Bob Stepno

E-mail: bob@{my last name}.com

Note: This information may not be up to date (its HTML certainly isn't), but it stays here for freelance projects.

Interested in:

Assignments as writer, editor, teacher, researcher or online media evangelist with organizations interested in the future of communication, publishing and education. Value diversity, opportunities to continue learning and to help others do the same.


Making new communication tools and technologies clear to general audiences, using common sense, historical and cultural perspective, a sense of humor and an ever-changing variety of computers and software. (Listed below.)

Professional Experience

Freelance writer, consultant: off and on since 1986
News, feature and technical writing, software reviews, research and public relations, online publishing and computer training. Past topics have ranged from word processing and databases to hypertext, bulletin board systems, computer vision, information sources, media history, weblogs and virtual yacht clubs. Articles in BYTE, InfoWorld Direct, Computer Buying World, Soundings and PC World.

Radford University, Radford, Va.: full-time, 2007-2013; retired and available as adjunct since May 2013
Assistant professor, School of Communication, teaching media studies, news writing, Web production, media history, portrayal of journalists in popular culture, and more.

University of Tennessee, Knoxville: 2004-07
Lecturer, School of Journalism & Electronic Media, teaching news writing and online journalism.

Emerson College, Boston, Mass.: Sept. 1999 - Dec. 2003
Assistant professor, department of journalism, School of Communication, teaching courses in "online journalism," newsgathering, news writing, editing at undergraduate and graduate levels. Taught annual "Digital Culture" seminar focused on communication technology history for Emerson Institute for Liberal Arts & Interdisciplinary Studies. Member of college-wide technology policy committee, departmental student awards, search and facilities committees. Participated in department curriculum redesign and departmental self-evaluation process. Advisor to student digital media group and Society of Professional Journalists. See New Media: 1994-1998
Part-time content editor for the Nando Times, one of the first 24-hour World Wide Web news sites, originally the online edition of the News and Observer, Raleigh, N.C.

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1994-1998.
  • January-May, 1999, part-time staff in the Graduate School dean's office, revising the school's Web pages and working on various public information projects. Primary responsibility for student-funding database Web site.
  • Instructor, School of Journalism and Mass Communication, teaching introductory course on the World Wide Web and other electronic information sources, July-August, 1998. Syllabus is online as
  • Research and teaching assistant, School of Journalism & Mass Communication
    • In 1995-96, worked closely with Prof. Debashis Aikat, to create the school's first required course on electronic information sources, from searching library databases to building Web pages. Used HTML to do our first online syllabus with linked lab exercises. Conducted classes on Macintosh basics, electronic publishing, Usenet and the Internet.
    • In 1996-97 assisted Prof. Phil Meyer with courses in news writing and media analysis; built his personal and course Web page. Also helped Prof. Richard Elam with broadcast journalism courses, developing illustrated quizzes to accompany a multimedia CD-ROM course text.
    • Spring 1995, for Prof. Carol Reuss, completed file conversion and technical editing to help team of four authors deliver a 700-page media ethics manuscript on deadline (Controversies in Media Ethics, M. Gordon, J.M. Kittross, C. Reuss & J. Merrill).
    • Fall 1994, helped Prof. Frank Biocca and Prof. Jane Brown launch study of television violence.

Soundings Publications, Essex, CT: 1989-1993
Staff writer for three Macintosh-based monthly trade newspapers, Soundings, Waterfront, and Soundings Trade Only. News and feature articles on people, issues and technology in recreational boating, boat industry, real estate. Assisted with network troubleshooting, software selection, training, telecommunications and file conversion.

Ashton-Tate/Multimate, East Hartford, CT: 1984-1987
Senior writer and editor for a then-major software company. Wrote user manuals for standalone and network software (word processing, database, graphics) as well as press releases, newsletter articles, new product specifications, marketing materials, and legal paperwork to sell company so founder could buy a very large boat. Created databases of media contacts, Multimate users.

The Hartford Courant, Hartford, CT.: 1969-1980
Reporter, editor, bureau chief and columnist for the second-largest newspaper in New England. Specialized in higher education for five years, covering the state university system, state governing boards and major private institutions. Managed five-town Storrs area bureau for several years, with primary responsibility for covering the University of Connecticut. Part of first editorial team to learn the Atex computer system, using it as writer and editor of daily page-two "People in the News" column.


Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Journalism and Mass Communication; minor, Information and Library Science; awarded Dec. 21, 2003. The dissertation is a qualitative case study of teamwork and news publishing on the Web. In course projects, I created (with classmates) The New Republic Sampler, an experiment in online magazine design in 1995, as well as discussion papers on Java and Information Quality. Additional research concerned photo manipulation, history and media ethics.

M.A.L.S., Wesleyan University, 1988, interfield liberal studies degree; courses in computer science, cognitive psychology (artificial intelligence applied to instruction, user-centered design), communication and writing. Thesis, Approaching Hypertext: Cognitive models and usability of an electronic book technology.

M.A., Wesleyan University, 1983, anthropology, with courses in ethnomusicology, social movements; thesis on group membership and ethnicity, with fieldwork in Ireland, 1981, and New York, 1982. Teaching assistant to Prof. Mark Slobin for a course on ethnicity and popular culture. Extracurricular: Staff work for campus AV/Media center. Early experience in computer industry realities (and need for a sense of humor about them) as owner of a "state of the art" Osborne 1 and editor of an Osborne 1 microcomputer users' newsletter.

B.A., University of Connecticut, 1969, English. Extracurricular: editor of student newspaper, student assistant to head of journalism department, coffeehouse concert organizer.

Technical Background

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