Joseph Turow, Ph.D.

Portrait of Joseph Turow
Robert Lewis Shayon Professor of Media Systems & Industries

Joseph Turow is Robert Lewis Shayon Professor of Media Systems & Industries at the Annenberg School for Communication. Turow is an elected Fellow of the International Communication Association and was presented with a Distinguished Scholar Award by the National Communication Association. A 2005 New York Times Magazine article referred to Turow as “probably the reigning academic expert on media fragmentation.” In 2010, the New York Times called him "the ranking wise man on some thorny new-media and marketing topics." In 2012, the TRUSTe internet privacy-management organization designated him a "privacy pioneer" for his research and writing on marketing and digital-privacy.

He has authored twelve books, edited five, and written more than 160 articles on mass media industries. His most recent books are The Voice Catchers: How Marketers Listen In to Exploit Your Emotions, Your Privacy, and Your Wallet (Yale, forthcoming early 2021), Media Today: Mass Communication in a Converging World (Routledge, 2020), and The Aisles Have Eyes: How Retailers Track Your Shopping, Strip Your Privacy, and Define Your Power (Yale, 2017). In 2011 Yale University Press published his book The Daily You: How the New Advertising Industry is Defining Your Identity and Your World; a Turkish edition came out in 2015). In 2010 the University of Michigan Press published Playing Doctor: Television, Storytelling, and Medical Power, a history of prime time TV and the sociopolitics of medicine, and in 2013 it won the McGovern Health Communication Award from the University Of Texas College of Communication. Other books reflecting current interests are Niche Envy: Marketing Discrimination in the Digital Age (MIT Press, 2006), Breaking Up America: Advertisers and the New Media World (University of Chicago Press, 1997; paperback, 1999; Chinese edition 2004); and The Hyperlinked Society: Questioning Connections in the Digital Age (edited with Lokman Tsui, University of Michigan Press, 2008).

Turow’s continuing national surveys of the American public on issues relating to marketing, new media, and society have received a great deal of attention in the popular press, as well as in the research community. He has been interviewed widely about his research, including by NPR's Fresh Air with Terry Gross, the Atlantic, the BBC, CBS News, and elsewhere. He has also written about media and advertising for the popular press, including The New York TimesThe Atlantic, American Demographics magazine, The Washington PostThe Boston Globe, and The Los Angeles Times. His research has received financial support from the Digital Trust Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Kaiser Family Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Federal Communications Commission, and the National Endowment for the Humanities, among others.

Turow was awarded a Lady Astor Lectureship by Oxford University. He has received several conference paper and book awards and has lectured widely. He was invited to give the McGovern Lecture at the University of Texas College of Communication, the Pockrass Distinguished Lecture at Penn State University, and the Chancellor's Distinguished Lecture at Louisiana State University. He currently serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Mediathe International Journal of Communication, and Media Industries. He also has served as the elected chair of the Mass Communication Division of the International Communication Association.


Uploaded on Thursday, May 6, 2021 - 4:24pm
In his new book, "The Voice Catchers: How Marketers Listen In to Exploit Your Feelings, Your Privacy, and Your Wallet," Joseph Turow pulls the...
Uploaded on Thursday, February 13, 2020 - 9:19am
Joseph Turow, Robert Lewis Shayon Professor of Communication at the Annenberg School, talks about his current research and interests, his approach to...
Uploaded on Thursday, September 20, 2018 - 1:53pm
Many of us have a sense that our online shopping habits are obsessively-tracked, but few realize that a similarly hidden surveillance revolution is...
Uploaded on Saturday, August 23, 2014 - 3:40pm
Joseph Turow, Ph.D., the Robert Lewis Shayon Professor of Communication, walks us through his book Playing Doctor: Television, Storytelling, and...
Uploaded on Saturday, August 23, 2014 - 1:52pm
Professor Joseph Turow talks about his research into Americans opinions about tailored political advertisements.


Related News

  • Grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation in support of The Hyperlinked Society conference of June 2006.
  • Grants from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to create a multi-media essay on CD-ROM aimed at educating medical students about how prime time television’s images of health care might influence their patients, September 2005-July 2006 and July 2003-March 2004; distributed in Summers 2003, 2004, and 2005; 2nd edition distributed Summer 2006.
  • Best faculty paper award (with co-author Rivka Ribak), International Communication Division, Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, presented at August 2002 conference.
  • Major grant from Kaiser Family Foundation to study health policy issues on TV hospital programs, 2002.
  • Chancellor’s Distinguished Lecturer, Louisiana State University, April 2000.
  • Commendation from the Provost’s Office for being named as the teacher of the “best doctoral course at Penn” by at least one of Penn’s Ph.D. graduates of 1999.
  • Awarded major grants from the Annenberg Public Policy Center for a multi-faceted study of the family and the Internet, 1998-2000.
  • With Professors Kathleen Hall Jamieson and Joseph Cappella, awarded a major grant from the Ford Foundation for research on the content, consequences, and print-media coverage of political talk radio, 1996.
  • Appointed to the National Endowment for Children’s Educational Television of the US Department of Commerce, 1995-1997.
  • Awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Stipend, Senior Division, 1994.
  • Elected to chair the Mass Communication Division of the International Communication Association, 1993-1997.
  • Invited to teach a "master's session" at the 1991 annual International Communication Association Conference.
  • Appointed as a Commonwealth Speaker for 1991 by the Pennsylvania Humanities Council.
  • Awarded competitively selected research grant from the University of Pennsylvania Research Foundation, 1988-1989
  • Appointed as a Commonwealth Speaker for 1989 by the Pennsylvania Humanities Council.
  • Appointed to the National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Stipend Advisory Committee, 1987.
  • Awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Stipend, Senior Division, 1986.
  • Top Three Mass Communication Division Paper, Mass Communication, 1977 and 1984 Speech Communication Association Conferences.
  • Top Ten Mass Communication Division Paper, 1981, 1983, and 1984 International Communication Association Conferences.
  • Authored a book designated "Book of the Month" by Communication Booknotes, May 1984.
  • Recipient of the Russel Nye Award of the Popular Culture Association for the best article in the Journal of Popular Culture, 1982-83.
  • Departmental Best Teaching Award, 1981 and 1983.
  • Dissertation Research Scholarship, 1975-1976.
  • University (work-free) fellowship, 1974-1975.
  • Full tuition scholarship, throughout graduate career.
  • Research and Teaching Assistantships, 1972-1974.
  • Dean's List With Distinction.
  • Phi Beta Kappa, 1971.

Joseph Turow’s work lies at the intersection of marketing, digital media, and society. His writings explore the power dynamics that shape cultural materials (eg ads, supermarket aisles, voice assistants) through which people learn about the world.

(215) 898-5842
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Turow's Network

  • Activism, Communication, and Social Justice
  • Culture and Communication
  • Digital Media and Social Networks
  • Media Institutions and Systems
  • Center for Advanced Research in Global Communication
  • Center for Media at Risk
  • Center on Digital Culture and Society
  • Media Activism Research Collective