Forty Years at a Glimpse: A Brief History of ICD’s Growth*

By Hong Cheng & Sandhya Rao

Hong Cheng (OhioUniversity) is former ICD Head, 2002-2003 and Sandhya (Sandy) Rao (TexasStateUniversity) is former ICD Head, 1999-2000. The authors are grateful to Yorgo Pasadeos (University of Alabama) and Anne Cooper-Chen (OhioUniversity) for providing ICB back issues and wish to thank John Merrill (University of Missouri) and Sharon Murphy (Bradley University) for their consultation.

We are very proud of being part of the ICD because we know how much our colleagues in the Division have contributed over the decades to make it what it is today. Although we are unable to accommodate all of the exciting moments in our Division’s glorious history, we have done our best mainly based on the information available in the back issues of the International Communication Bulletin. A good perspective of where we came from may help our Division decide where we would like to go in the future.

Founding of ICD

At the 1965 annual convention held at Syracuse University, the American Association for Education in Journalism (AEJ) approved the formation of an International Communication Division (ICD), petitioned by 47 faculty members from 37 universities in 24 states and the District of Columbia. In a few months, 20 other members joined the Division. The first three officers ever elected in ICD were: John B. Adams (North Carolina), Head; James W. Markham (Iowa), Vice Head; Carter R. Bryan (Maryland), Secretary-Treasurer. The Division Head set up five committees: Executive, Teaching, Research, Liaison, and Objectives Committees. The Press Freedom and Responsibility Committee was formed in 1975. Since the mid-1960s, many ICD members have served the Division in various capacities.

Inauguration of ICB

In January 1966, the Division launched the International Communication Bulletin (ICB) “as a medium of information not now readily available elsewhere for all who work in the rapidly expanding field of international communication” (ICB, Vol. 1, No. 1, 1966, p. 1). The two-page newsletter was expanded to a four-page publication for the second and third issues. Its founding editor was James W. Markham.

Over the years, some major upgrades have been made to ensure that the publication better serves ICD members and non-ICD readers. Since its fourth issue in 1966, ICB was often published with six pages and continuously issued in January, April, July, and October for two decades. During the eight years from 1966 through 1973, the ICB was published by the University of Iowa School of Journalism. When James W. Markham passed away in February 1972, Hanno Hardt (Iowa) succeeded as the ICB editor. In 1974, two issues were produced at Temple University School of Communications and Theater under Sam G. Riley’s editorship. From 1975 through 1985, the University of Maryland College of Journalism was home to ICB, with L. John Martin as its editor for 11 years. At the beginning of 1986, the ICD publication was moved to the then School of Communication (now College of Communication and Information Sciences) at the University of Alabama. Since 1987, ICB has been issued each spring and fall as – most of the time – a more-than-30-page publication under the leadership of Yorgo Pasadeos (Alabama), who is now in his 21st year of service as the ICB editor, the longest in ICD’s history.

ICD’s Major Initiatives

ICD’s tradition of collaborating with other AEJMC divisions began soon after its founding. As early as in 1968, for example, the Division co-sponsored a session with the Radio and Television Division on international broadcasting and another one with the Mass Communication and Society Division on the coverage of the Vietnam War. ICD’s tradition of hosting sessions on international communication teaching can also be traced to the 1968 AEJ annual convention. A roundtable discussion was moderated by Floyd G. Arpan (Indiana), the then ICD Teaching Committee Chair. Other panel members were Charles Kappen (San Jose State), James W. Markham, and John B. Adams.

In addition to regular research and teaching sessions at annual conventions, ICD members have been actively interacting with media practitioners and other communication scholars. For example, in 1974, Gertrude J. Robinson (McGill) requested foreign scholars who were visiting the United States and were interested in serving on a foreign scholars panel at the San Diego convention to provide her with a resume of their research interests and ideas for the panel discussion theme. During the 1975 AEJ convention in Ottawa, Canada, ICD members had an opportunity to visit with Canadian and foreign journalists at a pre-convention reception at the National Press Club in Ottawa. During the same convention, the Canadian Department of External Affairs hosted ICD members, briefing them on Canada-U.S. relations. During the 1976 AEJ convention at the University of Maryland, ICD members attended a special briefing on the activities of the U.S. Information Agency at its headquarters, which included a discussion of the work of the USIA Office of Research. After the briefing, the group went to the USIA Press Center in the National Press Building and met with resident foreign correspondents. In 1978, ICD co-sponsored with the University of Washington School of Communications a pre-convention workshop at the AEJ convention. The workshop focused on mass communication research in South and East Asia. At the 1991 Boston convention, ICD for the first time held a social co-sponsored by the Chinese Communication Association and the Korean American Communication Association.

