The Official Newsletter for the Media Ecology Association


September 2023

Heading into the Fall . . . 

As the MEA had towards its 25th anniversary in the next year we also look toward calls for future publications and conventions. 

This month's issue of the newsletter contains a special call for papers related to AI from the MEA's Explorations in Media Ecology Journal, calls for upcoming conferences, opportunities for student presentations, information about the nominees for the MEA Executive Board elections, and book reviews from MEA members. 

In this issue . . . 

  • Message from MEA President Mike Plugh on MEA's 25th Anniversary & 50th Anniversary of Neil Postman's Keynote
  • CfP: Explorations in Media Ecology Special Issue
  • CfP: 25th Annual Convention of the Media Ecology Association, June 6-8th, 2024, at Daemon University in Amherst, NY
  • CfP: Media Ecology Student Symposium: Enlarging the Field
  • CfP: 2024 Orality & Literacy Conference @ Geneva College
  • Candidates for MEA Board Elections
  • Book Review: Adeena Karasick's Aerotomania 
  • Follow MEA on Social Media
  • Invitation for Future Contributions

25th Anniversary of the MEA / 50th Anniversary of Neil Postman’s SCA Keynote

An important media ecology anniversary has recently passed, just as another is upon us. In 1973, Neil Postman delivered the keynote address at the Speech Communication Association, the foreparent of our contemporary National Communication Association. It was in this address that Postman introduced the broader academic community to the phrase “media ecology,” and offered a typically cheeky and sharp description of our field, and of the work being done to organize scholarship around the idea. I’m struck, first, by this remark, found early in the address:

Specifically, what I would like to do is tell you about the foolhardy, presumptuous, and exhilarating effort we are making at NYU to elaborate a new perspective for studying communication; one that might still make some sense twenty or thirty years from now.

As the doors were closing on the media ecology graduate program at NYU, the seeds were being planted for this organization, the MEA, to succeed and surpass its progenitor. Monday, September 4, 2023 marks the 25th anniversary of the founding of the MEA when five of Neil Postman’s former students — Susan B. Barnes, Thomas F. Gencarelli, Paul Levinson, Casey Man Kong Lum, and Lance Strate — gathered and ushered it into being, proving out Postman’s hopes for his “foolhardy, presumptuous, and exhilarating effort,” and well beyond the twenty or thirty years from the evening of his keynote. This past July marked the 50th anniversary of said remarks, and we’re very proud to recognize this landmark moment in our field’s history and our community’s intellectual line.

The full text of the address is hosted by the United States Department of Education, for your reading pleasure. The Media Ecology Association is very proud to host the audio files in .mp3 form, representing Parts I and II of the keynote, for your listening pleasure.

Although his books were translated into many languages, I can’t help but wonder what Postman would think about the dramatic international growth of our field. The Media Ecology Association is home to a robust group of scholars from a wide-range of countries and institutions around the globe, rapidly spreading beyond North America to great effect.

Finally, I’d like to point to a sentiment in his concluding remarks that points directly at the contributions of Postman’s students to the growth and success of the MEA. Postman outlines something of his take on education, saying:

Media ecology is a field of inquiry; and fields of knowledge imply the active pursuit of knowledge. Discoveries. Explorations. Errors. Uncertainty. Change. New Questions. New Terms. New Definitions. In short, media ecology is, itself, an open system, which, as I see it, should be the main characteristic of the curriculum of the future. A subject, on the other hand, is too often closed. It implies a well-ordered and stable content, a parceling out of information, an act of ventriloquizing someone else’s answers to someone else’s questions. But in media ecology, we offer students an environment, including a paradigm, that permits them to think and invent in ways that are too often closed to them in more settled disciplines or approaches. In a way, you might say that students in media ecology and other underworld enterprises will be the knowledge organizers of the future, no matter how tentative their scholarship must be today.

These sentiments live on in the ethos of the MEA, and I’d like to think that we’re operating as a sort of underworld enterprise of vibrant and engaged discoverers, explorers, error-makers, uncertainty-wranglers, change-agents, new question and term inventors, and more. It’s thanks to each of you that the MEA continues to embody this spirit. We hope you enjoy revisiting this landmark keynote address, especially if you’ve never listened to the audio files before.

