Rogers, Everett M. 1931-2004

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ROGERS, Everett M. 1931-2004

PERSONAL: Born 1931, in Carroll, IA; died of cancer October 21, 2004, in Albuquerque, NM; son of a farmer; married Corinne Shefner; children: David Rogers, Everett King. Education: Iowa State University, Ph.D., 1957.

CAREER: Writer, educator, and research scientist. University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, professor of journalism and chair of journalism department, 1993–97, annual research lecturer, 2002–04. Former professor of communications at numerous universities, including Ohio State University, Michigan State University, University of Michigan, Stanford University, University of Southern California, National University of Colombia, and Université de Paris. Conducted field research in Colombia, Brazil, Ecuador, France, Germany, India, Korea, Mexico, Nigeria, Tanzania, and Thailand. Military service: U.S. Army, 1952–54, served during Korean War.

AWARDS, HONORS: Distinguished Scholarly Book Award, National Communication Association, 2000, for Entertainment-Education: A Communication Strategy for Social Change, and 2004, for Combating AIDS; Everett M. Rogers Scholar Award established, Ohio University, 2004; commendation for "outstanding contribution to the science of marketing," American Marketing Association.


Social Change in Rural Society: A Textbook in Rural Sociology, Appleton-Century-Crofts (New York, NY), 1960, 3rd edition, Prentice-Hall (Englewood Cliffs, NJ), 1988.

Diffusion of Innovations (also see below), Free Press (New York, NY), 1962, 5th edition, 2003; alternate edition with F. Floyd Shoemaker published as Communication of Innovations: A Cross-Cultural Approach, Free Press (New York, NY), 1971.

Bibliography on the Diffusion of Innovations, Michigan State University (East Lansing, MI), 1966, new edition with Linda Williams and Rhonda B. West, Council of Planning Librarians (Monticello, IL), 1977.

(With Lynne Svenning) Modernization among Peasants: The Impact of Communication, Holt, Rinehart & Winston (New York, NY), 1969.

(With Prodipto Roy and Frederick B. Waisanen) The Impact of Communication on Rural Development: An Investigation in Costa Rica and India, UNESCO (Paris, France), 1969.

(With Joseph R. Ascroft and Niels G. Röling) Diffusion of Innovations in Brazil, Nigeria, and India, Michigan State University (East Lansing, MI), 1970.

A Field Study of Family-Planning Incentives and Field Staff in Indonesia, Indonesian Planned Parenthood Association (Djakarta, Indonesia), 1971.

(Editor, with Robert A. Solo) Inducing Technological Change for Economic Growth and Development, Michigan State University Press (East Lansing, MI), 1972.

Communication Strategies for Family Planning, Free Press (New York, NY), 1973.

(With Rekha Agarwala Rogers) Communication in Organizations, Free Press (New York, NY), 1976.

(Editor) Communication and Development: Critical Perspectives, Sage Publications (Beverly Hills, CA), 1976.

(Editor, with Rekha Agarwala-Rogers) Evaluation Research on Family-Planning Communication, UNESCO (Paris, France), 1976.

(With D. Lawrence Kincaid) Communication Networks: Toward a New Paradigm for Research, Free Press (New York, NY), 1981.

(With Rahul Sood) Mass-Media Operations in a Quick-Onset Natural Disaster: Hurricane David in Dominica, Institute of Behavioral Science, University of Colorado (Boulder, CO), 1981.

(With Judith K. Larsen) Silicon Valley Fever: Growth of High-Technology Culture, Basic Books (New York, NY), 1984.

(Editor, with Francis Balle) The Media Revolution in America and in Western Europe, Ablex Publishing (Norwood, NJ), 1985.

Communication Technology: The New Media in Society, Free Press (New York, NY), 1986.

(With Ronald E. Rice and Frederick Williams) Research Methods and the New Media, Free Press (New York, NY), 1988.

(With Arvind Singhal) India's Information Revolution, Sage Publications (Newbury Park, CA), 1989, published as India's Communication Revolution: From Bullock Carts to Cyber Marts, 2001.

(With Thomas E. Backer and Pradeep Sopory) Designing Health-Communication Campaigns: What Works?, Sage Publications (Newbury Park, CA), 1992.

(Editor, with Thomas E. Backer) Organizational Aspects of Health Communication Campaigns: What Works?, Sage Publications (Newbury Park, CA), 1993.

A History of Communication Study: A Biographical Approach, Free Press (New York, NY), 1994.

(With David V. Gibson) R & D Collaboration on Trial: The Microelectronics and Computer Technology Corporation, Harvard Business School Press (Boston, MA), 1994.

