Annual Meeting Minutes

AEJMC 2015
Mass Communication & Society Division
Annual Business Meeting
San Francisco, CA

MCS Head Kevin Williams called the meeting to order at 7:02 p.m. PST. The chairs’ report was distributed as a PowerPoint via a flash drive given to MCS members at AEJMC registration. Incoming Secretary Brendan Watson took the minutes.

Membership report

  • The division now has approximately 406 members (in 2014 there were approximately 434 members); Williams expressed some concern that new interest groups could be siphoning off some members; there were 39 graduate student members as of July 1, 2015
  • Current dues are $24 dollars (includes journal subscription); $10 for graduate student members

Financial report

  • Williams reported that the division is financially very healthy; the division’s balance is approximately $30,321; there is $345,000 in the journal reserves

Research committee report

  • Williams reported that the division had 157 submissions and 79 acceptances for an acceptance rate of 50.3% submission, approximately the acceptance rate that AEJMC encourages divisions to maintain
  • The division does need more Moeller paper competition (for papers written for class projects) submissions; this year there were only four submissions, two of which were accepted, and both which won paper awards; Williams urged members to promote the competition to their students; instructors/professors’ only role is verifying by email that the paper was written for a class assignment; there are three Moeller paper awards (1st, 2nd, 3rd)
  • This year the division had 151 paper judges, averaging three papers per judge; William Kinnally won the division’s award for top paper reviewer; Juliana Fernandes and Jason Martin were awarded free conference registrations by the division for their service
  • Paper award winners (awards presented at MC&S off-site social at ThirstyBear following division business meeting)
    • Open competition
      • First Place: NGOs, Hybrid Connective Action, and the People’s Climate March. Suzannah Evans, Daniel Riffe and Joe Bob Hester, North Carolina at Chapel Hill
      • Second Place: The Impact of Political Identity Salience on the Third-Person Perception and Political Participation Intention. Hyunjung Kim, Sungkyunkwan University
      • Third Place: Reducing Stigmatization Associated with Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency. Michelle Baker, Juniata College
    • Student competition
      • First Place: Social Pressure for Social Good? Motivations for Completing the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Jared Brickman, Washington State
      • Second Place: Is Social Viewing the New Laugh Track? Examining the Effect of Traditional and Digital Forms of Audience Response on Comedy Enjoyment. Franklin Waddell and Erica Bailey, Pennsylvania State
      • Third Place: The Discourse of Sacrifice in Natural Disaster: The Case Study of Thailand’s 2011 Floods. Penchan Phoborisut, Utah
    • Moeller competition
      • First Place: “Let’s Keep This Quiet:” Media Framing of Campus Sexual Assault, Its Causes, and Proposed Solutions. Jane O’Boyle and Jo-Yun Queenie Li, University of South Carolina
      • Second Place: Heaven, Hell, and Physical Viral Media: An Analysis of the Work of Jack T. Chick. Philip Williams, Regent University
    • MC&S continued its tradition of the strongest showing of the AEJMC divisions at the Midwinter meeting; the division had 40 submissions, 25 acceptances, for an acceptance rate of 62.5%
    • Research awards
      • Jason Martin, Jessica Gall Myrick, and Kimberly K. Walker won the $10,000 research award/grant for their project titled Get Your Game Frame Off My Obamacare: The Cognitive, Affective, and Attitudinal Effects of Health Care Legislation News Coverage on Young Adults
      • Meredith Clark won the $3,000 award for the top dissertation in mass communication and society for her dissertation To Tweet Our Own Cause: A Mixed-Methods Study of the Online Phenomenon ‘BlackTwitter’

Teaching committee report

  • MC&S co-hosted with The Commission on the Status of Women a pre-conference workshop titled Google and Data Journalism: A Match Made in Data Viz Heaven
  • And hosted or co-hosted another four panels during the main conference
  • Teaching awards
    • The following faculty who have taught no more than 5 years won the Promising Professor Award
      • First Place: Brooke McKeever, South Carolina
      • Second Place: Rowena L. Briones, Virginia Commonwealth University
      • Third Place: Vanessa Bravo, Elon University
    • The following graduate students who served as teachers of record were also recognized with Promising Professor Awards
  • First Place: Julia Daisy Fraustino, University of Maryland
  • Second Place: Amanda J. Weed, Ohio University
  • Third Place: Young Kim, Louisiana State University
  • Carol Pardun, University of South Carolina, won the division’s Distinguished Educator Award; unfortunately Pardun, who was lauded for her significant contributions to teaching and the field more generally, was not in attendance as she was enjoying a sabbatical

PF&R report                         

  • The division sponsored four PF&R panels
  • Unfortunately the division’s off-site visit to Carat was canceled two weeks prior to the conference and no off-site visit was rescheduled in order to focus on existing programming at the conference
  • Among the PF&R committee’s activities in the prior year, the division paid $6,250 to sponsor a division member’s participation in the AEJMC Diverse Leadership in Journalism and Communication Institute
  • The division also contributed $500 to support the Barrow Minority Doctoral Student Scholarship

Other activities

  • Ruoxu Wang migrated the division’s website to WordPress
  • Aidan Porter, University of Memphis, won the new logo competition (competition committee was chaired by Matt Haught)

Mass Communication & Society (journal) report

  • The journal’s acceptance rate was 10.3%
  • The five-year impact factor up to 1.205
  • The journal has a very healthy journal reserve balance of $388,308
  • Editor Ran Wei did not run for a second term as editor, having previously served as an associate editor for a considerable tenure prior to assuming the editor position
  • Francesca Carpentier, UNC-Chapel Hill, chaired an editor selection committee, which recommended Dr. Fuyuan Shen, associate professor of advertising/public relations at Penn State as the next editor
    • Kevin Williams gave membership two weeks to consider and vote online on recommendation

