Led by Assistant Professor Alex Luchsinger, four student journalists recorded documentary video interviews with global Internet Hall of Fame inductees, including Larry Irving and Jean Armour Polly.
Four Elon University undergraduate students participated in the official video coverage of the Internet Society’s 2019 Internet Hall of Fame induction in San José, Costa Rica, Sept. 26-27.
Undergraduate multimedia journalists Anton Delgado, Maria Ramirez Uribe, Alexandra Roat and Jared Mayerson were led in the project by Alex Luchsinger, assistant professor of journalism in the School of Communications.
The group recorded documentary video interviews with leading global Internet Hall of Fame inductees Adiel Akplogan, Douglas Earl Comer, Elise Gerich, Larry Irving, Jean Armour Polly, José Soriano, Michael Stanton, Klaas Wierenga and Suguru Yamaguchi.
Irving, who while working for the Clinton administration produced the first empirical study proving the existence of the “digital divide,” is the first African-American to be inducted into the Internet Hall of Fame since its founding in 2012.
“I don’t think most kids in America think that people in technology look like them. Every African-American boy can tell you who Lebron James is … I wish I was as talented as Lebron James. I wish I could throw a football like Patrick Mahomes, but most of us can’t,” Irving said. “Most of us, however, can contribute something in our community to bring the internet to a school or a library. Most of us can help develop public policy. Most of us can figure out ways we can use the tools that the internet provides to make life better.”
Inducted alongside him was Jean Armour Polly, a librarian credited with bringing the internet to public libraries across America and known for popularizing the phrase “surfing the internet.”
“In library land, really it was not popular, the idea of putting the internet out for the public because it was not going to be mediated information,” Polly said. “It wasn’t going to be librarians being the gatekeepers of knowledge and wisdom anymore.”
Yet, Polly wanted to make a change.
“If you do take a risk you’re going to learn something. It might be good or it might be bad but you’re going to learn something,” Polly said. “I was all about learning something in the library business because in my idea that complacency is the real enemy.”
The team also recorded the honorees’ acceptance speeches at the Internet Hall of Fame induction ceremony.
This was the fifth induction of a Hall of Fame class by the Internet Society (ISOC), a nonprofit organization working toward positive Internet evolution. The Internet Society provided travel funding assistance for Elon’s multimedia journalism team, and the Elon team’s work is being shared by ISOC in its social media coverage of Hall of Fame events.