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UIC News Tips
University of Illinois at Chicago Office of Public Affairs (MC 288)
601 S. Morgan St., Chicago, IL 60607-7113, (312) 996-3456, www.uic.edu/depts/paff

July 26, 2000 Contact: Margaret McCarthy, UIC, (312) 996-8279, mmm@uic.edu
  Lee Raine, director, Pew Internet & American Life Project
  (202) 557-3463; lrainie@pewinternet.org


Steve Jones, professor and head of communication at the University of Illinois at Chicago, has been named senior research fellow of the Pew Internet & American Life Project, an initiative of the Pew Research Center and funded by a grant from the Pew Charitable Trusts. The mission of the Pew Internet Project is to conduct objective, nonpartisan research on the social impact of the Internet.

"Steve Jones is one of the premiere researchers on the planet when it comes to assessing the impact the Internet is having on people's lives," said Harrison "Lee" Rainie, director of the Pew Internet Project and former managing editor of U.S. News & World Report. "From the day the project was created, Steve has given me invaluable advice about the most pressing issues to study and the best way to study them."

Jones will help create and analyze research projects that examine the Internet's impact on fundamental relationships at home and in the community, schools, churches, workplaces and civic life. Jones will also work with other academic researchers to bring to the center the latest in thinking regarding the Internet.

"The scope of the Pew Internet Project is precisely what is needed to help us determine the wide-scale impact the Internet has on society," said Jones. "We notice the strange, aberrant things about the Net: hacking, e-commerce, fortunes made and fortunes lost, romance and violence. But we know and notice little of the Internet's gradual movement into the patterns of everyday life and the initially slight, barely perceptible adjustment of daily habits, routines and thoughts it brings with it. Just as television or the telephone are a part of our everyday lives, and became so virtually without our noticing, so too the Internet is becoming part of our media landscape, our environment.

My goal is to help make visible those nearly invisible changes to our society, our relationships and our culture that are being brought about by our use of the Internet."

Jones is the founder of the Association of Internet Researchers (http://aoir.org), the first scholarly think tank devoted to Internet research with the goal of promoting scholarly, critical and ethical research into the cultural, political, economic and aesthetic aspects of the Internet.

"As founder of the Association of Internet Researchers, Steve will be a fine ambassador for this project to the academic community," said Rainie, adding that Jones will be the center's "resident futurist," pointing out Internet developments just over the horizon.

Jones' scholarly interests include the Internet and social change, its social and commercial uses, encryption, MP3 and popular music research, youth culture and communication, and the Internet and education/homeschooling.

Jones has been working with the Internet since 1979 when he co-authored educational materials on the PLATO system at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He received his Ph.D. in communication from the Institute for Communications Research there in 1987. He is the author of six books, including "Doing Internet Research," "CyberSociety" and "Virtual Culture." His latest book is "The Internet for Educators and Homeschoolers" (ETC Publications, Palm Springs, CA, 1999).

Jones co-edits New Media & Society, an international journal of research on new media, technology and culture, and edits "New Media Cultures," a series of books for Sage Publications. Jones was selected to participate in U.S. Department of Commerce efforts to review proposals for funding parts of the information highway. Additional information on Jones can be found at http://info.comm.uic.edu/jones

In January, the Pew Charitable Trusts funded the research center with a three-year grant and a mandate to explore the impact of the Internet on American society. The center is based in Washington, D.C. The grant is administered by the Tides Center, a nonprofit organization. The project's Web site is www.pewinternet.org

The Pew Charitable Trusts invest in ideas that fuel timely action and results. It is focusing a significant portion of its resources on supporting programs that stimulate participation in civic affairs. These include initiatives that foster a citizenry more engaged in local, regional and national public issues and that provide information resources for the media, the public and policymakers. For more information, visit www.pewtrusts.com

With 25,000 students, the University of Illinois at Chicago is the largest and most diverse university in the Chicago area. UIC is home to the largest medical school in the United States and is one of only 88 national Research I universities. Located just west of Chicago's Loop, UIC is a vital part of the educational, technological and cultural fabric of the area.

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