npostman.jpgNeil Postman, a professor, media critic and author who spent a lifetime criticizing television, died on Oct. 5 of lung cancer. He was 72.
Postman graduated from the State University of New York at Fredonia in 1953. He received a master’s degree and a doctorate in education from the Teachers College, Columbia, then joined the faculty at New York University. During his 40-year tenure, Postman founded the Steinhardt School of Education’s program in media ecology and chaired the Department of Culture and Communication.
A contributing editor of The Nation and the author of 20 books, Postman was best known for writing “Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business,” a book that claimed America’s ability to think seriously had been diminished by TV. The book was translated into eight languages, sold 200,000 copies worldwide and became required reading in many communication schools. He also penned several hundred articles for The New York Times Magazine, Time Magazine, The Washington Post and Le Monde.
In 1986, Postman received the George Orwell Award for clarity in language from the National Council of Teachers of English. Two years later, NYU gave him the Distinguished Teacher Award.