Faculty Opening at Texas Tech University

Associate Professor opening in the College of Media and Communication at Texas Tech University: We are searching for a senior colleague with an interest in Communication research related to HSTEM to join us in our outstanding research facility, the Center for Communication Research. This is an exciting time of growth in the college. Please contact Paul Bolls,paul.bolls@ttu.edu with any questions.

Minneapolis Highlights

By Michael Dahlstrom

Minneapolis may be known for its parks and lakes, but it will soon add one of the best ComSHER programs to its tourist brochures. This year was one of our most competitive research competitions and we are excited to showcase some excellent research sessions with our top paper session being held on Saturday, August 6 from 5:15 to 6:45 p.m. Our teaching and PF&R chairs have also put together some innovative panels that I encourage you to check out. If you need a break from sessions but long for more science communication, our off site field trip will take us on a tour of the James Ford Bell Museum of Natural History.

But now on to business. The ComSHER business meeting will be Saturday, August 6 from 7 to 8:30 p.m., which is immediately after our top paper session. This is the time we will recognize our many award winners, including the Top Faculty Paper, Eason Prize for best student paper, Article of the Year, and Top Poster Award. Approval of the minutes from last year’s meeting will also be an order of business, so please review the minutes of last year’s business meeting beforehand (http://aejmc.us/comsher/comsher-documents/meeting-minutes/).

Not only does participating in the business meeting give you a voice in the future of our division, but it is a great way for newer members to meet scholars with similar interests and to get better aquatinted with our division. And to help lubricate this networking, we are holding the ComSHER social just after the business meeting. Join us in at 8:45 p.m. at the Skywater Lounge in the Hilton.

For those interested in leadership, the process according to our bylaws is as follows. For elected leadership (Head, Vice Head, Vice Head-Elect, and Research Chair), nominations must be submitted to me (mfd@iastate.edu) via email 48 hours before the business meeting. In order to qualify for any of the elected leadership positions, a member must have served as an officer at any level for a minimum of one year and reviewed papers for at least two years. The bylaws also make clear that a stable succession of leadership from Research Chair to Vice Head-Elect to Vice Head to Head is highly desirable. This succession order should only vary if someone is unable or unwilling to continue in the leadership progression.

For appointed positions in leadership (Professional Freedom and Responsibility Chair, Teaching Chair, Secretary, Newsletter Chair, Social Media Chair, Website Chair, Membership Chair, Grad Student Liaison), up to two people can be appointed to each of these positions to facilitate transitions to new chairs and involve more people in division activities. Graduate students may only serve in the capacity of Grad Student Liaison, Secretary, Newsletter Chair, Website Chair, and Social Media Chair. Although all division members are eligible and can indicate interest for these positions, preference will be given to members with a history of involvement with and service to the division, most importantly work in other appointed division positions, reviewing conference papers, panel organization/participation and attendance/involvement at division panels, events, and meetings.

And with that, I will end my final newsletter post as chair. I have been involved with the ComSHER leadership team for six years and it has been a great experience. Not only do all standard metrics confirm our division as one of the strongest in AEJMC (submissions, membership, fiscal operations, etc.) but also I remain impressed that we also continue to feel free to try new ideas and have fun doing it. Thanks to all and I look forward to seeing you in August.


The Bell Museum of Natural History: 2016 ComSHER Field Trip

By Sara Yeo

Join the ComSHER Division on its annual field trip (Friday, August 5, 2016, from 2 p.m. to 4:45 p.m.) to the James Ford Bell Museum of Natural History (http://www.bellmuseum.umn.edu/)! The Bell Museum of Natural History is affiliated with the University of Minnesota and is located on its East Bank campus.  We have a guided tour scheduled for our group at 3:00 pm. The Bell Museum was founded in 1872 and its mission is to collect, preserve, prepare, display, and interpret Minnesota’s diverse animal and plant life for scholarly research and teaching, public appreciation, enrichment, and enjoyment. Its collection hosts nearly 4 million specimens.

Registration is required and the cost is $5.00. To register, please visit: https://aejmc2.wufoo.com/forms/james-ford-bell-museum-of-natural-history-tour/.

There are two options for getting to the Bell Museum. In both cases, bus and train fares should cost no more than $3.00.

  1. If you choose to make your own way there, please meet the group in the Museum lobby at 3 p.m.
  2. If you would like to travel to the Museum with the group, we will meet in the lobby of the Hilton Hotel at 2–2:15 p.m.

For additional information, contact Sara Yeo at sara.yeo@utah.edu. We hope you’ll join us!