With best regards,

Mike Plugh
President, Media Ecology Association
August 2023

Postman, Neil. “Media Ecology Education.” Explorations in Media Ecology, vol. 5, no. 1, Mar. 2006, pp. 5–14, 

 Explorations in Media Ecology

Editor-in-Chief: Peggy Cassidy

INVITED SPECIAL ISSUE in “Artificial Intelligence and Media Ecology”

Guest Editor:
Tiffany Petricini, Penn State Shenango

Call for Papers:

We welcome contributions for an Invited Special Issue on “Artificial Intelligence and Media Ecology” to be published in Explorations in Media Ecology

This special issue aims for paper submissions that discuss connections between media ecology and artificial intelligence. Coined by Mollick (2023), this new “AI Tide” is ripe for exploration in field of media ecology. AI has become a transformative force shaping the very fabric of our media landscape. As media technologies evolve, AI’s pervasive influence impacts content creation, distribution, consumption patterns, and the overall media ecosystem. Understanding the interplay between AI and media is crucial to grasp the implications for communication, culture, and society.

Walter Ong argued that artificial intelligence could never approach human intelligence, as intelligence is embedded in culture, persons, their bodies, and even silence. He wrote, “Despite all the work to achieve ‘artificial intelligence’ through the computer, the computer always lacks the living silence in which, as we have seen, human thought and language are embedded, it lacks the unconscious in which human thought and language are also embedded, and it lacks the biological substructures in which human thought and language are embedded” (Ong, 2018).

All disciplines have been impacted by the recent generative AIs that have entered the public sphere. Conferences throughout 2023 have seen discussions about AI, even our own at Fordham in June. Media ecologists have many valuable perspectives to contribute to this global conversation, and this special issue is welcoming media ecologists a space to explore AI.

Possible topics welcomed in this special issue include, but are not limited to:

  • AI and higher education
  • AI and culture
  • AI and language
  • Implications of media ecology on the development of AI
  • Media ecology and the global village
  • The digital divide and AI
  • Human consciousness and AI
  • Language and AI

Abstracts (300 words) and a short biographical note should be submitted by December 11, 2023 via email to Tiffany Petricini with the subject line “AI and Media Ecology.”

About the journal Explorations in Media Ecology

Explorations in Media Ecology, the journal of the Media Ecology Association, accepts submissions that extend our understanding of media (defined in the broadest possible terms), that apply media ecological approaches, and/or that advance media ecology as a field of inquiry. As a peer-reviewed interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary publication, EME welcomes contributions embracing diverse theoretical, philosophical and methodological approaches to the study of media and processes of mediation.

Important Dates

  • Abstract submission (300 words): December 11, 2023
  • Manuscript submission: January 11, 2024
  • Notifications: February 15, 2023
  • Final manuscript submission: March 31, 2024
  • Target publication date: June, 2024

Paper Submission Format

Contributors are asked to submit original papers between 4000-6000 words in the journal’s requested manuscript format. You can find more information about formatting on the publisher webpage:

Special Issue Guest Editor

Tiffany Petricini is an Assistant Teaching Professor in Communication at Penn State Shenango and Program Coordinator of the Penn State Western Corporate Communication Consortium. Her publications have reflected interests in phenomenology, interpersonal communication, technology, philosophy, ethics, and media ecology, including her work Friendship and Technology, available through Routledge. Tiffany has been an invited speaker on the international radio program “Spark” on CBC Radio One and the first external speaker to ever be invited to the SUNY Plattsburgh at the Ethics Institute. She also serves as the social media expert for NBC affiliate WFMJ 21 News.

Call for Papers

The 25th Annual Media Ecology Association Convention

June 6–9, 2024
Daemen University, Amherst, NY

“Cultivating Community: A Celebration of MEA’s 25th Anniversary”

THE MEDIA ECOLOGY ASSOCIATION (MEA) invites the submission of abstracts of papers and proposals for panels for presentation at its 25th Annual Convention, which will be held from June 6–9, 2024 at Daemen University in Amherst, New York. The deadline for submissions is February 1, 2024.

