The 67th ICA conference in San Diego provided the association and its members with an opportunity to celebrate excellence in the field by granting various awards. Congratulations to all winners and sincere gratitude to all the members of the various ICA awards committees, who do tremendous work to select each of these recipients.
The 2017 Steven H. Chaffee Career Achievement Award
*, which honors a scholar for a sustained contribution to theoretical development or empirical research related to communication studies over an extended period, was granted to Albert C. Gunther
(U of Wisconsin-Madison). Professor Gunther has produced programmatic research on audience biases and the psychology of media effects, in numerous seminal publications spanning over 25 years. His important, influential, and popular theoretical architecture, the Influence of Presumed Media Influence, subsumed previous work on the Third Person Effect and the Hostile Media Effect. The theory illustrates how many effects of media on society take place because people perceive that (biased) media influence other people to a greater extent than themselves, which activates them to action. Professor Gunther’s sustained efforts and close attention to research designs and to the mechanics, explanations, boundaries, connections with other theories, as well as many contextual applications, have led this line of inquiry to be one of the most productive in our discipline. His students and many other scholars have extended and applied these tenets, and universities and scholarly societies have focused international workshops on their theoretical and empirical study, reflecting the deep and lasting impact of Professor Gunther’s sustained research.
(*committee: Chair: Joseph B. Walther; members: Sonia Livingstone, Zrinjka Perusko, Barbie Zelizer, and Nurit Guttman)
The 2017 Outstanding Book Award
** went to Marwan Kraidy
(U of Pennsylvania) for The Naked Blogger of Cairo. While many accounts have highlighted the role of the internet in fostering the 2010-2012 uprisings across the Arab world, Prof. Kraidy brilliantly and skillfully situates the human body as the central agent of change and locus of what he calls creative insurgency. The book offers sophisticated theorizing with the conceptualization of the human body as ‘tool, medium, symbol, and metaphor’. It is a remarkable scholarly as well as literary achievement, using glimpses and a technique resembling ‘scrolling’ through the internet and news archive to advance its startlingly powerful thesis. Prof. Kraidy has not only ordered and analyzed some of the most celebrated and disturbing images of contemporary global conflict, but also produced an ‘art history’ of these times that is unlikely to be surpassed, and a political history that offers compelling lessons well beyond the frame of the Middle East.
(**committee: Chair: Richard Rogers; members: Bruce Hardy, Zizi Papacharissi, John Hartley, John Erni)
The 2017 Applied/Public Policy Research Award
*** was given to Elaine Wittenberg
(City of Hope National Medical Center) and Joy Goldsmith
(U of Memphis). The committee praises their collaborative work that represents applied research in health communication. They have successfully developed a training tool for more effective communication between professionals and patients. The approach appears to be very comprehensive, even engaging with the sensitivities of communication at the end-of-life stage. The submission fulfils the award criteria of introducing organizational interventions. It also tries to foreground communication as a central aspect of care work, which resonates with general ICA vision.
(***committee: Chair: Sun Sun Lim; members: Peter Busse, Sharon Strover, Jonathan Corpus Ong and Melanie Wakefield)
The Outstanding Article Award****
of 2017 was awarded to Nurit Tal-Or
(U of Haifa) and Yariv Tsfati
(U of Haifa) for their 2016 article ‘When Arabs and Jews Watch TV Together: The Joint Effect of the Content and Context of Communication on Reducing Prejudice’, Journal of Communication
, 66, 646–668. The article describes a study that demonstrates how media exposure can affect inter-group attitudes in one of the most intractable conflicts of our time, the Arab-Israeli conflict. In an experiment, Israeli Jews watched a movie about the conflict that was edited to be either pro-Palestinian or pro-Israeli in the company of either a Jew or an Arab confederate co-viewer. Results showed that both the version of the film viewed and co-viewing with an Arab increase empathy and reduced stereotypes toward the co-viewer. The committee feels that this article represents the very best of communication and media scholarship. The study stands out in its conception and design, in its analytic techniques and findings and – most particularly – in its contribution to theory. It expands the scope of existing research by also considering differential message effects related to the identity of the person with whom someone is watching.
(****committee: Chair: Thomas Hanitzsch; members Rich Ling, Keren Tenenboim-Weinblatt, Leslie Steeves and Chul-joo Lee)
The 2017 Young Scholar Award*****
was given to Emily Falk
, Annenberg School, University of Pennsylvania. Professor Falk received her PhD in 2010 from UCLA. She already has $4,000,000 in grant funding as PI, has 23 refereed articles, often as first author, 22 book chapters and essays, with 20 underway in high-impact journals like Communication Monographs, Communication Methods and Measures, PLoS One, Health Psychology, Journal of Neuroscience, and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. Prof. Falk is highly cited and is helping define the field of “communication neuroscience” using methods such as fMRI. She examines how successful ideas spread, how persuasive messages can create behavior change, and how counter-arguments are activated/deactivated in smoking cessation interventions and other health communication research. Prof. Falk helped found ICA’s Communication and Biology group; she mentors students and post-docs; has given over 50 invited lectures at places like Princeton and Chicago; and headlined her own TED talk. She received DARPA’s ‘Young Faculty’ award ($500,000) and NIH’s ‘New Innovator’ award ($1,500,000). For her role in creating ICA’s exciting future, the committee unanimously chose this stunning young researcher as ICA’s 2017 Young Scholar Award winner.
(*****committee: Chair: Patti Riley; members: Bas van den Putte, Frank Esser, Mary Beth Oliver and Mohan J. Dutta).
The 2017 Aubrey Fisher Mentorship Award******
to Mary Beth Oliver
, Penn State U. In a strong field of inspiring mentors Professor Oliver stands out for her unprecedented levels of support to students on a professional and personal level. The passionate letters of those she inspired emphasize her dedication, especially to those going through tough times. She is an ethical scholar; equality and diversity are key to her philosophy which translates into successful mentoring of students, such as women of colour, who still face structural obstacles to academic success. Her dedication expresses itself not just in terms of the time and undivided attention she gives to students but also in her global reach. Individuals who are not her mentees from around the world seek her advice and she reaches out to teach them where they are. She has published and taught in innovative ways that allow others to use her work for learning, teaching and mentoring. In summary, Professor Oliver mentorship consists of long lasting professional and personal bonds that inspire those she comes across to be thriving, dedicated, ethical and personable scholars.
(******committee: Chair: Ellen Helsper; members: Clarissa David, Jennifer Bartlett and Benqian Li)
Finally, the 2017 James W. Carey Urban Communication Grant*******
was awarded to Germaine Halegoua
(U of Kansas) and Jessa Lingel
(U of Pennsylvania) for the project: Invisibility and hypervisibility: Failures of imagination in urban broadband networks. The project addresses very important issues for society and was written in a concrete language that offers confidence in their ability to reach their goals. It was superior in methodology and the presentation of its implications for urban communication. This project is also more developed and innovative. The letter of support was excellent, especially for helping articulate clearly the broad significance of the project. While the research is certainly challenging in scope, these authors have a solid track record of publications in this arena that provide confidence in their ability to continue and complete their proposed project in a timely manner.
(******* committee chair: Federico Subervi; members: Gary Kreps, Cees Hamelink, Yong-Chan Kim and Matthew Matsaganis).