A view of the back of Gaylord Hall in Norman, OK.

A view of the back of Gaylord Hall in Norman, OK. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


February 28 – March 1, 2014

Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication

University of Oklahoma

General Call for Paper Abstracts and Panel Proposals

The AEJMC Midwinter Conference is an annual forum for the presentation of research and debate in areas relevant to the 11 AEJMC groups (divisions, interest groups and commissions) sponsoring the event. The conference provides a platform for presentations and extended discussions in a relaxed setting.

The upcoming conference is scheduled for February 28-March 1, 2014 at the Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication (University of Oklahoma) in Norman, Oklahoma. Conference participants will be able to enjoy the College’s state-of-the-art teaching and research facilities, as well as many winter diversions outside the conference activities, including world-class museums and art galleries.

Paper abstract submissions: Authors are invited to submit research paper abstracts of between 600 and 800 words (word count excludes author information and references). Abstracts should give a clear sense of relevant literature, research objectives, methodological approach, stage of research project (conceptual, data gathering, data interpreting), findings and conclusions.

Submissions should be made by e-mail to the midwinter chair (from the list below) of the group authors wish to submit to. Note that authors can submit any specific paper abstract to only one participating group – submitting the same paper abstract to several groups will result in disqualification and withdrawal from the review process. Do not submit full papers.

Authors of accepted papers will be notified by mid-January 2014. Papers presented at the midwinter conference are also eligible for presentation at the AEJMC national convention in August. Authors are encouraged to use the midwinter conference as an opportunity to get feedback on their research to improve and finalize it for submission to the national conference.

Authors of accepted abstracts must submit complete papers (not exceeding 30 pages) to the discussant of their conference session at least two weeks before the midwinter conference. The midwinter chair for the relevant group will send authors the names and contact details of the discussant for their session.

At least one author of each accepted paper must register and attend the conference to present the paper. Failure to register by the deadline will result in authors’ names and papers being removed from the program. NO onsite registration will be available.

Panel submissions: In addition, the organizers are also inviting panel proposals. These proposals should be sent to the midwinter chair of the particular division or group they wish to present the panel to. Panel submissions should include the panel title, a description of the session’s focus, the issues to be discussed, and a list of panelists (potential and confirmed), including affiliation. Panel proposals should not exceed two double-spaced pages.

Submission format: All submissions (for paper abstracts and panels) should include the name(s) of the author(s) or panel organizer(s) on the title page only. The title page should also include the author or lead author’s (or organizer’s) mailing address, telephone number and e-mail address. The title should be on the first page of the text and on running heads on each page of text. Authors should e-mail their abstracts or proposals as attachments (saved with the author’s last name as file name) in a standard word-processing format (preferably Word or RTF) to the relevant midwinter chair. Authors must ensure that they remove any identifying information from their document (with the exception of the title page).

Deadline: All submissions should reach the appropriate group’s midwinter chair by noon, December 1, 2013.

The University of Oklahoma is located in Norman, 20 miles south of Oklahoma City, with easy access to the Will Rogers World Airport. Details on conference registration, hotel accommodation and airport transportation will be available at http://www.ou.edu/gaylord.

For more information, please contact Elanie Steyn, Conference Site Host (elanie@ou.edu).

AEJMC 2014 Midwinter Chairs by Division/Interest Group/Commission


Communication Technology Division

Porismita Borah, Washington State University (porismita@gmail.com)

Commission on the Status of Women

Jennifer Vardeman-Winter, University of Houston (jvardeman@uh.edu)

Cultural and Critical Studies Division

Katie Foss, Middle Tennessee State University (Katie.Foss@mtsu.edu)

Entertainment Studies Interest Group

Jason Zenor, Oswego State University of New York (Jason.zenor@oswego.edu)

International Communication Division

Jeannine Relly, University of Arizona (jrelly@email.arizona.edu)

Mass Communication & Society Division

Jennifer Kowalewski, Georgia Southern University (jkowalewski@georgiasouthern.edu)

Media Management and Economics Division

Bozena Mierzejewska, University of St. Gallen (bozena.Mierzejewska@unisg.ch)

Minorities and Communication Division

Mia Moody, Baylor University (Mia_moody@baylor.edu)

