Prospect magazine named Henry Jenkins, Provost’s Professor of Communication, Journalism and Cinematic Arts, No. 3 on its list of top 10 “brains” of the digital future.
Joining Jenkins in the top three were Tim Berners-Lee, credited with inventing the World Wide Web, and Susan Crawford, who was President Barack Obama’s special assistant for science, technology and innovation policy until December 2009.
“How are digital media affecting what constitutes ‘culture’ — and what should it mean to educate the citizens of a digital world? Henry Jenkins is perhaps the world’s most influential and radical scholar addressing these questions,” the magazine stated.
The article outlined his early career exploring how the relationship between readers and texts was transformed by new media and fan culture.
“Through books such as Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide, he has become one of the definitive chroniclers of online culture in all its frantic complexity,” the article stated. “Jenkins is also the principal investigator for Project New Media Literacies, a group developing new educational methods for teaching engagement with contemporary media; while his work with the Convergence Culture Consortium is devoted to building links between academic researchers and the media industry in order to help the rethinking of consumer relations.”
Jenkins joined the USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he was the Peter de Florez Professor in the Humanities. He directed MIT’s comparative media studies graduate degree program from 1993-2009, setting an innovative research agenda during a time of fundamental change in communication, journalism and entertainment.
As one of the first media scholars to chart the changing role of the audience in an environment of increasingly pervasive digital content, Jenkins has been at the forefront of understanding the effects of participatory media on society, politics and culture. His research gives insights to the success of social-networking Web sites, networked computer games, online fan communities and other advocacy organizations.