Jeremy Littau is a former journalist who specializes in teaching and researching digital media as an associate professor of journalism and communication at Lehigh. He worked in newsrooms for 10 years as both a reporter and editor, most recently with the Los Angeles Daily News until 2004. He did his graduate work at the Missouri School of Journalism (PhD ’09, MA ’07) and undergraduate study at Biola University (BA ’97).
Littau specializes in digital media. He teaches courses in multimedia that include components on audio and video production, web building, and interactive media. His particular specialty, social media, is used as a common thread in all his classes to help students understand the possibilities that come with the social web both in terms of story generation, research, production, and spreading.
The backbone of his classes is an education in the essential elements necessary to succeed in modern news environments. As a professor steeped in “The Missouri Method” of combining theory and practice, students in his classes learn how to apply theoretical and conceptual thinking to their media creation. He stresses flexibility and adaptability, which means treating emerging digital media as a tool to do better journalism rather than the object of study itself. Finally, his classroom values are centered on open publishing and access, respect for diverse views and methods, and self-directed curiosity that sees experimentation rewarded over following convention. In spring 2012 he was awarded the Lehigh Early Career Award for Distinguished Teaching, the top teaching honor given to professors at assistant-professor level.
As a researcher, Littau applies his interest in social forms of digital media. His work centers at the intersection of social media, community, social action, and political engagement. His dissertation about digital communities and virtual “civic” life won the 2010 Nafziger-White-Salwen award for top dissertation from the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, the main academic arm for journalism scholars. Since then his work has branched into such digital forms as location services, digital social movements, and web memetics that serve as markers for digital communities and movements.
As an active scholar, Littau is widely known for his creative work in the social digital journalism community. His Twitter account and professional blog have significant following and his thoughts on digital and social media have led to him being quoted by several media outlets producing stories on the latest in technology, society, and social media. He also is the co-host for the weekly Interchange Project podcast, which features weekly news and commentary on technology and the liberal arts.