(With James W. Dearing) Agenda-setting, Sage Publications (Thousand Oaks, CA), 1996.

(Editor, with Steven H. Chaffee) Wilbur Lang Schramm, The Beginnings of Communication Study in America: A Personal Memoir, Sage Publications (Thousand Oaks, CA), 1997.

(With Arvind Singhal) Entertainment-Education: A Communication Strategy for Social Change, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates (Mahwah, NJ), 1999.

(With Thomas M. Steinfatt) Intercultural Communication, Waveland Press (Prospect Heights, IL), 1999.

(With Arvind Singhal) Combating AIDS: Communication Strategies in Action, Sage Publications (Thousand Oaks, CA), 2003.

(With Nancy R. Bartlit) Silent Voices of World War II: When the Sons of the Land of Enchantment Met Sons of the Land of the Rising Sun, Sunstone Press (Santa Fe, NM), 2004.

Contributor of more than 500 articles to scholarly publications.

SIDELIGHTS: The late Everett M. Rogers's work can be applied to many disciplines, from public health to corporate policy. Rogers was the author of Diffusion of Innovations, a work re-issued many times since its original publication in 1962. In Diffusion of Innovations and many subsequent studies, Rogers demonstrated how social changes filter through societies, from an initial period of embrace by brave innovators to an adoption by an early majority, a late majority, and finally those who would rather not participate. A sociologist and statistician, Rogers used mathematical formulas to show how inventions and ideas spread through societies—and how sometimes good innovations founder because they do not attract the early innovators or the early majority. A contributor to Change magazine noted that Rogers's definitions presented in Diffusion of Innovations "have migrated into the common language routinely used to describe events, individuals, and organizational behavior." In a Business Communications Review appraisal Peter Sevcik called Rogers's seminal work "the definitive treatment of the topic" of how ideas and inventions move from being novelties to being accepted paradigms.

With the success of Diffusion of Innovations, Rogers went to work in academia as a professor of communications, explaining his theories at such schools as Ohio State University, Michigan State University, Stanford University, and the University of New Mexico. He also conducted field research in public health in many countries all over the world, from Colombia and Brazil to Korea, Tanzania, Indonesia, and Thailand. Rogers applied his view of diffusion of innovations to the problems besetting developing nations: family planning, the AIDS pandemic, and technological modernization. Simultaneously, his theories could be seen at work in America's rapid adoption of personal computer technology, fax machines, and the Internet. Among his later works, Combating AIDS: Communication Strategies in Action, coauthored with Arvind Singhal, explores the avenues health educators and physicians can take to curb the spread of Acquired Immune Deficiency syndrome (AIDS), particularly in developing nations.

In 1993 Rogers joined the journalism department at the University of New Mexico, where he established a doctoral program in communications. He retired in 1997 but was asked to return in 2002 as an annual research lecturer, the highest honor the University of New Mexico had created for its staff. Ill health forced Rogers to step down from this post in 2004, and he died in Albuquerque, New Mexico that same year. Diffusion of Innovations went into its fifth edition in 2003.



Boston Globe, April 15, 1984, George Gilder, review of Silicon Valley Fever: Growth of High-Technology Culture, p. 1.

Business Communications Review, September, 2004, Peter Sevcik, review of Diffusion of Innovations, p. 8.

Change, March-April, 1986, review of Diffusion of Innovation, p. 29.

Fortune, April 30, 1984, Andrew Hacker, review of Silicon Valley Fever, p. 365.

Inc., December, 1996, Jim Collins, review of Diffusion of Innovations, p. 54.

Issues in Science and Technology, spring, 1995, Christopher T. Hill, review of R & D Collaboration on Trial: The Microelectronics and Computer Technology Corporation, p. 87.

PC, September 18, 1984, Luther Sperberg, review of Silicon Valley Fever, p. 307.

Studies in Family Planning, September, 2003, Elaine M. Murphy, review of Combating AIDS: Communiation Strategies in Action, p. 221.


Ohio University Outlook Web site, (December 20, 2005), "New Scholarship Honors Everett Rogers."



Journalism & Mass Communication Educator, winter, 2005, p. 434.

Los Angeles Times, October 28, 2004, p. B10.


Albuquerque Journal Online, (October 25, 2004), Leann Holt, "UNM's Everett Rogers Was Communications Pioneer."

New Mexico State University Web site, (October 25, 2004), Kenneth L. Hacker, "A Tribute to Everett Rogers."

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Rogers, Everett M. 1931-2004

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