Participatory Journalism Interest Group (PJIG)

Liz Viall, Eastern Illinois University (ekviall@eiu.edu)

Religion and Media Interest Group

Maccama Ikpah, Rowen University (ikpah@rowan.edu)

Visual Communication Division

Bob Britten, West Virginia University (bob.britten@mail.wvu.edu)

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By: Tonya B. Lewis

Rape has been a problem for centuries. No other crime tears at the fabric, conscience and collective spirit of a community or family than rape. Case in point, the story of the Biblical king David is mired by the rape of his daughter, Tamar, by her half-brother, which ultimately destroyed David’s family.  Just the very word is an affront to most people’s senses. Over time, the word has been anesthetized by referring to it as sexual assault, sexual abuse and molestation.

During college, I volunteered with a sexual assault awareness group, and we performed monologues about rape to an audience of college freshmen. I loved those gut-wrenching performances because I thought that, just maybe, we were preventing rape and providing resources and hope to rape survivors.

At one particular performance, I shared my “story.” It was a monologue I had rehearsed. It wasn’t my story, but it was someone’s story (and that made it real to me). During that session, a young woman began crying, got up and left. I quickly finished the monologue, and the group facilitator and I sought out the woman. She tearfully explained how she had been raped a few month’s prior by her boss. As if that wasn’t disturbing enough, she told us that she wasn’t sure she had been raped until she heard my monologue. She had said, “No,” but because she didn’t fight, yell or scream, she thought it wasn’t technically rape. In her mind, her soft, defiant, “No, please stop,” justified her being raped. As I listened to her story, I felt a mixture of anger and sadness. She was worried about how she would be viewed if the details of her attack became known. She blamed herself for that glass of alcohol she drank that night. She wondered if she had invited or caused her own attack. She feared if she went to trial how she would be portrayed. She questioned if she should report the rape and “ruin” her attacker’s life.

The rape is horrific. The aftermath is traumatic.

Most have heard comments about rape victims such as “She asked for it,” “Look at how she was dressed,” and “She shouldn’t have gotten drunk.” That’s tantamount to re-victimizing a rape survivor all over again. In her article, “Monsters, playboys, virgins and whores: Rape myths in the new media’s coverage of sexual violence,” Shannon O’Hara analyzes the case of an 11-year-old girl in Cleveland, Texas who was allegedly raped by as many as 28 men ranging in age from 14 to 27-years-old. O’Hara mentions a New York Times article that stated that the victim “dressed older than her age, wearing makeup and fashions more appropriate to a woman in her 20s” almost implying that the 11-year-old victim was at fault.

My flashback to the young lady who was raped in college and the 11-year-old girl was brought on by the case of another young rape victim, Cherice Moralez. Cherice was 14-years-old when she was raped by her then 49-year old teacher, Stacey Rambold. In 2010, Cherice committed suicide while the court case was pending.

Moralez case protests_CAPTION MATT BROWN-APCherice Moralez

This week, Montana District Judge G. Todd Baugh sentenced Rambold to 15 years in prison and excused all but 31 days of the sentence and gave him credit for one day served. In essence, Rambold will serve 30 additional days in prison for the rape of a 14-year-old girl. What defies further understanding is Baugh’s explanation of the ruling. He asserts that Cherice, was “older than her chronological age” and “as much in control of the situation” as Rambold. Not only is Baugh’s ruling a miscarriage of justice, it enforces one of the myths of rape that the victim is solely at fault. His ruling also sends a dangerous message to rape victims and assailants that rape is a crime that will virtually go unpunished. Read the rest of this entry »

English: American Actor Forest Whitaker

English: American Actor Forest Whitaker (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Spoiler Alert: If you haven’t seen the movie, you may not want to read this post.

I saw “The Butler” last night and loved it! The writing, directing, makeup and acting were stellar.

The movie explores the real life of Eugene Allen an African-American man who served as a butler in the White House for 34 years during the terms of eight presidents. The historical drama, written by Danny Strong and directed by Lee Daniels, offers viewers a better understanding of the civil rights movement, the Vietnam War and other major events in U.S. history.  It features an all star cast, including Oprah Winfrey, Forest Whitaker, Terrance Howard, John Cusack, Alan Rickman and Jane Fonda, which you might not recognize because of a fabulous makeup job.