In recognition of the Media Ecology’s 25th anniversary and convention setting, the theme of the 2024 conference is community. The conference will take place on the Daemen University campus in Amherst, NY. Amherst is consistently ranked as one of the safest cities in America due to a community focus and investment in outlets for cultivating “relationally modern” young adults who are able to withstand and navigate intricacies of contemporary life in a digital landscape (Singer, 2014). The Daemen campus is just minutes from Buffalo, colloquially referred to as The City of Good Neighbors — a moniker evidenced by citizen responses to public tragedy and remarkable weather events.

Media ecology has roots in, borrows from, and advances notions pertinent to the intersection of community, democracy, culture, and the nature of cities. Many principal figures in the tradition of media ecology scholarship have worked closely in these areas, from Mumford’s attention to life in urban environments, to Carey’s concerns about democratic participation, as well as Gumpert and Drucker’s many talks and publications dealing with the intersection of said themes.

The annual meeting of the MEA provides an opportunity for our community of scholars, educators, professionals, artists, and practitioners to exchange experiences and ideas in a friendly environment. Participants at MEA conventions address a wide diversity of topics in our program. We encourage submissions that explore media ecological approaches from any number of different disciplines and fields of knowledge and social practice. We are interested in papers, thematic panels, roundtable discussion panels, creative projects, performance sessions, and other proposals of interest to media ecologists.

While we are open to explorations on any topic of interest to media ecologists, we also include a convention theme with the aim of generating further discussion and probes involving multiple perspectives. Submissions do not have to address the theme, but are invited to do so.

Guidelines for Submission

Please submit paper and panel proposals, in English, by February 1, 2024 to MEA2024@daemen.eduA maximum of two submissions per author will be accepted. Authors who wish to be considered for the Top Paper or Top Student Paper award must indicate this on their submission(s).

Submission Guidelines for paper and panel proposals:

  1. Include title(s), abstract(s) (maximum 250 words), and contact information for each participant.
  2. Outline, as relevant, how your paper or panel will fit with the convention theme.
  3. Authors with papers submitted as part of a panel proposal or as a paper proposal who wish to be considered for Top Paper or Top Student Paper (see our Awards page for more details) must send the completed manuscript (see guidelines below) to the convention planners before the convention.

Submission guidelines for manuscripts for authors who wish to be considered for the Top Paper or Top Student Paper award:

  1. Manuscripts should be 4,000–6,000 words (approximately 15 to 25 double-spaced pages)
  2. Include a cover page with your institutional affiliation and other contact information.
  3. Include an abstract (maximum 150 words).

Please stay tuned for more information. Questions? Contact us.



The Media Ecology Association is proud to announce our first student symposium, scheduled for Saturday, February 3rd, 2024, exclusively conducted online. This symposium is aimed at offering students of all levels an opportunity to present their media ecology scholarship as the centerpiece of an official organizational event. The symposium will feature panels of student work throughout the day, conducted via Zoom, and each panel will be assigned a respondent from the MEA Executive Board for constructive feedback aimed at celebrating and advancing scholarship in our field.

Participation is limited to undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate students, officially enrolled at institutions of higher learning. Attendance is open to the general public. Registration is free to all MEA members. Non-Members will be able to register for a fee of $10.


Please submit paper and panel proposals, in English, by October 31, 2023 to A maximum of two submissions per author will be accepted. Authors who wish their papers to be considered for the Top Paper award must indicate this on their submission(s).

Submission Guidelines for paper and panel proposals: Include title(s), abstract(s) (maximum 250 words), and contact information for each participant. Outline, as relevant, how your paper or panel will fit with the convention theme. Authors with papers submitted as part of a panel proposal or as a paper proposal that wish to be considered for Top Paper must send the completed paper to the convention planner by December 1, 2023.

Submission guidelines for manuscripts eligible for MEA award submissions: Manuscripts should be 4,000–6,000 words (approximately 15 to 25 double-spaced pages) Include a cover page with your institutional affiliation and other contact information. Include an abstract (maximum 150 words).

Please visit for more information about the Media Ecology Association, our annual convention, and our publication profile.


