San Diego State University College of Professional Studies and Fine Arts

“Black Market News,” by JMS Professor Roman Koenig

Self-published by Professor Koenig, the novel “Black Market News” is a finalist for the Eric Hoffer Book Award for the Small, Independent & Academic Press

“Black Market News,” by JMS Professor Roman Koenig

by Baylee Akins

June 2, 2020

​June 2, 2020

You may be familiar with Roman S. Koenig as an SDSU School of Journalism and Media Studies professor, but he is also a well-known journalist and filmmaker who can now add author to list of titles. “Black Market News,” the debut novel by Koenig released earlier this year, is a dystopian, science fiction, technothriller that takes place in a future United States.

The novel follows underground journalist Quinn Kellerman and friends as they attempt to draw the curtain on the twisted world of eState’s chief executive and the man’s use of violent, ghoulish, technological means to manipulate the public.

“It’s built on my observations and concerns about the direction society and media are headed,” Koenig explains.

Koenig, who has taught the JMS course Writing for Mass Media (among other courses), says that he incorporates many underlying themes of the book into his coursework and discussions. Among the most important, that working in the media industry requires you to carefully analyze and question the media you are consuming.

“The inspiration for the book ties in with concepts that I discuss with my students,” says Koenig. “Mainly the importance of being critical media consumers and professionals. What are you reading, watching, and listening to? Why? How reliable is it? If you’re a media professional, who or what is most important to you?”

Adding to the excitement of self-publishing his first novel, “Black Market News” became a finalist for the international Eric Hoffer Book Award for the Small, Independent & Academic Press, sponsored by the US Review of Books. The award recognizes the work of upcoming authors in 25 categories, and the finalists and winners were announced May 18.

“This recognition means so much to me as a new novelist,” Koenig says. “When peers and critics note the quality of your work, it encourages you to keep going, especially as a self-publisher.”

The original “Black Market News” began with Koenig’s thesis film and research project from nearly 20 years ago when he received his master’s degree from SDSU in Television, Film and New Media Production. The novel also has ties to two of Koenig’s previous film-related projects. His feature-length screenplay of the same name earned a Best Screenplay nomination at the San Diego Film Awards in 2014, and the 2001 film production “Human Resource” won honorable mention for feature-length film in the Zoie Films International Festival.

The novel is published by Mercury Current LLC, available now through Amazon online in paperback and e-book formats. The paperback is also sold online through Barnes & Noble. 

The content within this article has been edited by Lizbeth Persons.

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