David Dowling, Ph.D.


Drop-in Hours

Fall 2023: Tuesdays 11:00 am - 12:30 pm and Thursdays 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm or by appointment

What is David's Story?

David Dowling’s work in digital media and journalism studies centers on developments in publishing industries that drive markets and cultural production.

The impact of shifts in online culture and digital publishing industries on multimedia narrative is the focus of Immersive Longform Storytelling: Media, Technology, Audience (2019). This research on digital journalism’s pivot toward increasingly immersive forms—from podcasts to 360/VR and interactive documentaries—provides the foundation in interactive news media for The Gamification of Digital Journalism: Innovation in Journalistic Storytelling (2021), his ninth solo-authored book. Also extending from the 2019 book are studies on podcasting that include two award-winning articles (Dowling & Miller 2019; Fox, Dowling, & Miller 2020) and a current book project on the rise of audio reporting in the digital age.

His research on the digital longform movement includes “Can We Snowfall This? Digital Longform and the Race for the Tablet Market,” an article (with Travis Vogan) in Digital Journalism spotlighted by Nieman Journalism and Shorenstein Center. A similar topic is his project (also in DJ) on alternative business models and the economics of deep storytelling in the slow journalism movement. Literary journalism, narrative longform, and online communities are the subjects of his articles that have appeared in Genre: Forms of Discourse and CultureConvergenceDigital Humanities Quarterly, and elsewhere. His journalistic reporting and writing includes a multimedia longform story in Narratively, listed in Time’s 50 best websites of 2013.

The subject of writers in mass culture is the focus of A Delicate Aggression: Savagery and Survival in the Iowa Writers’ Workshop (Yale), the first comprehensive history of the world’s premier creative writing program. The book was covered by The New Yorker, the New York TimesThe New Republic, and in several radio interviews. It extends into the twentieth and twenty-first centuries the research of his 2014 book, Emerson’s Protégés (Yale), on intellectual networks and publishing industries of the antebellum era. His work on the careers of writers, editors, and journalists appears in a variety of academic journals including American JournalismJournalism & Communication Monographs, and American Periodicals

Prior to these works, Dowling employed a journalistic frame in an ethnographic study of Melville’s contemporary disciples at their marquis annual event recognizing the author’s magnum opus. With participants such as Congressman Barney Frank, the event attracted international media attention. NPR and The Chronicle of Higher Education interviewed Dowling upon the publication of Chasing the White Whale: The Moby-Dick Marathon; or, What Melville Means Today (Iowa, 2010).

Dowling teaches Introduction to Media and Culture (JMC 1200) and a variety of courses ranging from feature writing to the internet and journalism and entertainment media industries, all of which deal with digital longform, literary and narrative journalism, online business models, and mobile audiences. His comments on digital media appeared on this televised interview (at the 10:30 mark). Two studies on podcasting won two consecutive Best Article awards in Journal of Radio and Audio Media in 2019 and 2020. He and his co-authors discuss the 2020 article at this invited roundtable discussion with MeCCSA (Media, Communication, and Cultural Studies Association).


  • JMC:1200 - Introduction to Media and Culture
  • JMC:1300 - Intro to Journalism and Strat Comm
  • JMC:3122 - Digital and Gaming Culture
  • JMC:3185 - Topics in Understanding Media: History of Media Industries
  • JMC:3185 - Topics in Understanding Media: The Internet and Journalism
  • JMC:3410 - Magazine Reporting and Writing
  • JMC:3490 - Feature Reporting and Writing
  • JMC:6333 - Seminar in Media Communication: Critical Media Studies


Books (Solo Authored)

  • The Gamification of Digital Journalism: Innovation in Journalistic Storytelling, Routledge, 2021.
  • Immersive Longform Storytelling: Media, Technology, Audience, Routledge, 2019.
  • A Delicate Aggression: Savagery and Survival in the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, Yale University Press, 2019. (Reviewed in the New York Times 3/19 and The New Republic 4/19).
  • Surviving the Essex: The Afterlife of America’s Most Storied Shipwreck, University Press of New England, 2016. (Reviewed in the Washington Post 7/16).
  • Emerson’s Protégés: Mentoring and Marketing Transcendentalism’s Future, Yale University Press, 2014.
  • Literary Partnerships and the Marketplace: Writers and Mentors in Nineteenth-Century America, Louisiana State University Press, 2012.
  • The Business of Literary Circles in Nineteenth-Century America, Palgrave Macmillan, 2011.
  • Chasing the White WhaleThe Moby-Dick Marathon; or, What Melville Means Today, University of Iowa Press, 2010. (Reviewed in Journal of American StudiesNew England QuarterlyChoice [“Highly Recommended”], Library Journal [“Recommended for all academic libraries…”], and Chronicle of Higher Education with interview. Radio spot, NPR, January 2011).
  • Capital Letters: Authorship in the Antebellum Literary Market. University of Iowa Press, 2009.