2024 Orality & Literacy Conference

April 4th-5th

Geneva College

Beaver Falls, PA

Geneva College welcomes submissions for a conference entitled: “Orality and Literacy in an Age of Social Media”

Deadline for Submission: Saturday, October 30, 2023, 11:59 p.m. EST Proposal Submissions: Attn. Sarah S. Speicher,

Walter J. Ong’s discussion in his influential books The Presence of the Word and Orality & Literacy invite us to ask, what are words and how do words work? Such basic questions, often taken for granted historically, technologically, and theologically, should instead prompt further inquiry. Ong’s contributions suggest we might find fruitful cues for thought by continuing to study modern means of communication. Ong’s reflections on oral patterns of thinking, transitions in writing and printing, and prescient insights regarding our social media technologies provoke stimulating questions worth considering. In this light, we call a conference entitled “Orality and Literacy in an Age of Social Media,” inviting convivial conversation around this question “How might people-like us interpret ‘In the beginning was the Word’ for our time?

Paper proposal submissions should be a 300-500 word abstract with a bibliography. Submissions should have all author identification (author name, university affiliation, etc.) removed. Abstracts can be submitted either as a Microsoft Word document or a PDF. Please email submissions to Sarah Speicher, at


Submit ALL papers/sessions/panels to INDICATE if you need any A/V equipment. Requests must be made at the time of the paper, session or panel submission and should be kept to essential equipment only, please.

If you have any questions, please contact the program planners for questions regarding the conference or submission at By mail at: Geneva College, 3200 College Ave, Beaver Falls, PA 15010, Or by phone at (724) 847-670

Statements from Candidates

Members are encouraged to review the statements from candidates for the MEA Executive Board for the coming year. Voting will take place in the first week of October.

For Vice President ElectLaura Trujillo Liñán

To the Esteemed Members of the Media Ecology Association,

I am honored to have been nominated for the Vice-Presidency of the Media Ecology Association and am eager to serve in this capacity. My engagement with the MEA started in 2012, and since then, I've been deeply involved in furthering the understanding of media's potential in society, with a particular emphasis on Marshall McLuhan’s causality. As a recipient of the MEA's prestigious Marshall McLuhan Award for my work, "Formal Cause in Marshall McLuhan’s Thinking: An Aristotelian Perspective," I hope to bring the same academic rigor and dedication to the position of Vice-President. 

In addition to my desire to serve the association in a leadership role, I propose that the Universidad Panamericana in Mexico City host the 2025 MEA convention. As the director of the Open University at Universidad Panamericana, I have overseen the growth and development of our online education platform, while also contributing significantly to the Humanities division. By hosting the convention in Mexico City, we aim to provide a vibrant platform for interdisciplinary engagement, encompassing fields like communication, pedagogy, philosophy, engineering, and medicine, fostering deeper interactions within our global academic community.


For Recording SecretaryJaqueline McLeod Rogers

I seek your support in my bid to return to the Board to contribute energy and ideas and foster growth well underway—and to offer a Canadian voice as part of our inclusive organization. I'm a former Board Member, long- time MEA affiliate, winner of 2 MEA awards (Lewis Mumford Award, 2021, and Walter Benjamin Award, 2022), and currently working on McLuhan-based and urban research to continue contributing to the field. As clear at our last conventions, we have a vibrant, diverse and brilliant membership whose projects address urgent questions about technology, communication, and culture --and the value of understanding these together and across other contexts. I want to support this work and our Association.     

For Newsletter EditorAustin Hestdalen

I am currently a tenure-track assistant professor in communication at Purdue University - Northwest and have served as newsletter editor since January 2023. I also currently serve as the managing editor for Explorations in Media Ecology, a peer-reviewed, scholarly journal published quarterly by the Media Ecology Association. I have worked in writing and editing positions publishing newsletters and press releases for nonprofits, such as The Forbes Funds in Pittsburgh, and community organizers in underserved urban areas. I welcome the opportunity to continue serving in this position.

Candidates for Officer at Large:

Bernadette Bowen

My name is Dr. Bernadette “bird” Bowen and I am interested in becoming a member-at-large on the Media Ecology Association executive board to serve as a critical media ecology representation and spread the word about our diverse approaches to the broad theories and practices of media ecology combined with a critical sensibility. I have done so since starting my PhD and over the last year have accrued a little over 30k followers doing so on TikTok, as well as over 2 million views on the critical media ecologist hashtag on the platform.

