of the best the Media Ecology Association has ever held due to the four featured speakers we were able to attract and the ever-increasing internationality of our membership and convention participation”

Highlights of the convention include featured speaker Sherry Turkle, Ph.D., Abby Rockefeller Mauzé Professor of the Social Studies of Science and Technology at MIT, who presented her book Alone Together, and received the MEA’s Walter J. Ong Award for Career Achievement in Scholarship. In her discussion, Turkle defended the concept of solitude in the wake of increased connectivity through major advancements in technology.

Distinguished author and producer Douglas Rushkoff discussed Program or Be Programmed and won the MEA’s first Neil Postman Award for Career Achievement in Public Intellectual Activity. In his presentation, Rushkoff advocated the need for programming skills in a consumer-oriented digital world.

Terence P. Moran, Ph.D, renowned author and professor at New York University, examined the Foundations of Media Ecology: The New York School. Jaron Lanier, computer scientist, author, composer and visual artist, talked about the Steps Toward a Humanistic Information Economy. Lanier, who coined the phrase “virtual reality,” warned how the drive for efficiency counter intuitively leads to a shrinking economy.

“The 2012 MEA convention was a great success,” said Michael Grabowski, Ph.D., associate professor of communication. “More than 240 scholars from 25 countries converged on the Manhattan College campus for four days to share groundbreaking research on media environments, including the shifting forces that new media are bringing upon the human condition.”

Among the presenters were four recent Manhattan College communication graduates, who discussed their thesis research in the Media Ecology in Narrative Analysis student panel. The students and presentations included Ashley Choi and Stanley Kubrick: Photography and Cinema; Robert Colaianni and Narrative Structures as Branding Tools: A Content Analysis of Showtime and HBO; Amanda Ferrarotto and Re-sacralization in Post-9/11 Gothic Television, and Jason Kalmanowitz and Dario Argento: A Cinema of Attractions Filmmaker.

“It was an honor to speak about my thesis at the convention. It was nice to be recognized for such hard work,” noted recent graduate Robert Colianni ’12. “It was even better to be able to speak about the research in front of so many professors and industry professionals.” Colianni, who concentrated in broadcasting during his time at Manhattan, is currently a finalist in the NBC East Coast Page Program to begin in the fall.