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 with brief (five to ten minute) presentations, followed by open and wide-ranging discussion among all those present.

To submit your work, please send a 250-1500 word abstract via email to augie@sc.edu before midnight EST March 3, 2017. Submissions will be evaluated by a three-person jury, with notification to presenters by March 13, 2017. Selection criteria will include topicality, range of media, and diversity of theory, methodology, approach, and context. Again, the goal is to generate a productive conversation among BEA members that will provide both insight and context that we can take back to our classes and scholarly endeavors.

Please let me know if you have any questions about this special Presidential Call. We’re looking forward to a session that will keep BEA in the forefront of electronic media education.

Augie Grant, BEA President
University of South Carolina