Tiffany Gilliam

Lifelong artist and media ecologist with MA, Communication and BS, Mass Communication/Public Relations degrees that is currently pursuing a PhD with Duquesne's Communication and Rhetorical Studies department. Thrilled to offer an actionable blend of academic rigor and creative prowess in an effort to contribute to the Media Ecology Association's already bright future. Everything is communication - Let's grow together!

Media Ecology Booknotes

Ærotomania: The Book of Lumenations by Adeena Karasick

Adeena Karasick’s Ærotomania: The Book of Lumenations poetically explores the machine through various pieces that play with the form of what a poem traditionally entails. Karasick is unafraid of exploring and surpassing the boundaries of poetic form, incorporating images and shape work into the gestalt of her book, ultimately influencing one’s experience with the text and engaging the entire sensorium.

Playing on the Hebrew Book of Lamentations, Eicha, Karasick begins the Book of Lumenations with several Eicha’s of her own, exploring the epiphanies one has in various moments of turmoil. Like much of the art that has emerged in the 2020s, Karasick’s commentary extends from the city to the pandemic in this section as she explores how pain can illuminate our deepest yearnings and insights of life itself. Of particular note is an ode to Clorox imposed in her “Talmudy Blues II” where she expresses we are all “crying out between Clorox and a hard place” (30) while we try to navigate a world that is “operating within a zombie economy—and is complicit in its own undoing” (29). The Clorox section is superimposed over an image of Covid germs, making clear connection between the aching despair captured in the poetry surrounding general discord and strife and the actual discord we all experienced throughout the pandemic and beyond.

“Ærotomania” is the star of the media ecological show, where Karasick begins with a quote from Marshall McLuhan: “The Airplane is an extension of the entire body” (47). This quote primes the reader to consider the airplane and air travel as an embodied space that imposes certain behaviors for those involved. Each section utilizes the entire page as a space for art, juxtaposing erotic-adjacent imagery with a play on typical air travel phrases. For instance, on page 48, we see a mirror image of a man leaning against an airplane, the plane in a phallic position, a flight attendant giving a coy look while blowing into the inflatable life vest, and the words “Fasten your strap & prepare for takeoff” in large, bolded lettering. The gestalt of this page has us considering the body of an aircraft as our own bodies, setting the stage for Karasick’s thesis of the plane as an “erotic theater” (49).

Karasick states that “We are the letters travelling through space” (50), highlighting the idea that when it comes to airspace, we are the content of the medium, painting our experience as it is shaped by the language of the airplane. In the interspace of air travel, we are temporarily bonded via the experience, trapped together despite our differences. The seating formation “h[olds us] together in radical dissimilarity, irreducibly bonded in [our] [dis]union” (53), each of us in an assigned letter and number space, imposing conversational bounds based upon who we are united with during this time. We are letters that together form words and shape the flying experience, imbuing meaning via our forced formation.  

I would argue that the poems in Karasick’s collection are media ecological explorations in two major ways: first, the content of the poetry touches upon various media such as the city, the airplane, etc. as embodied essences that permeate our existence in the world. Karasick also takes time to call upon various media ecology juggernauts such as Marshall McLuhan, Harold Innis, and Jacques Ellul directly in her work, encouraging the reader to consider their particular contributions surrounding how media shapes us in relation to her work. Second, Karasick is not afraid to play with form in her poetry and, in a very E.E. Cummings way, utilizes shape and distortion to allow the medium of poetry itself influence the stories she tells through her art. Her poetry style in and of itself is a media ecological act that changes how the reader experiences her words that text alone could not accomplish. Through her exploration, one is compelled to consider how our various containers influence the meaning of our daily lives: does my office space, my cubicle, my neighborhood rearrange the lettering of my life? Karasick reminds us through her poetry that our surroundings matter: they shape our emotions, our actions, and our understanding of the world around us. May we all be careful in choosing the language for our letters.

About the Reviewer: Dr. Kati Sudnick has a professor of Integrated Marketing Communication at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and uses media ecological approaches to better understand the impact of social media on advertising and public relations practice in the age of the Influencer.

Dr. Sudnick is the recipient of the Richard H. Thames Excellence in Teaching Award in 2019 as well as the Top Graduate Paper Award for the National Communication Association's Human Communication and Technology Division in 2018 for a piece on empathy in social media.

