March 2017 President’s Corner

President’s Corner March 2017 Over the last ten years, BEA has grown and changed in many significant ways, including new interest groups, more regional and super-regional conferences, a stronger financial base, and closer ties with many industry organizations. But the most significant change may be a set of efforts designed to promote diversity and inclusion throughout the organization. Those of us who have been involved with BEA for more than thirty years can remember conventions dominated by one gender and culture. There is no question that we’ve become increasingly diverse over the intervening decades, but the pace of change has accelerated over the past three years. Consider these innovations: • BEA has adopted a diversity and inclusion statement • A list of resources for diversity and inclusion has been added to the BEA website • Creating divisions that foster research addressing multicultural issues. • Adding an annual award for the paper that best addresses issues of diversity and inclusion. • Modifying the BEA database to include measures that allow us to quantify the diversity of the organization. • Inclusion of categories for non-English submissions to the Festival of Media Arts. • Recruitment of more diverse representation on the Board of Directors. • Creation of a special committee to recruit faculty and students from HBCUs to join BEA. Along the way, the mission of the Diversity Committee has expanded to encompass inclusion as an expression of the importance to move beyond representation and to take action to welcome and incorporate what diversity brings to the organization. If you have a minute or two, please join me in expressing thanks to...

President’s Corner February 2017 — Special Call: The Presidency and the Media

President’s Corner February 2017 Special Call: The Presidency and the Media Since the President swore to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States in January, the press has been met with a series of challenges to its role of keeping the electorate informed. Dozens of journalism-related organizations, including the Broadcast Education Association, have written or signed letters encouraging the administration to respect the role of the free press in our democracy. But we need to do more than implore. As scholars, it is our role to explore and explain the underlying processes and their impacts upon society. I have no doubt that dozens of research projects are already underway, but they were started much too late to be considered as part of the traditional Call for Papers for our April convention. Fortunately, the electronic media have a long history of responding quickly to change. In that spirit, I am creating a one-time Presidential Call for Abstracts for scholarship that addresses the multiplex relationships among The Presidency and the Media. I am looking for submissions that provide theoretical, historical, phenomenological, or pedagogical insight into what may be the most important situation facing the media so far this century. The Call is specifically seeking work on all sides of the debates that surround these relationships, with the goal that an open discussion of the issues that includes multiple perspectives will go much farther in providing context and insight. Accepted proposals will be presented at a special series “Topic Talks” during the 2017 BEA Annual Convention, April 22-25, at the Westgate Hotel in Las Vegas. These Topic Talks will start...

President’s Corner January 2017

President’s Corner January 2017 About a month ago, South Carolina Broadcasters Association members were guests at a reception in the School of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of South Carolina. I had the opportunity to speak with more than a dozen executives, and almost all of them communicated the same message: they are not seeing enough graduates trained in advertising sales, and they wanted our program to make sure students are aware of the number of opportunities (and the related compensation) in sales as they are aware of careers in journalism, production, writing, and management. In response, I am working with local broadcasters to create a one-day sales seminar that is designed to get students excited about careers in advertising sales, explore the basics of sales (including the sales process, compensation, and legal issues), and introduce them to the sales managers who will be hiring entry-level sales staff. Those of you who already have fully developed sales courses already know the importance of sales training to our broadcast colleagues. If you don’t have such a program, I encourage you to consider a few options that will serve both your students and the media community. First, you could consider a one- or two-day seminar, led by local broadcasters, that provides the type of introduction to sales discussed above. The second is to consider hiring a local broadcaster as an adjunct to teach a course or two a year in media sales, again introducing new opportunities to your students. Either way, your students will benefit from a greater understanding of the field they are preparing to enter. And your...

President’s Corner December 2016

President’s Corner December 2016 Two weeks ago, the BEA Board of Directors voted to add BEA to the list of signatories to a letter to the Trump Administration drafted and signed by more than a dozen organizations representing professional journalists. The letter, with all of the signees (including BEA) is available here. As the issue develops, we might find the need as an organization to address the importance of the role of the press in our society. Please let me or a member of the Board of Directors know if you have specific ideas on actions or activities that BEA can be involved in to further this cause. It’s also the end of the year. While that means relaxation and a break for most of us in academia, it also brings a few other opportunities. The most important one for BEA is making sure you renew your BEA membership before December 31. And if you’re looking for a last minute gift for a colleague, introduce them to BEA and all that BEA can do for them to support their teaching, research, and service. (Okay, I’m stretching a little. But I do want you to make sure your colleagues know how much becoming involved in BEA can help them, and the start of a new year is a good time to start a new membership.) With the end of the tax year coming, don’t forget that you can make a tax-deductible contribution to the Peter Orlik Scholarship Endowment or the Kenneth Harwood Dissertation Endowment. Finally, I want to take a moment to acknowledge the work of the BEA staff over...

President’s Corner November 2016

President’s Corner November 2016 There is so much to report to you this month, some of which you’ve heard (or read elsewhere in this newsletter) but some that might come as a pleasant surprise to you. I can state for certain that I’ve never had more good news about BEA to share at one time, so here goes: At its meeting earlier this month, the BEA Board of Directors approved creation of a “Religion and Media” division, dedicated to advancing understandings of the intersection of religion and media and explore the roles that diverse religions and faith play in media and culture. In the petition to establish the new division, the 132 signees of the petition stated: “These purposes will be achieved through 1) promotion of high quality scholarship about faith and electronic media; 2) providing a forum for the discussion of critical issues involving religion, faith and media, and 3) promotion of creative work that investigates the confluence of religion and media.” The new division is already gearing up for the 2017 BEA Annual convention, which will feature a business meeting for the election of officers and discussion of bylaws, as well as a couple of sessions devoted to the Religion and Media. Starting on 2018, the Division will have the same opportunities for competitions for research and creative works that other divisions have. If you’re interested in helping to build the division, please make sure you attend the 2017 Annual Convention in Las Vegas—there will be plenty of opportunity for you to get involved as the division puts down roots and starts to grow. (And watch for...

October 2016 President’s Corner

President’s Corner October 2016 Last Friday, my longest meeting of the day was a discussion of a proposed new “journalism” curriculum. The faculty had seemingly split into two factions, with one advocating that the focus in the curriculum should be teaching the skills students need for the jobs that are available today, and the other advocating more attention to skills that are seen as more cutting-edge in newsrooms. As with any good academic decision, the ultimate curriculum will probably be a compromise, with a little of both. But the event caused me to start re-thinking what it means to be “cutting-edge” in broadcasting and broadcast journalism today. To me it means 4K, digital first, social journalism, and mobile journalism. It also might include OTT, skinny bundles, and digital signage. And a few years ago, the list might have included 3DTV, non-linear editing, and videotext. The point is that our field is constantly evolving. When I started teaching in the 1980s, it was nearly impossible for academics to have the latest innovations in broadcast equipment because they were so expensive. (Remember when a simple 1” video recorder cost $50,000+?) The digital revolution equalized the playing field, with lower-cost equipment allowing educators to use the same “broadcast quality” equipment that was used in local television stations. As the pace of innovation increased, we were also faced with choices. It took about two decades, but non-linear editing has completely replaced linear editing. Along the way, we had to make choices regarding when we would make the switch. 3DTV offered another new choice, with those who put emphasis on 3D production having to...