Over the years, ICD has also promoted many out-of-convention activities. As early as in 1974, the Division co-sponsored with the Department of Communication, Universidad Iberoamericana, a seminar in Mexico City, March 11-15. John C. Merrill (Missouri), the 1972-73 ICD Head, planned and put on this first-ever overseas conference for the Division. Ramona Rush (Florida), the then ICD Head, and Jesus M. Cortina (Iberoamericana) co-directed the seminar. Richard R. Cole (North Carolina) and Albert L. Hester (Georgia) co-edited the seminar’s proceedings and published them in book form. In 1978, ICD co-sponsored a daylong symposium on precision journalism and mass media technology in Warsaw. This symposium was in honor of Raymond B. Nixon (United States) and Francesco Fattorello (Italy), two pioneers in international communication and leaders in the International Association for Mass Communication Research (IAMCR), and marked ICD’s first major cooperation with IAMCR and the International Organization of Journalists. ICD coordinators for the symposium were Ramona R. Rush and Richard R. Cole. In May 1983, ICD held an overseas conference in Seoul, in conjunction with the Korean Society for Journalism and Communication Studies, on the theme of “Agendas for World Communication.” Jae-Won Lee (Cleveland State), the then ICD Head, coordinated this collaboration. In April 1991, ICD held its first mini-conference on international communication and ethics at the University of Missouri under Robert Knight’s and John C. Merrill’s initiative. In 1994, ICD co-sponsored, along with other AEJMC divisions, the Media and Environment Conference in Reno, Nevada, April 7-9. Most recently, ICD has co-sponsored the International Media 2000 Conference held at Ohio University on March 10-11 (organized by Anne Cooper-Chen) and the Global Fusion 2000 Conference held in October 2000 in St. Louis, jointly hosted by Southern Illinois University’s College of Mass Communication & Media Arts (Carbondale) and Department of Mass Communications (Edwardsville).

While promoting academic and professional activities in and outside conventions, ICD members have demonstrated their generosity by supporting overseas colleagues who are in need. In 1975, following a hurricane that caused great devastation, ICD received an appeal for help in the form of equipment from the Instituto Centroamericano de Ciencias y Tecnicas de la Comunicacion in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. The ICD Executive Committee authorized a $50 contribution for the purchase of equipment in the name of the Division. In 1989, Anne Cooper-Chen, the then Division Head, initiated the ICD Great Overseas Book Project as a response to a call from Everette Dennis (Gannett Center for Media Studies) for mass communication books and journals to support overseas colleagues and libraries. The project was continued to the 1991 AEJMC convention in Boston. Erwin K. Thomas (Norfolk State) was in charge of the project. In 1992, a similar call was made in ICB to ICD members for donating journalism and mass communication textbooks to Nigerian colleagues in Lagos. In 2000 such a call was made to donate journalism textbooks to the university library in Rwanda.

In 2001-2002, Joe Foote, then president of the AEJMC, launched AEJMC’s Internationalization Task Force (ITF). The ITF has 40 members from the ICD. Robyn S. Goodman (Alfred) and Kazumi Hasegawa (Maryland-Baltimore), both former ICD heads, are not only pivotal in ITF endeavors, but also instrumental in keeping ICD members informed of ITF initiatives and accomplishments, mainly through several articles they published in ICB (ICB, Vol. 38, No. 1-2, 2003; Vol., 39, No. 3-4, 2004, Vol. 40, No. 3-4, 2005). The first World Journalism Education Congress (WJEC), as part of ITF initiatives, is scheduled for 2007 in Singapore.

In 2005, ICD’s first international teaching booklet, 50 Fabulous Ways to Internationalize Your Journalism and Mass Communication Courses, was published. The booklet was the brainchild of Edna Bautista and was a result of a brainstorming session at the 2004 pre-convention teaching workshop.

