David Dowling

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David Dowling
Associate Professor
E334 AJB
Office Hours:
Fall 2020: 24/7, via email and Canvas Chat
PhD 1995, University of Colorado

David Dowling’s work in digital media and journalism studies centers on innovations 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 his eighth solo-authored book, Immersive Longform Storytelling: Media, Technology, Audience, published in 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 his current book project (under contract and in progress) titled Gaming and Journalism: Narrative Nonfiction’s Newest Medium.

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 CultureConvergenceGames and Culture, 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 Times, The 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 Media History 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)


  • JMC:1200 Media History and Culture
  • JMC:1400 Principles of Journalism
  • JMC:3122 Digital and Gaming Culture
  • JMC:6333 Graduate Seminar in Media Communication: Critical Media Studies
  • JMC:3185 Topics in Mass Communication: History of Media Industries
  • JMC:3185 Topics in Mass Communication: The Internet and Journalism
  • JMC:3520 Feature Reporting and Writing


Books (Solo Authored)

  • Immersive Longform Storytelling: Media, Technology, Audience, Routledge, 2019.
  • A Delicate Aggression: Savagery and Survival in the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, Yale University Press 2018, in press.
  • 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

  • “Gaming and Journalism: Narrative Nonfiction’s Newest Medium” (under contract)


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

Articles (Solo Authored Except as Noted)

  • “Banned in Britain: Marilynne Robinson’s Environmental Literary Journalism,” forthcoming in Literary Journalism Studies 11.2 (2019)
  • Subin Paul [student author] and David Dowling, “Ghandi’s Newspaperman: T.G. Narayanan and the Quest for an Independent India, 1938-1946,” forthcoming in Modern Asian Studies (2019).
  • David Dowling, Christopher Goetz, and Daniel Lathrop. “One Year of #Gamergate: The Shared Twitter Link as Emblem of Masculinist Gamer Identity,” Games and Culture (2019): 1-22. DOI: 10.1177/1555412019864857
  • David O. Dowling and Subin Paul [student author], “Digital Literary Journalism in Opposition: Meena Kandasamy and the Dalit Online Movement in India,” Literary Journalism Studies 11.1 (2019): 86-99.
  • David O. Dowling and Kyle Miller, “Immersive Audio Storytelling: Podcasting and Serial Documentary in the Digital Publishing Industry,” Journal of Radio and Audio Media 26.1 (2019): 167-184.
  • Subin Paul [student author] and David Dowling, “Digital Archiving as Social Protest: Dalit Camera and the Mobilization of India’s ‘Untouchables,’” Digital Journalism 6.9 (2018): 1239-1254.
  • David Dowling and John Haman [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.
  • “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.
  • “The Business of Slow Journalism: Deep Storytelling’s Alternative Economies.” Digital Journalism, special issue: “Slow Journalism,” ed. Megan Le Masurier, ahead of print (20 November 2015): 1-17.
  • “Radical Designs: The Emergence of the Progressive Editorial in the Nineteenth-Century Press.” Sur Le Journalisme (About Journalism) 5.2 (2016): 32-45.
  • John Haman [student author] and David Dowling, “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.
  • David Dowling and Travis Vogan, “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].
  • “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.
  • Travis Vogan and David Dowling, “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].
  • “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.

Selected Chapters (of 14) in Edited Volumes (Solo Authored Except as Noted)

  • “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, forthcoming, 2019.
  • “Health Reform in the Mid-Nineteenth-Century New York Periodical Press” in New York: A Literary History, ed. Ross Wilson, Cambridge University Press, forthcoming, 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.
  • David Dowling and Travis Vogan, “Longform Narrative Journalism; ‘Snow Fall’ and Beyond” in The Routledge Companion to Digital Journalism Studies, ed. Bob Franklin and Scott Eldridge. Routledge, 2017.