Book Manuscript In Progress

  • “Podcast Journalism: The Rise of Audio Storytelling in the Digital Age” (under agreement).


  • “Emerson’s Newspaperman: Horace Greeley and Radical Intellectual Culture, 1836-1872” Journalism & Communication Monographs 19.1 (Spring 2017).

Articles (Solo Authored Except as Noted)

  • Selected Chapters (of 14) in Edited Volumes (Solo Authored Except as Noted)“Signs of a Dalit Spring: India’s Activist Magazine Journalism,” Journal of Magazine Media 21.1 (2021).
  • “Documentary Games for Social Change: Violence, Verite VR, and the Latest Generation of i-Docs,” Catalan Journal of Communication and Cultural Studies 12.2 (2020): 287-299.
  • Paul, S. [student author] and Dowling, D. “Ghandi’s Newspaperman: T.G. Narayanan and the Quest for an Independent India, 1938-1946,” Modern Asian Studies 52.2 (2020): 471-501.
  • Fox, K., Dowling, D., Miller, K. “A Curriculum for Blackness: Podcasts as Discursive Cultural Guides, 2010-2020.” Journal of Radio and Audio Media 27.2 (2020): 298-318.
  • “Banned in Britain: Marilynne Robinson’s Environmental Literary Journalism,” forthcoming in Literary Journalism Studies 11.2 (2019)
  • Dowling, D., Goetz, C. and Lathrop, D. “One Year of #Gamergate: The Shared Twitter Link as Emblem of Masculinist Gamer Identity,” Games and Culture (2019): 1-22. DOI: 10.1177/1555412019864857
  • Dowling, D. and Paul, S. [student author], “Digital Literary Journalism in Opposition: Meena Kandasamy and the Dalit Online Movement in India,” Literary Journalism Studies 11.1 (2019): 86-99.
  • Dowling, D. and Miller, K. “Immersive Audio Storytelling: Podcasting and Serial Documentary in the Digital Publishing Industry,” Journal of Radio and Audio Media 26.1 (2019): 167-184.
  • Paul, S. [student author] and Dowling, D. “Digital Archiving as Social Protest: Dalit Camera and the Mobilization of India’s ‘Untouchables,’” Digital Journalism 6.9 (2018): 1239-1254.
  • Dowling, D. and Haman, J. [student author], “New Horizons for Teaching Journalism History: A Multimedia Approach” American Journalism,34.3 (2017): 353-362.
  • “Toward a New Aesthetic of Digital Literary Journalism: Charting the Fierce Evolution of the ‘Supreme Nonfiction’” Literary Journalism Studies, 9.1 (Spring 2017): 100-116.
  • Vogan, T. and Dowling, D. “Bill Simmons, Grantland.com, and ESPN’s Corporate Reinvention of Literary Sports Writing Online.” Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies, ahead-of-print 22.1 (2016): 18-34. [Reprinted in Sport and Communication, ed. Raymond Boyle, Sage Publications].
  • “Beyond the Program Era: Tracy Kidder, John D’Agata and the Rise of Literary Journalism at Iowa” Literary Journalism Studies, 8.1 (2016): 52-77.
  • “Radical Designs: The Emergence of the Progressive Editorial in the Nineteenth-Century Press.” Sur Le Journalisme (About Journalism) 5.2 (2016): 32-45.
  • Dowling, D. and Vogan, T. “Can We Snowfall This? Digital Longform and the Race for the Tablet Market.” Digital Journalism, 3.2 (2015): 209-224. [Spotlighted by Nieman Journalism Lab, Shorenstein Center for Journalism, July 2014].
  • “The Business of Slow Journalism: Deep Storytelling’s Alternative Economies.” Digital Journalism, special issue: “Slow Journalism,” (November 2015): 1-17.
  • Haman, J. [student author] and Dowling, D. “Selling the Sole: Media, Mysticism, and the Marketing of Barefoot-Inspired Athletic Footwear.” Sport in Society, ahead-of-print (20 November 2014): 1-19.
