Best of the Web 2018 Competition

AEJMC’s Communication Technology and Visual Communication Divisions are sponsoring Best of the Web 2018 Competition. As this year’s deadline is approaching, we would like to draw members’ attention to the Best of the Web/Best of Digital competition.

What is Best of the Web/Best of Digital?
The “Best of the Web/Best of Digital” competition is an annual Web and app design contest co-sponsored by AEJMC’s Communication Technology (CTEC) and Visual Communication (VisComm) divisions.

Web or app entries submitted to this competition must advance education or research in journalism and/or mass communication.

The contest is open to faculty and/or students who work for or attend an institution that is accredited by the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications (ACEJMC) or are current (paid) members of the AEJMC.

University and college staff are not eligible.

The competition consists of four categories: Individual/Team/Single class designation for Web and app, and Multiple class/Institution designation for Web and app.

The Individual/Team/Single categories consist of entries that have been designed and/or created by an individual, a small team or a single class.

The Multiple class/institution categories consist of entries that have been designed and/or created by several classes collaborating on a single project or by a school or department collaborating on a single project.

Web and app design professionals and academics with a background in Web and app design technology are responsible for judging the competition. Judging primarily focuses on the design, presentation and technological components of the project.

The competition website launches in March and will be located here: The submission deadline for this year’s competition is April 15. There is no entry fee.

Please spread the word among your colleagues and students and encourage them to submit entries.

For more information, please contact Su Jung Kim at or Kevin Ripka at

We also welcome professionals and academics with a background in Web and app design technology who would like to volunteer to be a judge for the 2018 competition. Please contact Su Jung Kim if you are interested.

See you in Washington, D.C.!

Su Jung Kim (assistant professor, Iowa State University), CTEC Best of the Web Chair
Kevin Ripka (assistant professor, University of Iowa), VisComm Best of the Web Chair



Scripps Howard Foundation Visiting Professors in Social Media Grants

Applications are being accepted for 2018-19 Scripps Howard Foundation Visiting Professors in Social Media Grants.

The grants, funded by the Scripps Howard Foundation and administered by AEJMC, fund two weeks of summer study for six AEJMC members at various media outlets in order for them to learn first-hand how news and information delivery is being transformed by digital media.  The goal is for them to take that knowledge into their classrooms when they return to their campuses in the fall.

A second phase of the program provides funds for professionals from participating media outlets to travel to visiting professors’ schools for three to five days during the 2018-19 academic year. These professionals can be involved in a variety of activities while on these campuses, depending on the needs of the six different journalism/mass communication programs.

This is the eighth annual Visiting Professors in Social Media Program that the Scripps Howard Foundation has funded for AEJMC members.

The Scripps Howard Foundation has $4,000 total available for each application selected for the program. The first phase of the program provides $3,000 to each visiting professor for travel, housing and other expenses for the two-week visit to the media outlet.  The second phase provides $1,000 for the reciprocal visit of the media outlet professional.  No additional money is available if expenses are more than these amounts.

Applicants must be fulltime faculty and current AEJMC members. Graduate students are not eligible for the program.

The expectation for the selected visiting professors is that each is contributing his/her time to go on the media visit, and for planning and implementing the professional’s visit to campus (with that person’s input).

The media outlets that will be hosts for 2018-19 visiting professors include the following:

C-SPAN (Washington, D.C.)
(Phoenix, AZ)
The Post and Courier (Charleston, South Carolina)
Scripps Washington Bureau
(Washington, D.C.)
WCPO-TV and (Cincinnati, Ohio)
WEWS-TV, News 5 (Cleveland, Ohio)

Application packets should include the following:
(1) Explain what courses you are teaching in fall 2018 and winter/spring 2019 that would be improved by this experience.
(2) Explain briefly why you would like to participate in the program.
(3) Select the outlet you would like to visit and explain why (list one specific outlet from the possibilities above – this outlet should not be in your same city or nearby).
(4) Provide some ideas about what a professional who visited your campus might do.
(5) Include full contact information (email address and telephone number).
(6) Include a three-page vita.
(7) Include a statement that if you are selected for the program, you agree to spend two weeks at the selected media outlet prior to the start of fall 2018 classes, that you will use the experience to enhance your teaching, and that you will plan and execute a reciprocal visit by the media outlet representative during either the 2018 fall or 2019 spring semester.

