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2004 World Technology Awards Winners & Finalists

Roger Fidler

Please describe the work that you are doing that you consider to be the most innovative and of the greatest likely long-term significance.

For more than two decades, I have pursued the development of digital alternatives to traditional ink-on-paper newspapers. My special talents come from the synergy of journalism, publication design and information technology knowledge as well as from an ability to visualize and articulate practical future media products and services.

Since 2000, Adobe Systems and the Los Angeles Times have sponsored my work at Kent State University to develop an interactive multimedia format for newspapers that would take full advantage of pen-based Tablet PCs, and the anticipated next-generation electronic paper devices now under development by E Ink Corporation, Philips Electronics, and other companies.

The Kent Electronic Newspaper Tablet (KENT) Format, which resulted from this initiative, blends the popular qualities of printed newspapers with the compelling interactive features of the Web in a reader- and advertising-friendly environment. I publicly demonstrated the format for the first time in New York City in 2002, at the first Tablet PC conference. The demonstrations included a complete, fully functional Los Angeles Times prototype and the first Digital Newsbooks.

Daily newspaper editions based on the KENT Format are still a work in progress. My current efforts focus on the development of XML-based tools that could be used to streamline the production process.

However, Digital Newsbooks, which I conceived in 2002, are now real products that can be accessed via the Web. They have provided newspapers with an innovative new vehicle for widely disseminating their enterprise series and other timely, in-depth stories in the visually rich, interactive KENT Format. Examples of Digital Newsbooks can be downloaded from the Institute for CyberInformation Web site at: www.ici.kent.edu/dnb1.htm.

Brief Biography

ROGER FIDLER is an information designer, educator, entrepreneur, author and journalist who is internationally recognized as a new media pioneer and visionary. Fidler worked in the newspaper industry for 34 years and has been on the leading edge of online and digital publishing development since the 1970s.

Prior to joining the Kent State University journalism faculty in 1996 as a professional in residence, he served as the first corporate Director of New Media for Knight Ridder, Inc., and headed the company’s Information Design Laboratory, which he established in 1992 to explore emerging online and electronic publishing opportunities for newspapers.

His career has included a number of other noteworthy firsts.

In 1979, he joined Knight Ridder’s videotex development team and served as the first Director of Design for the company’s pioneering consumer online service known as Viewtron, and as the first corporate Director of Design and Newsroom Technology.

In 1981, he accurately predicted, in an article written and illustrated for a special report published by the Associated Press Managing Editors Association, that by the beginning of the 21st century newspapers would be producing interactive digital editions that could be read on magazine-size portable electronic displays.

In 1983, he founded the first computer news graphics service (now Knight Ridder/Tribune Graphics), which he directed until 1988. He was one of the first to use Apple Lisa and Macintosh computers to create professional news graphics for publication.

In 1985, he founded the first global online service for the newspaper industry (PressLink) and served as its president until 1991. He was among the first to see the enormous potential of Apple Computer’s AppleLink communication software. After participating in the AppleLink field trials, he immediately negotiated a licensing agreement between Apple and Knight Ridder that allowed him to use the software under the PressLink name to provide newspapers with e-mail services and instant access to news graphics and other digital content worldwide.

In 1992, he created the first functional prototype of a database-driven digital newspaper designed for reading on computer screens while he was a Freedom Forum Media Studies Fellow at Columbia University (1991-92).

In 1999, the Freedom Forum Newseum honored Fidler as an electronic news pioneer and one of history’s “Most Intriguing Newspeople” in its book Crusaders, Scoundrels, Journalists (Eric Newton, ed., Times Books/Random House).

In 2000, he was named the first Director of Kent State University’s Institute for CyberInformation, which he headed until July 2004. Also in 2000, the university promoted him to full professor with tenure in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

In 2003, he was selected as one of four finalist for the World Technology Award in the Media and Journalism category and inducted as a Fellow in the World Technology Network.

In May 2004, he was named as the first Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Fellow. He will spend the 2004-05 academic year at the University of Missouri School of Journalism writing the second edition of his book, Mediamorphosis: Understanding New Media, and continuing to work with newspapers on the development of content and presentation standards for digital editions.

In addition to Mediamorphosis: Understanding New Media (Pine Forge Press, 1997), he is the author of numerous articles and book chapters. He also is a frequent speaker at conferences worldwide on topics relating to digital publishing and the future of print media.

MY WORK

For more than two decades, I have pursued the development of digital alternatives to traditional ink-on-paper newspapers. My special talents come from the synergy of journalism, publication design and information technology knowledge as well as from an ability to visualize and articulate practical future media products and services.

Since 2000, Adobe Systems and the Los Angeles Times have sponsored my work at Kent State University to develop an interactive multimedia format for newspapers that would take full advantage of pen-based Tablet PCs, and the anticipated next-generation electronic paper devices now under development by E Ink Corporation, Philips Electronics, and other companies.

The Kent Electronic Newspaper Tablet (KENT) Format, which resulted from this initiative, blends the popular qualities of printed newspapers with the compelling interactive features of the Web in a reader- and advertising-friendly environment. I publicly demonstrated the format for the first time in New York City in 2002, at the first Tablet PC conference. The demonstrations included a complete, fully functional Los Angeles Times prototype and the first Digital Newsbooks.

Daily newspaper editions based on the KENT Format are still a work in progress. My current efforts focus on the development of XML-based tools that could be used to streamline the production process.

However, Digital Newsbooks, which I conceived in 2002, are now real products that can be accessed via the Web. They have provided newspapers with an innovative new vehicle for widely disseminating their enterprise series and other timely, in-depth stories in the visually rich, interactive KENT Format. Examples of Digital Newsbooks can be downloaded from the Institute for CyberInformation Web site at: www.ici.kent.edu/dnb1.htm.