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My focus in this President’s Corner is Research, and BEA Latin America.

BEA is such a great organization for faculty and students in media and communication fields doing creative work, but also for those doing research. My experience has been that BEA features good researchers presenting good research year after year. At the same time, in contrast to all other academic associations in our field, BEA highlights and recognizes the creative scholarship of media content writers, creators and producers, particularly through the BEA Festival. No other organization supports creative scholarship the way BEA does.

The scholarly research side is on my mind though because of the recent BEA On Location at the University of Colorado-Boulder, and the recent, and first ever, BEA Latin America. Both ‘mini BEA conferences’ featured great research. On Location of course also included lots of quality creative work.

On the research side, one session I attended in Boulder featured, for example, a Ph.D. student doing an impressive presentation based on her dissertation, along with an Assistant Professor applying sound theory to an evaluation of social media content. Overall the quality of this one session was reflected in each other session I attended—great, relevant research in a friendly academic environment.

But I want to focus more here on the quality of the work at and importance of BEA Latin America.  I first have to especially recognize José Soto, DePaul University and Julian Rodriguez, Texas at Arlington, for their work in making this conference a success. High praise also goes to Marisol Tello and her team at Anahúac Mayab University in Mérida, Yúcatan, México. They were wonderful hosts and had everything very well organized.  The conference benefited from some professionals talking about industry issues, and from great research presented by scholars from such schools as Texas Tech, Arizona, Southern California and Barry University.

We started planning for BEA Latin America more than four years ago, and our assumption was that we would work to attract educators and students from Latin American countries. The reality was, however, that many of our submissions came rom U.S.-based scholars. In our multicultural world, I think BEA needs to keep working toward benefiting its members from the momentum started by BEA Latin America.  We did our fourth On Location this year, and it demonstrated how important a smaller fall conference can be (Plan now for Atlanta in fall 2020!).  I likewise think, with the right people involved, BEA Latin America as a biennial fall conference, plus with an annual connection to our April conference, can be just as robust and significant. We started something really great for BEA and its members. We offered a new presentation outlet for some important research.

The summation of this is let’s work to bring more cutting edge research to the BEA spring convention. With the research deadline soon for the April 2020 conference, I hope this inspires you to get a paper submitted. Find something important to you and investigate it and get that work submitted to BEA. If you’re teaching in a graduate program, every time you have students do a research project, get the good papers submitted to BEA—either at our fall ‘mini-conference or the annual spring convention. If you’re a graduate student with a class assignment, get it submitted to BEA. Then see how it fits as a possible submission to our Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, Journal of Radio and Audio Media, or Journal of Media Education.

We’ll all be enriched by that increased engagement with the research side of our academic world.