Louise Benjamin, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in the College of Arts and Sciences and a professor in the A.Q. Miller School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Kansas State University, has been named the 2019 Broadcast Education Association’s Distinguished Education Service Award (DESA) winner.
Lou has been a BEA member since 1981 and has served with the BEA Research Committee, BEA Festival Committee, and as an officer in both the History Division and the Law Division. She has served on the Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media’s editorial board since 1989 and on the Publications Committee from 1989 to 1997. Between 2008 and 2011 she was the journal’s book review editor. She continues to serve as the BEA Electronic Media Series, editor, with the Routledge/Taylor Francis Group. In 2015, she was invited to make a BEA Podium Presentation to showcase her research in history and regulation of electronic media, especially early broadcast radio.
She was among the founders of the BEA Festival of Media Arts in the mid-to-late 1990s. She served on the BEA Board-appointed small exploratory committee during the Festival’s formative years that developed the foundations of the Festival organization and helped launch the actual Festival. She chaired the Festival Committee from 2004-2008. In those early years the Festival grew substantially and became a fixture of the BEA. One lasting contribution of the Festival of Media Arts has been the establishment of tenure and promotion standards.
Lou is the author of numerous conference presentations, published articles, and book chapters on media law and history as well as two books: The NBC Advisory Council and Radio Program Development, 1926-1945 and Freedom of the Air and the Public Interest: First Amendment Rights in Broadcasting to 1935, which received the National Communication Association’s Franklyn S. Haiman Award for Distinguished Scholarship in Freedom of Expression. Her “Sarnoff Radio Music Box Memo” research has been a lasting landmark for scholars and students, helping them understand the medium of radio as a new technology.
She is a former television director-producer and teaches writing for electronic media, electronic media history, telecommunications law and policy, media theory, and media research methods, specializing in historical, critical-cultural, and legal methodologies. She taught at Indiana University (1984-1993) and the University of Georgia (1993-2008). While at Indiana, she was co-convener of the two-week “Annenberg Summer Faculty Workshop in Communication Policy” in Washington, D.C., which many BEA members attended. She also served as the associate director (1993-2002) and interim director (2000-2001) of the George Foster Peabody Awards while at the University of Georgia.
The DESA is awarded to an individual who has made a significant and lasting contribution to the American system of electronic media education. The award will be presented to Louise Benjamin at BEA’s 2019 annual convention ceremony in Las Vegas on Sunday, April 7, 2019. For a list of previous recipients and information on the DESA visit BEA’s website.