Jeff Jarvis: Beyond the Gutenberg Parenthesis

by Plutopia News Network
Photo of Jeff Jarvis by Robert Scoble

Journalist and educator Jeff Jarvis, who believes we have entered the post-print age of communication, joins Plutopians to discuss his book The Gutenberg Parenthesis: The Age of Print and Its Lessons for the Age of the Internet.

Jeff created and edited Entertainment Weekly and wrote about media for TV Guide, People Magazine, and The Guardian. He’s a blogger at He holds the Leonard Tow Chair in Journalism Innovation and directs the Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism at the City University of New York’s Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism. He cohosts a podcast, “This Week in Google,” and has written several books, including What Would Google Do and his latest, The Gutenberg Parenthesis.

Jeff Jarvis:

I think society was fundamentally conversational before print. That’s fairly obvious, that’s what we had. But even in the early days of print, Luther and the Pope held a conversation through their books and burnings of them. Erasmus and Thomas More wrote letters to each other for the purpose of including them in the books because that was part of the conversation. What ruined the conversation, I think, was the mechanization and industrialization and corporatization of print and its products, this idea that they were products for that matter, and people couldn’t fit into a conversation at that scale. And now my hope is that we rediscover the conversation. We’re bad at it. Society’s long out of practice with it. We’re doing an awful job of it. I’ll concede all of that. But I treasure all the voices that can now be heard that were always there that were not heard in mainstream mass media run by people who look like me: old white men.

Relevant links:

Photo by Robert Scoble. CC BY 2.0

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