Challenge of Growth

In the past 40 years, ICD has grown from its 47 founding members in August 1965 to about 500 members in 2006. ICD’s growth has not occurred without the efforts of many clear-headed Division leaders, who have constantly reminded members that the Division’s survival is a challenge. The most illustrative is perhaps a sharp question raised by Anne Cooper-Chen in her 1989 “ICD Head’s Message”: “Should we put ourselves out of business?” In her message, Cooper-Chen quoted James F. Scotton (Marquette) as saying, “The Division risks getting out of the mainstream if it continues on its present path” (ICB, Vol. 24, Fall 1989, p. 3). Scotton bemoaned the heavy reliance on content analysis, calling for (a) non-content studies, (b) longitudinal studies, and (c) effects studies. Similarly, Christine L. Ogan (Indiana) called the field of international communication “anecdotal and atheoretical” (ibid.). Cooper-Chen, Ogan, and Scotton’s concern was echoed in Tsan-Kuo Chang’s (Minnesota) 1991 “ICD Head’s Message.” Based on ICD’s moderate size and its limited funds, Chang concluded that “our division has a long way to go to attract more talents and interest,” urging ICD colleagues to take “a more active leadership role within AEJMC to provide a much-needed international focus for work of other divisions” (ICB, Vol. 26, Spring 1991, p. 4).

Over the years, consistent efforts have been made by numerous ICD members to help our Division grow. In 1975 Richard R. Cole and Vernon Keel (South Dakota State) updated the ICD membership directory first produced in 1973 by John C. Merrill and J. Laurence Day (Kansas). This updated directory included information on ICD members, journalism schools, and research centers in communications. For the first time the directory included an international guide. In the same year, efforts were also made to arrange reciprocal affiliate membership between AEJ and IAMCR, one of many membership exchanges and affiliations considered by the Division and by AEJMC ever since.

There has been a sustained effort to increase membership in the Division over the last three decades. Membership and Promotion committees, under the leadership of John S. Nichols (Penn State) and Abraham Bass (Northern Illinois), among others, have targeted specific groups such as international graduate students and overseas AEJ members. Promotional materials have included slides and brochures. In 1984, Chin-Chuan Lee (Minnesota), the then ICD International Committee Chair, began “to explore ways to promote the usefulness of ICD to colleagues abroad and to enhance our U.S. members’ opportunities of studying or working abroad” (ICB, Vol. 19, No. 4, 1984, p. 39). In 1985, Bonnie J. Brownlee (Indiana), the then Division Secretary, worked hard on a membership drive that took the form of a contest. She announced in an open letter to ICD members published in ICB that a sophisticated short-wave radio (a $200 value) would go to the member who could recruit the most new members in that year. Two years later, Brownlee wrote as the Division Head, “Because AEJMC’s International Committee . . . has been disbanded for lack of clear mandate . . ., I feel particularly committed to expanding our divisional activities beyond the borders of the United States, beyond the confines of AEJMC” (Brownlee, “Head’s Report,” ICB, Vol. 22, Fall 1987, pp. 5-6).

Paper Submissions

For years, our Division has been highly competitive and active in research. As the AEJMC Standing Committee on Research noted in its 1989-90 annual report, ICD was “one of the leading divisions in sheer numbers of papers” (Chang, “ICD Head’s Message,” ICB, Vol. 26, Spring 1991, p. 4). The Division received 51 papers in 1988, 66 in 1989, and 67 in 1990. Because of increased submissions and limited space available, the acceptance rate of the papers was decreasing: 48% in 1988, 47% in 1989, and 45% in 1990. The last figure, according to Tsan-Kuo Chang, ranked 9th among the 15 divisions, suggesting a higher rejection rate in our Division. In 1999, the Division received 117 papers, one of the highest submission numbers for the New Orleans convention. Acceptance rate for open papers in 2005 was 31%, the lowest in its category among all AEJMC divisions. In 2006, the Division received a total of 131 papers.

The increased submission of papers to the Division also means an increased need for more participation of ICD members. By 1999, Kazumi Hasegawa (Emerson), the then Research Chair, and Peter Gross (California State – Chico), the then Student Paper Competition Coordinator, developed what Michael G. Elasmar (Boston), the then ICD Head, called “the most impressive list of paper reviewers our division has ever seen” (Elasmar, “ICD Head’s Message,” ICB, Vol. 34, Spring 1999, p. 3). With more than 130 voluntary reviewers, this list has met the Division’s needs for annual paper reviews and provided an expert pool for journals and other publications in international communication.