Deadline to apply for the program is 5 p.m. Eastern time on Wednesday, April 11. Send the above information in one file as a pdf via email to Lillian Coleman at

An AEJMC committee will select the recipients, and the process is expected to be very competitive.  Successful applicants will be notified in early May.  Scripps Howard Foundation Visiting Professors from previous years are not eligible to apply again. Direct questions to Lillian Coleman, AEJMC project manager, at


Tips from the AEJMC Teaching Committee

Five Tips to Make the Second Half of Your Class Better than the First

By Jennifer Jacobs Henderson
AEJMC Standing Committee on Teaching
Professor and Chair
Department of Communication
Trinity University


(Article courtesy of AEJMC News, March 2018 issue)

The first days of the new term are like visiting Disney World for the first time. Everything is new and shiny. All wishes can be granted and all hopes fulfilled. The second half of the semester is more like holding on to the seat in front of you on a roller coaster. There doesn’t seem to be any good way to change course as everyone careens toward the end of the term, screaming in fear.

The second-half of the term doesn’t have to be all panic and final exams, though. With a few small changes, you and your students can leave the academic term feeling accomplishment rather than anxiety.

1. Ask students what is working (and what isn’t). Midterm is an excellent time to find out how things in your class are going. Not what the students have learned or not learned (what you grade) but how your teaching is going (what they grade). These formative class assessments are helpful for both professors and students. Not surprisingly, students often see class much differently than we do. Time and again, we think class is going poorly when students are enjoying it, or we think it is amazing and they are lost, bored or both. Midterm is a great time to figure out the reality (which is often somewhere in between these extremes).

An assessment like this can easily backfire if not carefully planned, though, turning into a gripe session rather than a productive exercise. To avoid the piling-on that can occur, ask things like: “what do you like most about class so far?” and “What one thing would you change if you could?” These questions allow students to give useful feedback that can actually be integrated into your future class sessions.

2. Implement the best suggestions. If you ask students for feedback and then do nothing with it, you are actually harming both you and them. It is better not to implement a formative assessment at all than pretend you are listening to students. Trust is an essential classroom element. Like molecular binding, it connects professors and students in a symbiotic, stable balance. I tell students before they complete a midterm evaluation of the class that there are things that I won’t change (assigning readings, giving exams), things that I can’t change (the date of the final, the number of credit hours of the class), and everything else, which can be altered.

In past semesters, I’ve changed the amount of material we cover each session, the options for writing projects and the make-up of student teams, all because students said the change would make the class better. They were right. It did. Every time.

3. Remind students you listened. If you ask students for their input, and you’ve made changes based on that input, don’t forget to tell them so. Try to include as many students as possible in the praise, such as “Many of you suggested moving reading quizzes to Mondays when there is more time for reading. That’s really paid off in raising quiz scores. Great idea.”

When students feel their ideas are taken seriously, they move from recipients of information to participants in education.

4. Change it up. By the time you get to the second half of the term, everyone in the classroom has figured out the routine and the expectations. Of course, this is what we want. To an extent. There is a fine line between routine and boredom. So, change things up. Go outside. Do a team exercise. Let them use their phones. Add a guest speaker.

Students never complain that they didn’t do exactly what was on the syllabus for one day, but they always seem to remember the mock trial or ethics debate or television history timeline you added to liven things up after the thrill of Spring Break has faded. Low-stress surprises are a great way to improve productivity in the last weeks or months of the term. Like the groundhog, we all need to get out of the winter rut.

5. Plan an end-of-term celebration. I am a strong believer in marking occasions with celebrations. Birthdays. The Super Bowl. Ice Cream Day. My family makes fun of the fact that I have 17 door mats, one for each calendar holiday (and some for holidays I’ve invented). This philosophy has carried over to the classroom as well. While I have many colleagues who think my celebrations are beneath the dignity of the academy, I am a full professor, and I’m pretty sure that it’s okay to have fun while you learn.

Examples of celebrations? Breakfast tacos during final presentations (I live in Texas). An exam review game with media fandom prizes (who doesn’t like a Wonder Woman pencil?). A snack free-for-all where students bring their favorite childhood treats (Gushers, anyone?). The end-of-term celebration is not a reward for surviving your course; it is an acknowledgement that they have reached another milestone. Something to celebrate for sure.


Teaching Corner

Nominate Now for AJHA Awards

The American Journalism Historians Association (AJHA) is seeking nominations for the following two awards.

The Sidney Kobre Award for Lifetime Achievement in Journalism History is the organization’s highest honor, recognizing individuals with an exemplary record of sustained achievement in journalism history through teaching, research, professional activities or other contributions to the field of journalism history. Award winners need not be members of the AJHA.   Nominations for the award are solicited annually, but the award need not be given every year. Those making nominations for the award should present, at the minimum, a cover letter that explains the nominee’s contributions to the field as well as a vita or brief biography of the nominee. Supporting letters for the nomination are also encouraged.