Stay in Touch w/ the MEA via on Social Media and Email!

Historically, the MEA’s email discussion list has provided online conversation for members and friends of the Media Ecology Association. Subscribers use the list to share views, exchange information, and learn about interesting events related to media ecology. And don't forget to follow MEA on Facebook and X (formerly Twitter)

Subscribe Today!

Are you interested in media ecology and have some questions about it? Are you working on a study related to media ecology and searching for advice? Are you an instructor looking for a media ecology expert to invite as a virtual guest speaker to one of your classes?

Get in touch with us! We are happy to schedule a “virtual coffee” appointment with you. Simply fill out the form below to set up a short call or virtual meeting with a scholar from the MEA.

The format is open to all. We especially encourage students and early-career scholars interested in media ecology to get in touch with us.

Do you have a background in media ecology and would like to volunteer for virtual coffee meetings with those looking to learn more about it? Send an email to Julia M. Hildebrand.

Arrange a Virtual Coffee appointment on our website. 

Book Reviewers Wanted!

Have you read a good book with connections to Media Ecology?  Please consider submitting a review for publication in Explorations in Media Ecology.  Are you reading a new book for use in an upcoming class?  Please consider submitting a review and helping out other scholars looking for new texts.  Do you just like writing book reviews? Consider writing one for EME!!  :)  Contact for more information and to get a format template.  Reviews should be between 1000 and 2000 words.

Back Issues of EME

Pedagogy Sections Include Online Teaching

Access all back issues of Explorations in Media Ecology in the Members Area on the MEA website. These back issues include pedagogy sections that contain information about teaching, including teaching online.

MEA Membership Renewal Reminder

It is not too late to renew your membership by paying your dues.  Please log into the website at, and then log in using your email ID and password and follow the directions. You may pay online via PayPal or pay by check made payable to the Media Ecology Association and mailed to our treasurer, Paul Soukup, S.J., at the Communication Department; Santa Clara University; 500 El Camino Real; Santa Clara, CA  95053 USA. For those outside the U.S., you may also pay by Western Union money order sent to  If you wish to change your membership, please drop Paul Soukup a note. 

*Please note: The Media Ecology Association Executive Board decided that the newsletter will be available online to all interested readers. However, only members can be featured in the newsletter itself. If you are a MEA member, please fill out this form (include a call to submit material+ link). 

Message from the Editor: A Year in Rear-View

Austin Hestdalen, Duquesne University

I invite members to submit content in any of the below areas of interest listed for publication in our monthly newsletter. 

  • Media Ecology - Booknotes: A segment originally appearing in the first few issues of In Media ResBooknotes offers membership the opportunity to contribute short reviews of books that are either directly or tangentially related to the study of media ecology and offer the potential for reconsidering important aspects of media ecological study.
  • Media Ecology - Scholarship In Brief: The scholarship in brief segment appeared in the earliest issues of the newsletter and offered frameworks for revisiting what might be described as the foundational texts of media ecology. This segment offers membership the opportunity to discuss both old and new interpretations of 'canonical' works in media ecology. 
  • Media Ecology at Work: An older segment in which members have the chance to parse the professional and practical implications of media ecology in their daily lives. Contributions take an almost essayistic format in which membership contemplate how media ecology might inform everyday activities of work, play, and anything in between. 
  • Media Ecology and the Arts: This segment focuses on ever-emerging considerations of media in music, and the visual, literary, performance, and plastic arts. Contributions contemplate media and the artistic counter-environments that allow us to negotiate media constraints.
  • Cornering Media Ecology: A new segment that invites media ecologists to offer critical understandings of media and the competing ecologies they generate in human communication. Contributions can include anything from critical reinterpretations of media ecological texts to those that parse the implications of the media ecological approach in a variety of contexts. 
  • General Letters to the Editor: This segment invites membership to share thoughts both on the newsletter and the MEA as whole and is open to any form discussion and critique. Contributions are encouraged to offer insights into how the newsletter and association might extend the study of media ecology in ways that reflect the interests of the membership. 

Contributions to any of the above segments should be submitted to the newsletter editor, Austin Hestdalen (

Please be sure to include the name of segment for which you are submitting in the subject line.

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