Fundamental Projects

In the last few years, more fundamental projects have been conducted within the Division. During the 1998-99 academic year, Michael G. Elasmar completed two large-scale surveys among Division members. A membership census, which collected ICD members’ names, expertise areas, and contact information, was designed “to help those outside our field find an expert with their qualities, and help you search for colleagues worldwide with similar areas of expertise for collaborative work” (ibid.). The other survey led to a list of journals that ICD members positively evaluated and recommended as “receptive for international communication manuscripts” (ibid.).

In the 1999-2000 academic year, Sandhya Rao (Texas State), then ICD Head, drafted a “job description” for each ICD officer. Intended to “serve as a guide to new officers as they come in and enable them to be even more productive” (Rao, “Division Head’s Message,” ICB, Vol. 34, Fall 1999, p. 5). This document has been posted on ICD’s home page. Also, the International News writing Contest, first launched by Rao as Teaching Standards Chair at the 1997 Chicago convention for students in the United States, was opened to undergraduates in all countries in order to “make the division’s activities more inclusive of all international scholars” (ibid.). Rao continues to coordinate this important contest.

In the last few years, ICD has been using the Internet as a new communication vehicle to disseminate information among the Division members and to promote the Division worldwide. In 1996, Jyotika Ramaprasad (Southern Illinois-Carbondale), a former ICD Head, became the Division’s first Webmaster, creating its home page. During the 1999-2000 academic year, Rosental C. Alves (Texas), then ICD Webmaster, offered many links of value to the Division’s members. Since 2001, Kazumi Hasegawa, ICD Head during 2000-2001 and ICD Webmaster, added new features and keeps the Web site updated. The URL for current ICD Web site is <http://www.icd-aejmc.org/>. In 2002, Richard C. Vincent (Indiana State), then ICD Secretary, created a listserv for the division, which enabled the division to disseminate messages to most of its members instantly via e-mail. Sundeep Muppidi, Head of ICD during 2005-2006, has streamlined the Web site and continues to include useful information.

The Division’s Major Awards

ICD honors selected individuals (occasionally, institutions) with several Division awards each year, all presented during AEJMC national conventions. In 1980, it began with the AEJ convention in Boston to make a Distinguished Service to International Communication Award. The award is “conferred on an individual or medium adjudged to have made an outstanding contribution in the field of international communication during the preceding year or over a period of years” (ICB, Vol. 15, No. 2, 1980, p. 265). Recipients of this award in the past include the Christian Science Monitor (1980, 1987), Robert Cox (1981), Floyd G. Arpan (1982), Alex S. Edelstein (1983), Wilbur Schramm (1984), John C. Merrill (1985), L. John Martin (1989), Committee to Protect Journalists (2002). The International Scholar of the 20th Century Award was presented posthumously to Dr. Wilbur Schramm (2000). The Distinguished Service Award for lifetime achievement was presented posthumously to Dr. Everett M. Rogers (2005). Besides, several Division officers have been honored for their dedicated service to the ICD.

The Division’s James W. Markham Award Competition is held annually. On February 7, 1972, Dr. James W. Markham (1910-72), founder and editor of ICB (1966-72) and a major founder of ICD, passed away. ICB editors carried a photo of Dr. Markham’s – the first time ever and the only time so far – on this ICD publication and devoted the entire front page and one half of the second page of the April 1972 issue to Dr. Markham, whom Leslie G. Moeller, former director of the University of Iowa School of Journalism, called in her tribute, “a distinguished scholar, a revered teacher, and a fine human being” (ICB, Vol. 7, No. 2, 1972, p. 131). Three annual awards for student papers were established and named after Dr. Markham by ICD with memorial contributions to honor “quality papers in the field of international communication” (ICB, Vol. 8, No. 4, 1973, p. 155). The first Markham awards were announced at the 1973 AEJ Convention in Fort Collins, Colorado. Thomas Pasqua (Texas) was first-place winner, receiving a check for $100 in addition to a certificate presented to all three winners. Pasqua also gave a brief summary of his paper at the ICD meeting during the convention. Second-place honor went to Dennis L. Wilcox (Missouri), and Leroy J. Gregory, Jr. (Florida) took third place for his paper. In 1979, the Division invited for the first time in ICB, undergraduates to submit papers for the James W. Markham Award Competition.