I enjoyed the movie’s exploration of relationships and human emotions.

Cecil and his son, Louis, who did not have a strong bond during his childhood because of his father’s work ethic, became estranged after Louis dropped out of college to help with the civil right’s movement. At the end of the movie, Cecil reads a book about the Freedom Riders and realizes that his son’s actions were heroic rather than radical. He joins Louis in a protest against South African apartheid and is thrown in jail with him. Both father and son, who spent many decades being ashamed of one another’s chosen occupations, earned one another’s respect by the end of the movie.

The Butler has some strong, positive portrayals of black male and female relationships. Cecil’s colleagues are depicted as having realistic marriages built on mutual  love and respect. Cecil and his wife, Gloria, remain steadfast in their commitment to one another although they experience some turbulence fueled by alcoholism and jealousy along the way. By the end of the movie,  the two share a loving relationship in which they grow old together.

The movie ends with Cecil meeting President Obama in the White House right after his election. I don’t think there was a dry eye in the theater. Although Gloria died right before the election of the first African-American U.S. President, she was able to help with his presidential campaign and experience the possibility of him winning the race.

As with any movie, the screenwriter used creative liberty to make it more interesting and palatable to audiences.  Most notably, Eugene Allen only had one son. He did not break into a pastry shop as depicted at the beginning of the movie. His wife was not an alcoholic, and she did not have an affair in real life. The portrayals of former president Ronald Reagan have also been panned by movie critics.

Even with these misrepresentations and some of the violent content in the movie, I highly recommend “The Butler” for people of all ages and races. It is a wonderful history lesson that is sure to capture any viewer’s attention. It is also a great lesson on life and the importance of forgiving one another and persevering against the odds. I plan to see the movie again with my children.

MAC Division Head Emeritus Felecia Jones Ross presents certificates to winners of the 2013 MAC paper competition.




DSC01986 DSC01990

Read the rest of this entry »


I am very proud of my colleague, mentor and co-author, Dr. Jannette L. Dates, who was appointed to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting Board by President Barack Obama and confirmed by the Senate in August 2013.  Dates is the Dean Emerita of the Howard University School of Communications, where she served as the Dean for more than 18 years, Associate Dean for five years and as a faculty member in the Department of Radio, Television and Film for a number of years.

Official photographic portrait of US President...

Official photographic portrait of US President Barack Obama (born 4 August 1961; assumed office 20 January 2009) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dates and I are co-authoring a book on race, gender, religion and politics in the Age of Obama. The book is an exploration of modern-day representations of African Americans in the mass media with a focus on gender issues, politics, and religion, viewed through the prism of race and as these social constructs relate to the Obamas.

Our book is a continuation of the vision that Jannette Dates and William Barlow gave birth to more than a decade ago with the publication of Split Image: African Americans in the Mass Media (Dates & Barlow, 1993). Split Image provided a balanced, historical view of African Americans’ contributions to media and addressed how the dominant European culture in U.S. media established images and structures that impeded the development and recognition of the subordinated African-American culture. In that same vein, as noted, Race, Gender, Religion and Politics: A Critical Reading of Mass Media Portrayals of the Obamas comparatively explores a range of topics with an emphasis on President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama.

Dates has been a frequent speaker and panelist on national television and radio programs where she discussed images of African Americans in the mass media. She has appeared on Both Sides with Jesse Jackson, Booknotes with Brian Lamb on CSPAN, All Things Considered on NPR, Close Up on NPR, Our Visions on BET, and On the Media on NPR, among others.

Prior to her career at Howard, Dr. Dates served as anchor and executive producer of a weekly television magazine for the Baltimore, Maryland, NBC affiliate, WBAL-TV, and as executive producer and host for a distance learning television series for Morgan State College students studying African American history and culture. She served as a panelist on a weekly public affairs television series for the Baltimore, Maryland, ABC affiliate, WJZ-TV, in a weekly series entitled Square Off, and as the co-anchor of the weekly television series North Star for the NBC affiliate in Baltimore, WBAL-TV.

