Roger Fidler

Roger Fidler

RJI Founders
2004 Reynolds Fellow

  Program Director for Digital Publishing (Retired)
  Reynolds Journalism Institute
  RJI Fellow
  Reynolds Journalism Institute
  Columbia, Missouri


Email: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Telephone: 573-808-2137

Account Details

Member ID: 611

Group Title: Content providers

Join Date: June 12, 2015


Last Visit: December 31, 1969

Last Activity: December 31, 1969

Total Entries: 40


Timezone: UM6


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About Roger Fidler

Roger Fidler is an internationally recognized new media pioneer and visionary. He is best known for his vision of digital newspapers delivered online for reading on tablets and other mobile display devices, which he conceived and first wrote about in 1981. As director of new media development for Knight-Ridder Inc. in the 1990s, he pursued his vision at the company’s Information Design Laboratory in Boulder, Colorado. In 1994, his team at the IDL produced a video titled “The Tablet Newspaper: A Vision for the Future” that demonstrated how people might one day read newspapers and magazines on tablets. A digital copy of the video went viral on the web in 2010 after Steve Jobs introduced the Apple iPad, which bore a striking resemblance to the tablet mockup used in the video.

Fidler began his career in 1961 doing a little bit of everything at a weekday-only newspaper in Eugene, Oregon. A year later the Eugene Register-Guard hired him as a science writer and news artist. His early career took him from Oregon to Pacific Stars and Stripes in Tokyo as the editorial art director, to the St. Petersburg Times as a features desk editor, and to the Detroit Free Press as its first design director and editorial systems manager.

In addition to serving as Knight-Ridder’s director of new media development (1992-1995), Fidler founded and directed the Knight-Ridder Graphics Network, the first computer-based news graphics service (1983-1988), and PressLink, the first global intranet for the newspaper industry (1985-1991). He also was an original member of Knight-Ridder’s videotex development team, and served as the first director of design for the company’s pioneering consumer online service known as Viewtron (1979-1983).

Fidler took a leave from Knight-Ridder during the 1991-92 academic year to research a proposed book about the future of newspapers as a Freedom Forum Media Studies Center Fellow at Columbia University. During his fellowship, he created the first interactive prototype of a digital newspaper optimized for reading on his envisioned tablets.

As program director for digital publishing at the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute (RJI) from 2005 until his retirement in 2015, Fidler coordinated digital publishing research projects and the Digital Publishing Alliance, a member-supported initiative that included The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times. He moved to Columbia, Missouri, in 2004 when he was named as the inaugural RJI Fellow. At the time of his appointment he was a tenured professor of journalism and information design in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Kent State University in Ohio.

As the ’04-’05 RJI Inaugural Fellow, he conducted a 10-week field test of his tablet newspaper concept under deadline conditions using content from the Columbia Missourian. More than 5,000 people from around the world registered to participate.

For his innovative work in digital publishing, Fidler was named one of four finalists in 2003 for the prestigious World Technology Award in Media and Journalism and inducted as a World Technology Network Fellow. In 2004, he was again named as a finalist.

Fidler was a founding member of the Society of News Design. In 2011 the SND presented him with its Lifetime Achievement Award. Also in 2011, the Beijing DeTao Masters Academy inducted him as a DeTao Master in New Media Development.

He is the author of “Touching the Future: My Odyssey from Print to Online Publishing” (Amazon, 2019). It was named as a finalist in the 2020 Next Generation Book Awards memoirs category. He also is the author of “Mediamorphosis: Understanding New Media” (Pine Forge Press, 1997) as well as numerous articles and book chapters.

In 1999, the Freedom Forum Newseum honored Fidler as an electronic news pioneer and one of history’s “Most Intriguing Newspeople” in its book “Crusaders, Scoundrels, Journalists” (Eric Newton, ed., Times Books/Random House). He was a frequent speaker at conferences worldwide on topics relating to digital publishing, new media and the future of print media.

He attended the University of Oregon (1962-66) and earned a master’s degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from Kent State University in 1999. In 2004 he was inducted into the University of Oregon School of Journalism’s Hall of Achievement.

In 2019, Fidler and his wife Ada founded FidlerHouse Publishing to assist authors who want to self-publish digital and paperback books in English and Spanish.


Roger Fidler served as the director of digital publishing at RJI, coordinating digital publishing research projects and the Digital Publishing Alliance.

Stories about Roger Fidler

RJI Mobile Media Research Project

The intended purpose of the annual RJI Mobile Media News Consumption Surveys is to gain insights into who uses mobile media and how their uses for news may change over time.

The latest survey was conducted for RJI in June 2015 by Ipsos, one of the world’s largest market research companies. It included 1,001 U.S. adults. The questionnaire was drafted by Samuel Tham, a graduate student in the Missouri School of Journalism, under the guidance of Esther Thorson, RJI’s director of research.

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