The Distinguished Service to Journalism History Award recognizes contributions by an individual outside our discipline who has made an extraordinary effort to further significantly our understanding of, or our ability to explore, media history.  Nominations are solicited annually, but the award is given only in exceptional situations.  Thus, it is not given every year. Those making nominations for the award should present, at the minimum, a cover letter that explains the nominee’s contributions to the field as well as a vita or brief biography of the nominee. Supporting letters for the nomination are also encouraged.

For a list of previous winners, see

The deadline for both awards is May 13. Please send all material via email to: Mike Conway, Indiana University Media School,


Related Calls

From the President

From the March 2018 issue of AEJMC News

Strengthening Our Community: The Plus One Member Challenge


It’s that time of year when many of us start getting our membership renewal notices from AEJMC. That’s because most of us first joined between March and June, when we submitted our first paper or registered for our first annual conference.

So you go online, fill in your name and address, chose your membership category and hit “Next Page.”  What you find there is a long list of AEJMC divisions, interest groups and commissions (31 to be exact) that might seem overwhelming. The form asks: “Would you like to join a division or interest group?” The default answer of “Yes” prompts you to select the group or groups to join.

That prompt is urging AEJMC members to get the most out of our organization. How helpful! But more than half of our members change the check box to “No” and proceed down the form.

When you bypass joining a group, you miss out on so much AEJMC has to offer. It’s like going to a party and choosing to stand alone, while just a few feet away are amazing people talking about the things that most interest you.

I hope you will join me in the “Plus One” Member Challenge this year. If you have never joined a group, join at least one this year. If you’re a member of one group, add another and give it a try.  In keeping with the conference theme “Strengthening our Community,” let’s all renew plus one group in 2018.

The cost of group membership ranges from free to $40, depending on your membership category and whether they include an academic journal. (Many are free for graduate students.) Honestly, you’ll pay more this year at the D.C. Renaissance Hotel’s Starbucks for a coffee and scone than it costs to join most groups.

Why join divisions, interest groups and commissions? I could fill the rest of this column with the benefits. A small sample: subscriptions and digital access to specialized journals, mentoring programs, research prizes, workshops, off-site tours, grants for scholarship and professional activities, member socials, professional networking, funding for collaborative projects and opportunities to become a leader.

I’ve been a member of nearly a dozen groups throughout my 25-year membership with AEJMC. I’ve been most active in the Mass Communication and Society, and Newspaper and Online News. But I’ve also been a member of the Commission on the Status of Women, Sports Communication, Scholastic Journalism, Magazine Media, Entertainment Studies, Graduate Student, Political Communication and a few others.

Through these groups, I honed my leadership skills, met people who became my reviewers for tenure and promotion, found co-authors, and forged deep friendships. My involvement led me to Alabama 11 years ago when my AEJMC peers recruited me to be their department chair. I wouldn’t be where I am today without joining AEJMC’s divisions and interest groups.

While members reap individual benefits, AEJMC is a stronger organization when our subgroups are vital. These groups, which comprise our Council of Divisions and two standing commissions, run regional meetings, including the Southeast Colloquium and the Midwinter Conference (likely happening as you’re reading this column). They program most of what occurs at our annual conference, including tours, panels, research sessions and teaching-oriented activities.

Most importantly, they build the institutional memory and train the leaders of the organization. They’re the lifeblood of the organization.

If you’re unsure which group is right for you, AEJMC’s 2018 Washington, D.C., Conference will feature a Council of Divisions fair just next to the registration area where group members will answer questions and share materials highlighting member benefits. I also encourage you to attend the members meetings at the conference to find a good fit for you. You may just find yourself on a committee or starting on the leadership path in that group.

I challenge you to strengthen our community with one simple action: renew your membership plus one or more division, interest group or commission membership in 2018.

By Jennifer Greer
University of Alabama
2017-18 AEJMC President

“From the President” is courtesy of AEJMC News.

AEJMC Equity & Diversity Award


AEJMC is seeking nominations (applications and self-nominations are welcome) for the 2018 AEJMC Equity & Diversity Award, which recognizes journalism and mass communication academic units that are working toward, and have attained measurable success, in increasing equity and diversity among their faculty. The unit must display progress and innovation in racial, gender, and ethnic equality and diversity during the previous three years.

The previous recipients of the AEJMC Equity & Diversity Award are Arizona State University’s Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication (2017), University of North Texas’ Mayborn School of Journalism (2016), University of Alabama’s College of Communication and Information Sciences (2015), Iowa State’s Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication (2014), Penn State’s College of Communications (2013), The University of Southern California Annenberg School of Journalism (2012), Texas State University’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication (2011), Elon University’s School of Communications (2010) and Louisiana State University’s Manship School of Mass Communication (2009).