In the 1990’s, Dates served as a Fellow at the Freedom Forum Media Studies Center at Columbia University where her research focused on media images and effects, media treatment of African Americans and similar multicultural groups and women. She writes, as well, about the significance of diversity in media industries and in higher education.

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I enjoyed a very busy and productive 2013 Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) Conference. The annual conference, held in Washington D.C., provided a great opportunity to catch up with acquaintances and to learn about industry trends.

I was appointed by incoming AEJMC President Paula Poindexter to serve as a member of the Strategic Plan Implementation Committee. I was also elected the Midwinter Chair for the Minorities and Communication Division.


I earned a certificate for completing the Commission on the Status of Women mentorship program.


I presented a paper with Baylor graduate student, Poplar Yuan, shown above with two of her friends.

I am excited about the installation of  Dr. Paula Poindexter as President of AEJMC. I attended her reception for graduate students, alums, faculty and friends on Aug. 10 at the National Press Club.  Photos are below:



EDITOR’S NOTE: I wrote this entry in response to my 10-year-old son’s request for me to write something about Zimmerman’s acquittal in remembrance of Trayvon Martin.


By Mia Moody-Ramirez, Ph.D., Editor

“If you prick us do we not bleed? If you tickle us do we not laugh? If you poison us do we not die? And if you wrong us shall we not revenge?”                                                                                                                                                                                                       —William Shakespeare

The ability to empathize is one of the greatest gifts of all!

As the mother of two sons, I was dumbfounded when I heard the news of Zimmerman’s acquittal. I kept thinking Trayvon Martin could have been my son, nephew or brother.

I learned of the Zimmerman verdict while attending the 28th Biennial Jack & Jill Inc. Mother’s Conference in Arlington, Texas. There was not a dry eye in the room of 200 African-American mothers. Every attendee sympathized with the Trayvon Martin family. Like many of us, his mother is a teacher. His older brother is a successful college student.

I was speechless and heartbroken.

I was even more dismayed when I read Facebook comments from  my friends who said they would enjoy killing any young, black man who rioted in response to the shocking verdict.  My speechlessness and sadness changed to anger after I continued  hearing similar commentary on TV. I could not believe people supported and applauded George Zimmerman’s actions. Zimmerman definitely made a mistake — one that should not be repeated or celebrated! It is neither cute nor funny to joke about killing innocent children!

Have we lost our way in America?

Do Americans believe that black families do not value their sons? The Martin family is very much like many families in America. They are not drug dealers, criminals or outcasts. If it happened to Tryavon, It could happen to any young man.

Americans must realize that black people value their children just as much as any other race. Yes, like all cultures, the black community has its share of poverty, violence, and other problems, but that does not change the way African Americans feel about their children.

President Barack Obama has encouraged calmness and peace during this time of pain for the black community. I also advocate  peace and nonviolence. However, I think we need to be proactive in the rearing of our children — particularly our black males.

Where do we go from here? 

During most of our two-hour car ride home from Arlington, my sons, who are ages 8 and 10, discussed Trayvon Martin and the Zimmerman trial (even when I tried to change the subject). They searched for guidance and reassurance that they will not be shot and killed while walking home. I could offer them guidance, but I could not reassure them that something similar will not happen to them.

We must arm our children at an early age for these sad realities that they will face as African Americans:


  • Although we have a black president, America is not colorblind. We are not living in a post-racial society.
  • Dr. Martin Luther King’s dream has not been realized! Black people are judged based on the color of their skin and not the content of their character.  This is sad but true.
  • Discrimination based on attire will always exist.  Hoodies, tattoos, bandannas and baggy jeans are a no-no. We cannot change this fact so wear them at your own risk!!!!
  • Racial profiling is alive and well. Black people will always be more likely to be pulled over by police officers for no other reason than their skin color. Be aware, be prepared and be respectful when it happens.

We must share these truths with our children in order to prepare them for life as an adult black citizen in the United States of America!

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Below journalist Martin Bashir offers his take on the Trayvon Martin outcome. He is to be commended for offering insight into how African Americans feel about Zimmerman’s acquittal. 

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Image  —  Posted: July 15, 2013 in Uncategorized
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