ComSHER Article of the Year

By: Anthony Dudo, Vice Head

For the fifth year running, we are excited to announce the winner of the ComSHER Article of the Year Award 2016! Erik Nisbet, Kathryn Cooper, and R. Kelly Garrett’s article “The Partisan Brain: How Dissonant Science Messages Lead Conservatives and Liberals to (Dis)Trust Science,” published in The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, has been selected as the overall winner. Erik and his coauthors will be recognized for this achievement at the ComSHER annual business meeting in Minneapolis, where they will be presented with a certificate.

We would also like to congratulate Jeannette Sutton and her coauthors for taking second place with their article “A Cross-Hazard Analysis of Terse Message Retransmission on Twitter,” published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The ComSHER Article of the Year Award is offered every year to promote research excellence in the areas of science, health, environment, and risk communication by highlighting the stellar work produced by our colleagues in ComSHER. Eligible articles were those published by a ComSHER member in 2015. Altogether, a total of 11 papers were nominated. Six of these papers were selected by a committee of 3 ComSHER officers for final review, and these 6 finalists were judged by a panel of 7 judges consisting of past ComSHER heads, journal editors, associate editors, and full professors.

In accordance with the ComSHER Division bylaws, each of the 6 finalists was judged on two 7-point Likert scales, measuring the article’s overall quality and potential impact. Judges recused themselves from evaluating any article where there was a conflict-of-interest (former students, colleagues, co-authors, friends, etc.).

Thank you to everyone who nominated articles for consideration, as well as the judges, who generously volunteered their time, effort, and expertise to this year’s competition.

If you have any suggestions to make regarding the competition, please let me know at dudo@utexas.edu. I look forward to seeing you at Minneapolis!

PF&R Panels at AEJMC

By: Chris Clarke

This year’s AEJMC conference once again features a stellar PF&R line-up, with two excellent sessions:

Session #1: Responsible Communication and Media Coverage of Contested Science in a Highly Charged Political Atmosphere (Co-Sponsored with the Political Communication Interest Group).

Thursday, August 4; 8:15 am to 9:45 am

Recent events such as the 2014 measles outbreak, as well as upcoming events such as 2015 UN Climate Change Summit and the U.S. Presidential election, have given renewed attention to some of the most socially contentious science issues in the world today. This panel brings together research scholars and journalists to discuss “responsible communication” of these issues in an often highly-charged political atmosphere. Among the questions that will be explored:

1.      What are some research-based best practices for helping address political polarization and cultural orientations as a barrier to effective science communication?

2.      How do scholars negotiate the fine line between research and advocacy for issues about which they both study and care deeply?

3.      What challenges do journalists face in covering politically contentious issues?

4.      How can journalists and scholars better work together toward effective science communication?

Panelists will represent a variety of fields, including science communication; political communication; and health/science journalism. Case studies will include – but not necessarily be limited to – vaccine safety and climate change.

Panelists (confirmed): Graham Dixon (Washington State); Neil Stenhouse (Wisconsin); Tara Haelle (freelance journalist)

Panelists (tentative): Emily Vraga (George Mason) – just welcomed her son into the world this past weekend, so we’ll see what she feels like in 5 short weeks!

I am working to secure at least one additional panelist as well – stay tuned!


Session #2: Fostering Community Disaster Resilience: The Role of Journalism and Media (Co-Sponsored with the Mass Communication & Society Division)

Thursday, August 4; 10 am to 11:30 am

Synopsis: This panel will explore the role of journalism, local and mass media, and strategic communication in fostering community resilience to disasters. Current models of community resilience (e.g., Norris et al., 2007; Houston et al., 2015) include a focus on responsible media, trusted sources of information, social capital, community problem solving, and other related capacities.

What does this mean for journalists and media organizations? Do journalists and media organizations have an ethical obligation to foster community resilience? If so, does this obligation interfere with a free press?

From a practical perspective, how can journalists and media organizations foster community resilience? What insights from strategic communication might inform this work? How could social media and citizen or hyperlocal journalism be incorporated into disaster journalism work?

These questions and others will be explored through this panel. The panel will build on preliminary insights from the University of Missouri’s Disaster and Community Crisis Center and Reynolds Journalism Institute:http://dcc.missouri.edu/doc/dcc_disaster_journalism_factsheet.pdf.

Panelists (confirmed):

J. Brian Houston, University of Missouri (Moderator)
Adam Glenn, City University of New York
Brooke Fisher Liu, University of Maryland
Brooke Fowler, University of Maryland
Mimi Perreault, Appalachian State University