Division bylaw revisions

  • First issue put to membership vote was weather to lower member dues (currently $24 dollars); Kevin Williams also advocated for reducing graduate student dues to $0
    • Steve Perry had co-chaired a committee to discuss what to do with journal reserve funds; one option is to set-up investment fund; interest can be used as income for division, which could support lowering division dues; Williams, however, suggested that the division see what revenue is generated by such an investment prior to deciding whether to reduce division dues
    • Steve Perry pointed out that 5 years ago when Taylor and Francis renegotiated journal contract the fee charged for members to receive the journal was reduced; thus the division currently is getting more of that $24 for its operational budget
  • The membership voted 14 to 6 to keep dues at $24 dollars (Brendan Watson counted votes); it was suggested that the division should revisit at its 2016 business meeting whether to reduce division dues
  • Bylaws change suggested creating the position of vice-head elect, as well as broadening the criteria of division officers to include committee members; language requiring attendance at Midwinter chip auction, now obsolete, was also removed
  • Given broader inclusion of “officers” Williams opened up discussion as to whom should be on the MC&S “executive committee of division”; in addition to chairs and associate chairs we now have committee members, which makes the officer slate much larger; the suggested bylaws define the executive committee as “The MC&S executive committee shall be composed of the division head, vice head, vice head elect, immediate past head, Communication committee chair, PF&R chair, Teaching chair, Awards chair, Research chair and division journal editor.”
  • All officer bylaw revisions were unanimously approved by the membership
  • Next, a bylaws revision was suggested that meeting quorum be defined as “the division members present,” not a majority of the membership
  • That suggested bylaw revision was tabled after discussion so that the proposed language could be revised; concern was expressed about what constitutes an “official meeting” and whether those meetings had to be advertised to members
  • Next, the membership unanimously approved changes to the bylaws that remove criteria for each award (and thus require bylaw changes if those criteria are updated), allowing for more general award language to allow for criteria to be updated by relevant committees
    • However, it was pointed out that the language needed to be updated to reflect the chair/associate chair, not chair, co-chair structure of new officer positions
  • Next the journal bylaw changes were presented; first, it was suggested that the bylaws be revised so that a portion of membership dues may be transferred to journal reserves, rather than making such transfers necessary.
  • Additionally, it was suggested that the following language be inserted concerning the journal’s reserve funds: “The Division should aim to maintain a balance in the journal account equal to twice the annual expenses. In addition, a long-term fund (initially $100,000) will be maintained in an investment managed in coordination with AEJMC endowment funds. Such fund principle would only be accessed for future emergency journal needs. Revenues generated by this investment will return to the division annually to underwrite free graduate student division membership and other division expenses.”
  • It was also suggested that the bylaws be amended to provide for a $2,500 summer stipend for the journal editor, recognizing that work on the journal continues over the summer when the editor has not been receiving a stipend and is not paid on the typical 9-month university contract
  • It was also suggested that the guest-editor stipend be increased from $1,000 to $1,500
  • These following bylaw changes were unanimously approved by the membership
  • Lastly, it was suggested that the journal bylaws be amended to provide $5,000 to AEJMC to support graduate student travel to the annual AEJMC conference; there was discussion as to whether these travel monies should instead be awarded directly by MC&S to graduate-student members of the division, or alternatively that the division should ask AEJMC to administer these funds, but make sure that they are earmarked for division members; Steve Perry pointed out that original idea was to recognize AEJMC and help support larger organization; discussion ensued about various strengths/weaknesses of proposals
    • This issue was tabled to come up with more specific criteria for the awarding of these travel funds (there was one dissenting vote to table this issue)

Non-bylaw changes

  • Lastly, Kevin Williams asked members to vote on issues that did not require changes to the divisions bylaws
    • First, it was suggested that graduate student dues be changed from $10/year to $0; Williams was asked about the rationale; Williams pointed out that there is some precedent set by other divisions making similar changes, and that one incentive of the division is to collect students’ contact information for membership recruitment purposes; additionally, MC&S is not reliant on the $390 in dues that graduate students currently contribute to the division; membership approved the change of graduate dues to $0 with two dissenting votes (note the irony, that both dissenting votes were from graduate students)
    • Next, the membership unanimously approved changing the budget for the research award/grant to $25,000, with a cap of $10,000 for an individual award; additionally, $5,000 must be spent on graduate student research
    • Next, it was discussed whether MC&S should extend free conference registration to all division award winners; a concern was expressed that such a change supports those from larger, successful programs that already have decent research/travel support, and that the division should use its resources to expand participation in the division/conference; the majority (17 members) voted to keep the current conference registration reimbursement practices
    • Should extend free conference registration to all award winners; currently all top-paper award winners (top authors) get free conference registration; 17 vote to leave the current rules the same; 6 voted to table issue
    • Membership voted unanimously to make the AEJMC Diversity Institute and Barrow Minority Doctoral Student Scholarship annual MC&S division commitments
    • The membership also voted 15 to 6 to allow individuals who submit papers to the AEJMC open paper competition to also review papers as part of that competition
    • Members were also asked to vote on potential sites for the 2019 AEJMC conference; results in order of popularity were Toronto (clear winner); Atlanta (4); Tampa (4); and Philadelphia (3)
    • Lastly, the membership unanimously approved the slate of new MC&S division officers
    • Incoming head Jensen Moore said she’d send out additional business on the MC&S Listserv