Review: Stephanie’s Essay

This is a review of Stephanie’s first Pub 101 essay. Stephanie writes at “Subdivide and Conquer” on topics from sleeping habits to just about anything that strikes her interest. In this essay, Stephanie discusses the shift from print to digital publishing, and it’s impacts on literacy.

Interpretation of assignment

This essay does have a focus on the shift of print to digital publishing, rather than literacy, something a lot of us accidentally fell into. There is a broad consensus that the assignment description could have been clearer in signaling that the goal was to focus more on literacy rather than publishing, because due to course material it is easy to misunderstand the assignment. Still, this is a good discussion of the evolution of publishing, and perhaps publishing (and more broadly content creation) could be argued to be a literacy enhanced by the print/digital shift.

Strength of argument

Stephanie begins her essay with a bit of history which concisely sets the stage for the essay ahead. In mentioning Johannes Gutenberg and Habermas’s Public Sphere readers are contextualized within the discourse of publishing and it’s relationship to civic engagement and a growing literacy trend. Following the print to digital shift, she then discusses the democratization of the means of production and distribution. Stephanie moves beyond a purely technological analysis of this shift, examining what these changes meant for citizen participation. These ideas flow with the mention of Habermas above, alluding to the re-creation of a public sphere through the digitized web 2.0. These are important points to make when discussing the shift, however there were a few times when sentence structure had the potential to confuse the reader. One more edit/set of eyes next time should solve this completely.

This essay could be strengthened with the inclusion of an introductory sentence that states the position you are going to argue.

Use of supporting references

Good use of sources from course material. Nadel and Kissane both wrote articles that stand out as highlights in this course’s reading list. By mentioning historical (McLuhan and Habermas) along with contemporary communications scholars, Stephanie gave depth to this essay and demonstrated a broad understanding of communication themes. This essay includes a good use of links and quotes which help provide the reader with context.

Concluding thoughts

Stephanie provides a thoughtful overview of the shift from print to digital publishing. She demonstrates a thorough understanding of the implications of the digital shift discussed in class, as well as an ability to relate these contemporary examples to established communication ideas.



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