The 2018 AEJMC Equity & Diversity Award will be presented during AEJMC’s Washington, D.C., Conference to be held Aug. 6-9, 2018, at the Renaissance Washington, 999 9th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20001. The AEJMC president also will travel to the winning academic unit during the 2018-19 academic year to make an on-campus presentation of the award.

The AEJMC Equity & Diversity Award selection committee will expect applications to address all the items listed as the committee will evaluate efforts over the past three years in these following areas:

Hiring and Recruitment: The academic unit illustrates efforts in recruiting or hiring qualified faculty from groups historically underrepresented in U.S. academia and/or from groups that reflect the communities that the unit serves. Evidence should include changes in salary levels and hiring packages.
Status of Current Faculty: The academic unit illustrates equitable representation among full-time and part-time faculty that include groups historically underrepresented in U.S. academia and/or groups that reflect the communities that the unit serves. Evidence should include retention efforts; recent tenure and promotion rates; mentoring; and faculty participation in service/activities.
Climate: The academic unit illustrates a supportive climate. The unit strives to be free of discrimination. Evidence should include curriculum and programming; faculty/student perceptions; and decreasing number of grievances.
Institutionally Embedded Support: The academic unit offers formal support for equity and diversity initiatives. Evidence should include mentorship activities and graduate student support.
Other initiatives to foster diversity: The academic unit has initiated other diversity efforts not listed above. Evidence should include specific details of such initiatives.

Applications may be submitted by any AEJMC or ASJMC member, by any faculty member within the nominated unit, or by the head of the nominated unit. The following application materials are required:

(a) A cover letter or emailed text that includes contact person’s name, phone numbers and email address; title and address of nominated unit and institution; and name and title of unit’s head.
(b) A completed EDA Demographics Form that provides a description of the unit’s faculty and students, its degrees conferred, and other information. The form is available on the AEJMC website at
(c) A narrative, which describes the equity and diversity efforts of the academic unit. The narrative might include goals, actions, steps, and outcomes toward achieving a work environment that promotes equity and diversity.
(d) A letter from the unit head supporting the nomination.
(e) At least (3) additional letters of support/recommendation.

Applications may include additional materials, such as: description of specific institutional policies or legislation outlining diversity opportunities or barriers, and documentation of other awards received. The full application should not exceed 25 pages (excluding letters of recommendation/support).

Complete applications MUST BE COLLATED into ONE DIGITAL FILE AS A PDF FILE and sent as an email attachment to Carolina Acosta-Alzuru, University of Georgia, at Mention “AEJMC_diversity” in the subject line of your email submission. Only emailed applications will be accepted. Applications that are incomplete will not be considered. Important: Applications remain active and eligible for three years; reconsidered academic units are encouraged to update their applications. Previous Equity & Diversity Award recipients may apply again after 10 years of receiving the award.

The application deadline is 5 p.m. EST, March 1, 2018. Late applications will be included in next year’s competition. Please address any questions to Acosta-Alzuru. The committee reserves the right not to present an award in any given year.

AEJMC Awards

AEJMC Research Prize for Professional Relevance

AEJMC is seeking submissions for the 2017 AEJMC Research Prize for Professional Relevance.

Description. The 2016-18 AEJMC Presidential Task Force on Bridges to the Professions has established the AEJMC Research Prize for Professional Relevance to foster stronger ties between media professionals and educators.

The Research Prize for Professional Relevance will recognize each year’s top AEJMC conference papers that bring newfound clarity and insight to emerging media industry practices, cultures and business imperatives. A committee of judges will select winning papers and invite winners to present their papers at the 2018 AEJMC conference in Washington, D.C.

First prize will be awarded $1,000 and a certificate, while second and third prizes will be awarded certificates. If the winning paper has multiple authors, the prize will be distributed equally among co-authors.

Accepted 2018 AEJMC conference papers that have researched themes of timely importance to the media industry are automatically eligible to be reviewed by a judging committee comprising conference peer reviewers and members of the AEJMC Council of Affiliates.

The award will be administered via the normal AEJMC paper submission process. Divisions, commissions and interest groups will complete their own review process as usual and then forward their most promising accepted papers pertaining to professional relevance to the select committee, which will conduct a separate review process for the prize.

Judging. The AEJMC panel of judges will decide the winners. All entries will be blind judged. Judges will not have access to any identifying information about authors. The judges reserve the right not to award prizes. Competition results will be announced by June 30, 2018.