The first annual Mary A. Gardner (Michigan State) Scholarship was awarded at the 1983 AEJMC convention in Corvallis, Oregon. The $500 award and a certificate were given to a student in an accredited news-editorial program who was interested in news reporting and editing as a career and had a GPA of 3.0 or better. Funding was provided by Dr. Gardner’s three former students: Gloria Anderson, of the New York Times Syndicate, Miami; Jean Etsinger, then of the Miami Heralds; and Frank Denton, of the Wisconsin State Journal. In 1985, the Mary A. Gardner Scholarship capital was increased by a $1,000 contribution from Jean Etsinger. The award was handed over to the AEJMC’s central authority during the 1993-94 academic year and has been handled by them ever since.

Since the 1993 Kansas City AEJMC convention, ICD has given a Best Faculty Paper Award annually, selected in the Division’s open paper competition. The winner receives a recognition certificate and a $100 monetary prize. More recently, ICD has also been recognizing the winners of the International News writing Contest with cash awards. In 2000, taking the unique turn-of-the-century opportunity, the International Communication Scholar of the 20th Century Award was given posthumously to Dr. Wilbur Schramm at a special panel organized in his honor at the Phoenix convention. The plaque was sent to Stanford University where Dr. Schramm spent many years.

In 2002-2003, with the endorsement of the ICD executive committee and membership, Hong Cheng, the then ICD Head, approached Eddie Kuo, editor of the Asian Journal of Communication, and Arnold de Beer, editor of Ecquid Novi: South African Journal of Journalism Research, with the idea of establishing an AJC award and an EN award for ICD. During the 2003 AEJMC convention in Kansas City, AJC and EN presented their first certificates and cash awards at the ICD members’ meeting. In 2004, AJC published a special issue for selected ICD research papers, including winner of the first AJC Award for International Communication Research, co-authored by Hyuhn-Suhck Bae (Yeungnam) and Byoungkwan Lee (Michigan State). So far, AJC and EN have sponsored their awards three years in a row. During the 2004 and 2005 AEJMC conventions, U.K.-based Taylor & Francis Group, publisher for AJC, also sponsored a reception at ICD members’ meetings.

The Division has indeed come a long way. With a large number of enthusiastic members and the current trends of globalization, the International Communication Division is all set to move forward.


Table 1: Milestones of the International Communication Division

Years Milestones
1965 AEJ approves ICD’s formation. There are 47 founding members, and John B. Adams (North Carolina) is the Division’s first Head.
1966 The International Communication Bulletin (ICB) is inaugurated with James W. Markham (Iowa) as the founding editor.
1970 Doctoral students can compete in a student paper contest.
1971 The student paper contest is open to all graduate students.
1973 The James W. Markham Award Competition is started.
1974 ICD sponsors first out-of-convention seminar with the Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City.
1975 ICD responds to appeal for help from hurricane-devastated Honduras by donating money for equipment purchase.
1980 The first Distinguished Service Award is given to the Christian Science Monitor. Undergraduates are also invited to submit papers for the James W. Markham Award Competition.
1983 The first Mary A. Gardner Scholarship is awarded (since 1993-94 this award has been given by AEJMC’s central authority).
1984 The Distinguished Service Award is given to Wilbur Schramm.
1985 Division’s Secretary announces the gift of a short-wave radio (a $200 value) to one who recruits the most new members.
1987 The International Communication Bulletin adopts a new format.
1996 ICD celebrates 30 years of existence at AEJMC’s Anaheim convention. ICD’s home page is created.
1997 The International News writing Contest is launched.
1998 First ICD membership census and first communication journal survey are conducted.
1999 ICD has nearly 400 members with about 75 being overseas.
2000 The International Scholar of the 20th Century Award is presented posthomously to Dr. Wilbur Schramm. The plaque was sent to Stanford University.
2001 The International Communication Bulletin adopts a journal format.
2002 The Distinguished Service Award goes to the Committee to Protect Journalists. ICD’s listserv was created.
2003 First Asian Journal of Communication and Ecquid Novi awards for international communication research were given.
2005 Distinguished Service Award for lifetime achievement to the late Dr. Everett M. Rogers, distinguished scholar and author of several books including the Diffusion of Innovations.

*This article is an updated version of the original article by Cheng, H., & Rao, S (2000), “Thirty-five years at a glimpse: A brief history of ICD’s growth,” published in the International Communication Bulletin, 35 (1-2).