2012 ICA Research Awards Presented in Phoenix

The International Communication Association presented seven prestigious research awards to nine communication scholars at its annual awards ceremony in Phoenix on Saturday, 26 May 2012. Lana Rakow (U of North Dakota) chaired the ICA Research Awards Committee, which selected the winners.

The 2012 honorees included:

The Chaffee Productivity Award recognizes a scholar, or small group of collaborating scholars, for sustained work on a communication problem over a long period of time, with preference given to original work that is conceptually rich and makes an advance in communication knowledge. The 2012 recipient was Peter Monge, is Professor of Communication at the Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism at the U of Southern California.

“Peter Monge has become a leading authority in the study of communication networks, providing theoretical richness to research on networks while exploring new concepts, terrains, and applications in the field," said the Chaffee Award Subcommittee of the ICA Research Awards Committee. “In addition to an impressive record of research grants (including $1 million from the NSF) and invited national and international lectures, he has advised students who have won a remarkable number of awards themselves, including some five ICA and NCA Dissertation Awards.  Professor Monge’s leadership has literally changed the trajectory of network studies.”


The 2012 Outstanding Book Award went to Natalie Jomini Stroud (Assistant Professor of Communication Studies at the U of Texas - Austin), for her publication Niche News: The Politics of News Choice (Oxford University Press, 2011). The award recognizes a book published in the past two years that is distinguished by its importance to the disciplines represented in ICA, for the problem it addresses, for its quality of writing and argument, and for its quality of evidence.

"In this accessible, thought-provoking, and richly documented book, Natalie Stroud offers a sweeping look at political polarization in American news media and their audiences," said the Outstanding Book Award Subcommittee. “Revitalizing the classic theory of ‘selective exposure,’ and employing a compelling mix of experiments, surveys, panel studies, and content analyses of a variety of media coverages, the author reveals just how partisan selective exposure connects the world of the media and the politics—a message of profound implications for the practice of democracy in the United States and beyond.”


Keith Hampton (Associate Professor of Communication, Rutgers U), Lauren Sessions Goulet and Eun Ja Her (both doctoral candidates at Annenberg School for Communication at the U of Pennsylvania), were selected to receive the 2012 Outstanding Article Award for their paper “Core Networks, Social Isolation, and New Media” (Information, Communication & Society, 14:510-28, 2011). The award recognizes an article published within the past 2 years in a refereed journal that is distinguished by its coherence of argument, quality of conceptual development, and effective use of evidence, especially one that promises to be influential over time.

"This article makes an important contribution to the study of social connectedness and technology by calling into question earlier findings that the use of new technologies has led to more social isolation," said the Outstanding Article Award Subcommittee. “The authors present evidence that there has been very little change in social isolation over the last two decades and that the use of mobile phones, Instant Messaging, and photo sharing is actually associated with larger core discussion networks. Their article is a model for challenging assumptions with courage, gathering and analyzing data with rigor, and moving our understanding forward.”


The Applied/Public Policy Research Award, which recognizes a scholar or group of researchers who have produced a systematic body of research in communication studying a particular applied or policy problem for the betterment of society during the previous 2 years, went to Ellen Wartella, Professor of Communication at Northwestern U.

"Ellen Wartella has, over an illustrious research career, shaped the scholarly field of children and media through a developmental theoretical perspective and used that research to shape more informed public policy," said the Outstanding Applied/Public Policy Award Subcommittee. “From her first testimony before the Federal Trade Commission in 1979, to her research cited in an FCC report leading to the extension of the Children’s Television Act, to her service to the Surgeon General on children and violence, to her current work with the National Academy of Sciences and National Research Council on obesity in children, Wartella has been an exemplary public intellectual.”


For the Young Scholar Award, given for a body of work following receipt of the PhD that contributes to the field of communication and shows promise for continued development, based on the work's conceptual foundations, argumentative clarity, rigor, and the recipient's productivity, the Awards Committee selected Paul Leonardi, Assistant Professor at Northwestern U. 

Leonardi, wrote the Young Scholar Award Subcommittee, “is a prolific and stellar young scholar who has made important contributions by engaging the socio-material aspects of communication technology and organizational change. Drawing on theoretical work in communication, management, and information systems, he uses methods ranging from ethnography to quantitative techniques. His writing has appeared in both mainstream communication journals as well as other prestigious outlets, while seven of his papers have collectively received 12 awards from five different professional associations.”


The James Carey Urban Communication Award, which recognizes communication research that enhances urban social interaction and civic engagement in an age of global communication, this year was awarded to Yong Jin Park, Professor of Communication at Howard U.

On Park’s proposal, the Carey Award Subcommittee said, “‘Online News Frame, Deliberation and Engagement’ addresses some of the most timely and important questions in urban communication: the ways in which the diversification of news with the advance of online media reconfigures the communicative interface of the city; and the ways in which such changes influence discourses of diversity and citizenry in the city. The proposal is ambitious and intelligent, relocating media framing approaches in the digital environment of the city and advancing links between academic studies and urban policy discourses.”


The winner of the Communication Research as an Agent of Change Award, recognizing research that has a demonstrable impact on practice outside the academy, with clear benefits to the community, was Cees Hamelink, Emeritus Professor of International Communication at the U of Amsterdam.

"Cees Hamelink has been a prolific researcher engaged with international and national government organizations, international and regional non-governmental organizations and media for more than three decades," said the CRAC subcommittee. "His work has contributed to increasing awareness of the core values of the communication rights framework with respect to the role of the media and communication in fostering equality, freedom, and participation; informing the training of journalists and media practitioners; and providing guidance to generations of scholars and media and human rights activists.”

ICA solicits nominations for its Research Awards through the Newsletter each spring and presents the awards at the annual conference. The awards competition, now in its 13th year, draws numerous nominations in all categories annually.