The criteria to evaluate papers for the Research Prize for Professional Relevance are outlined below:
1.  Research relevance in fostering ties between the media industry and academia.
2.  Excellence in research insights, theories, concepts and principles.
3.  Creativity or innovation of approach.
4.  Real-world application of research.
5.  Overall impression and research impact.

Eligibility. All research methods will be considered for this award, but the winning papers ultimately must enunciate accessible conclusions that are meaningful for both academic and professional audiences. Academic jargon should be kept to a minimum. The abstract, introduction and conclusion should clearly describe how the paper’s research and findings apply to the profession and/or the classroom.

To ensure consideration for the prize, authors are encouraged to include the keywords “professional relevance” when submitting papers for the AEJMC conference. For more information, please contact the award coordinator: Professor Jake Batsell (, Division of Journalism, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, TX 75275-0113. Phone: 214-768-1915.


Stonecipher Award for Distinguished Research on Media Law and Policy

The Stonecipher Award Selection Committee of AEJMC’s Law and Policy Division is seeking nominations for the 2017 Harry W. Stonecipher Award for Distinguished Research on Media Law and Policy.

The award honors the legacy of Harry W. Stonecipher, who died in 2004. Stonecipher was an acclaimed and influential First Amendment educator. He nurtured a number of distinguished media law scholars during his 15-year career at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, beginning in 1969.

The Stonecipher Award for Distinguished Research on Media Law and Policy is open to all journalism, First Amendment and communication scholars within and outside AEJMC. The award will be presented to the research that most broadly covers freedom of expression as a whole, not just journalism.  The award is not limited to research that centers on media-specific issues; it can include First Amendment speech and press issues more broadly. The successful nomination also might be global in scope, rather than U.S.-centric, given that media law and policy as a research topic is inextricably intertwined with the rest of the world in the 21st century.

Preference will be given to research with a strong theoretical component that demonstrates the potential to have a lasting influence on freedom of expression scholarship. All methodologies — empirical, qualitative, historical, etc.  — are welcome. Nominations may be for monographs, peer-reviewed journal articles, law review articles or other scholarly publications. Self-nominations are welcome.

In order to be considered for the award, the research must have been published between Jan. 1, 2017, and Dec. 31, 2017.  Nominations should be sent to Dean Smith at High Point University via email — dsmith1@highpoint.eduby March 1. The winner will be announced ahead of the AEJMC’s national convention in August in Washington, D.C., and the award presented there.


Krieghbaum Under-40 Award

The Krieghbaum Under-40 Award honors AEJMC members under 40 years of age who have shown outstanding achievement and effort in all three AEJMC areas:  teaching, research and public service.

The late Hillier Krieghbaum, former New York University professor emeritus and 1972 AEJMC president, created and funded the award in 1980.

Nominees must be under 40 at the time of the April 1 nomination deadline.  They must also be AEJMC members in good standing at the time of the nomination and during the preceding two years.

AEJMC’s three elected standing committee chairs, or other designees, and AEJMC’s executive director (non-voting) serve as the award’s selection committee.

Selection of the nominee is based on the content of his/her packet of materials.  This award does not require the nominee to duplicate his/her tenure and promotion packet. The committee reserves the right not to present the award.

Nominations should contain:
•  a letter from an AEJMC member (other than the nominee) describing in detail the candidate’s professional record in teaching, research and service;
•  one additional letter of support from a colleague (on or off campus) who is also a current AEJMC member;
•  a full vita.

Additional materials:
•  no more than five total of any combination of the following:  abstracts of research findings, professional papers or published articles;
•  no more than five course outlines or innovative teaching tools;
•  no more than five teaching evaluations, citations or other recognitions pertaining to the nominee.

All entries should be submitted by email in several files (PDF or Word formats) by 5 p.m. (Eastern time) on April 1 to [Type “Under-40 Award” in the email subject line].  For questions, contact Jennifer McGill at the above email address.

AEJMC Awards

Covert Award in Mass Communication History

The $500 Covert Award in Mass Communication History will be presented to the author of the best mass communication history article or essay published in 2017. Book chapters in edited collections also may be nominated.

The award was endowed by the late Catherine L. Covert, professor of public communications at Syracuse University and former head of the History Division.  Last year’s Covert Award was won by Sheila Webb, Western Washington, for “Creating Life: ‘America’s Most Potent Editorial Force,” Journalism Monographs 18 (2), 2016.

Nominations, including six paper copies of the article nominated, should be sent by March 1 to Professor Nancy L. Roberts, Communication Department, University at Albany, 1400 Washington Ave., SS-351, Albany, NY 12222.

AEJMC Awards