  • “Media Critic/Media Celebrity: Emerson’s Quarrel With Mass Culture.” Litteraria Pragensia: Studies in Literature and Culture 24.48 (2014): 34-46.
  • “Sailing into Sandy: Media and the Moral Wreckage of the HMS Bounty.” Journal of American Culture 37.3 (September 2014): 296-280.
  • “Escaping the Shallows: Deep Reading’s Revival in the Digital Age.” Digital Humanities Quarterly 8.2 (2014).
  • “‘Revenge Upon a Dumb Brute’: Casting the Whale in Film Adaptations of Moby-Dick.” The Journal of Film and Video 66.4 (2014): 50-63.
  •  “Reporting the Revolution: Margaret Fuller, Herman Melville, and the Italian Risorgimento.” American Journalism 31.1 (2014): 26-38.
  • “Media, Myth and the ‘Fighting Whale’ in Maritime Narratives.” Genre: Forms of Discourse and Culture 47.3 (Fall 2014): 255-283.
  • “Re-Branding Literary Sportswriting: ESPN’s Venture into Fiction.” Aethlon: The Journal of Sport Literature, 33.2 (Spring/Summer 2013): 123-141.
  • “The Nineteenth-Century Weekly Press and the Tumultuous Career of Journalist Leon Lewis.” Journalism History 39.3 (Fall 2013): 156-167 [10,932 words].
  • “Dreams Deferred: Ambition and the Mass Market in Melville and King.” Journal of Popular Culture 44.5 (October 2011): 970-991.
  • “Davis, Inc.: The Business of Asylum Reform in the Periodical Press.” American Periodicals 20.1 (2010): 23-45.
  • “Autobiography as Professional Ethic: Fanny Fern’s Vision of Literary Partnership.” a/b: Auto/Biography Studies 24.2 (December 2010): 210-234.
  • “‘Other and More Terrible Evils’:  Anticapitalist Rhetoric in Harriet Wilson’s Our Nigand Proslavery Propaganda.” College Literature 36.3 (Summer 2009): 116-136.
  • “‘Parlors, Sofas, Carpets, and Fine Cambrics’: Gender Play in Melville’s Narrations.” Leviathan: A Journal of Melville Studies 11.1 (2009): 37-54.
  • “Commercial Method and Thoreau’s Economy of Subsistence Writing.” Concord Saunterer: A Journal of Thoreau Studies 16 (2008): 1-19.
  • “Capital Sentiment: Fanny Fern’s Transformation of the Gentleman Publisher’s Code.” ATQ:  Nineteenth-Century American Literature and Culture 22.1 (March 2008): 347-364.
  • “‘Hard as a Diamond’:  Running and Living Deliberately in Parker and Thoreau.” Aethlon: The Journal of Sport Literature 24.2 (Spring/Summer 2007): 113-130.

  • “Cinematic VR: Place-Based Journalism, Production Aesthetics, and Branding Functions in Immersive Documentary” in Immersive Journalism as Storytelling: Ethics, Production and Design, eds. Turo Uskali et al. Routledge, 2019.
  • “Health Reform in the Mid-Nineteenth-Century New York Periodical Press” in New York: A Literary History, ed. Ross Wilson, Cambridge University Press, 2019.
  • “Literary Journalism in the Digital Age” in The Routledge Companion to American Literary Journalism, ed. William Dow and Roberta Maguire. Routledge, 2019.
  • “Emerson in Media Studies and Journalism” in Approaches to Teaching Emerson’s Essays and Other Works, ed. Sean Meehan and Mark Long. Modern Language Association, 2018.
  • Dowling, D. and Vogan, T. “Longform Narrative Journalism; ‘Snow Fall’ and Beyond” in The Routledge Companion to Digital Journalism Studies, ed. Bob Franklin and Scott Eldridge. Routledge, 2017.

David Dowling
Ph.D., University of Colorado, 1995

David Dowling
E334 Adler Journalism Building
Iowa City, IA 52242
United States

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