The 68th Annual ICA Conference in Prague 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 2018 ICA Fellows Book Award was awarded to: John Durham Peters (Yale U), for Speaking Into the Air: A History of the Idea of Communication [U of Chicago Press, 1999]. In keeping with the spirit of the Fellows Book Award, this work has truly passed the test of time. The committee says of the book: “Peters’ book has become indispensable in communication theory: it takes on and successfully clashes with the leading presupposition of nearly all contemporary thinking about the mass media: that any mass-mediated communication is an insufficient and inadequate substitute for the fullness and beauty of two-person face-to-face conversation. Peters argues that we should recognize two communicative ideals – the conversational ideal (which he identifies with the Greeks) and a sermonic ideal (which he locates in the Christian tradition and in Jesus in particular). He does not denigrate dialogue but he ennobles dissemination as an equally valuable communicative ideal. Indeed, it is a is a mode of communication, he argues, that affords greater respect for and for and deference to the autonomy of the individual than dialogue does. It imposes less, it cajoles less than conversational communication does; it lives more with the presumption that it is up to the to the individual listener to adopt or reject the position the speaker articulates. Once you accept this move, most contemporary thinking about mass communication seems suddenly shallow, misconceived, and misplaced.”
(Committee: Chair: Larry Gross; members: Joseph Chan, Jan Radway, John Hartley, and Liz Bird)
The 2018 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 Elihu Katz (U of Pennsylvania and Hebrew U of Jerusalem). The work of Elihu Katz sets a standard of unparalleled career achievement. Not only has Katz produced a body of scholarship that drives the field’s intellectual currents and anticipates where it goes next, but his ongoing and energetic engagement with central research problems has provided a productive and innovative compass for situating communication on the broader disciplinary horizon. Exceptional for its originality, richness and proven history of inspiring multiple generations of scholars, Katz’s work is both robust in scope—23 books, 193 articles—and legendary in reputation—recognized, among other awards, by the Israel Prize and ten honorary doctorates from universities across the US, Europe and Asia. Katz’s 60-odd years of scholarship and steady public engagement—an in-depth review of the BBC and consultation on the establishment of Israel Television—have instrumentally shaped the intellectual and global resonance of communication as a field. Intimations of his influence can be found in scholarship on public opinion, the two-step flow, media effects, diffusion of innovations, uses and gratifications, reception studies, media rituals and the history of the field.
(Committee: Chair: Barbie Zelizer; members: Zrinjka Perusko, Sonia Livingstone, Radha Hedge, and Thomas Hanitzsch)
The 2018 Outstanding Book Award went to presented to Natalia Roudakova (Independent Scholar) for Losing Pravda: Ethics and the Press in Post-Truth Russia. In this theoretically grounded examination of Soviet and Post-Soviet journalism, Roudakova offers a refreshingly original argument supported by strong evidence from a skillful ethnography. Propelled by the author’s unique access to the Russian journalism work culture, where she has been conducting research for over a decade, the book dispels many of the longstanding misbeliefs and misunderstandings of Russian journalism that are often promoted in Western media. Losing Pravda: Ethics and the Press in Post-Truth Russia not only pushes our field beyond the Western paradigm of journalism but also offers a compelling critique of the assumption that ‘democracy’ is a self-evident goal of journalism, as well as guiding readers through a stimulating discussion on cynicism. The book’s relevance reaches beyond our field into neighboring disciplines as well as informing our understanding of the changing nature of journalism around the globe.
(Committee: Chair: Bruce Hardy; members: Zizi Papacharissi, John Hartley, John Erni, and Vicky Mayer)
The 2018 Applied/Public Policy Research Award was given jointly to Peter Clarke (U of Southern California) and Susan Evans (U of Southern California) for the ‘From the Wholesaler to the Hungry’ programme. The From the Wholesaler to the Hungry program embodies the best in applied communication research. This research has spanned over 25 years and at an impressive scale, collaborating with a rich diversity of stakeholders such as food banks, pantries, places of worship, school districts, and statewide health initiatives to benefit the poor and malnourished in many communities, while enhancing environmental sustainability. Their work has also been captured in a series of top-notch journal articles that have the potential to inspire and educate future proponents of such societally beneficial translational research. With their admirable efforts in advancing humanity through such a concrete contribution, Peter Clarke and Susan Evans truly epitomise the spirit and ideals of the Applied Research Award.
(Committee: Chair: Sun Sun Lim; members: Peter Busse, Sharon Strover, Jonathan Corpus Ong and Melanie Wakefield)
The Outstanding Article Award of 2018 was awarded to Hua Wang (U of Buffalo) and Arvind Singhal (U of Texas - El Paso) for: East Los High: Transmedia Edutainment to Promote the Sexual and Reproductive Health of Young Latina/o Americans. American Journal of Public Health, 106(6), 1002–1010. In this article, Wang and Singhal explore the potential of transmedia storytelling for health promotion and social change. Focusing on an innovative large-scale intervention targeting a minority population, the article examines how multi-platform edutainment can address acute social problems. The study uses a sophisticated multi-layered research design, which enables an examination of this complex question from multiple perspectives and yields a holistic view of audiences’ experiences, knowledge and attitudes. With its transdisciplinary relevance, innovative methodology, and far-reaching practical implications, this article promises to have a lasting contribution to research and practice not only in the field of health communication but also in the broader areas of message design and narrative communication.
(Committee: Chair: Keren Tenenboim-Weinblatt; members Chul-joo Lee, Leslie Steeves, Elfriede Fursich, and Angie Valdivia)
The 2018 Young Scholar Award was given to Christopher Wells (U of Wisconsin-Madison). The Young Scholar Award committee was very impressed by the large number of extremely high quality nominees that it received this year, many of whom are more than worthy for the 2018 award. As the best of the best, the committee decided that most deserving to receive the award is Christopher Wells. The committee considered his work in the field of political communication to be highly relevant, timely, and cutting-edge. Dr. Wells published a large number of outstanding manuscripts in leading journals in the field of communication, book chapters as well as a well-received book. His work is conceptually well founded, methodologically innovative and well-articulated. It is also much appreciated, proven by the fact that, as of date, it has been cited over 1,300 times. His H-index is 19. And all of that within seven years since receiving his PhD. To quote a few of his endorsers: “he is smart, motivated, and fearless in his research”, “he is already a thought leader in the field of communication”, and “he certainly outshines most of the people in his field at his level”. The committee feels that based upon his high productivity and the high quality of his work, Dr. Wells is one of the most promising communication scholars of his cohort.
(Committee: Chair: Bas van den Putte; members: Mohan J. Dutta, Frank Esser, Craig Scott, and Isabel Molina-Guzman)
The 2018 Aubrey Fisher Mentorship Award to Linda Putnam (U of California-Santa Barbara). Professor Putnam stood out for not only the impressive breadth and number of students she has mentored over the years but also in the personal care and sensitivity that she has shown in this mentorship. Her guidance and support has reach across national and disciplinary borders reaching beyond the field of organisational communication. She has influenced individuals across different levels of seniority and empowered those who perhaps have not had the easiest path to travel in their academic careers. She is also committed to striving not just for academic excellence but also promoting work-life balance and gender equality. Her dedication to students is clear in the warm letters of recommendation and fond memories of how she repeatedly went above and beyond what is expected of an academic adviser, ushering the careers and improving the lives of her mentees all throughout their careers. Linda Putnam deserves without contestation the Aubrey Fisher Mentorship award for the clear and obvious passion that she has for the field and for her students. We should all aspire to be a bit more like her!
(Committee: Chair: Ellen Helsper; members: Clarissa David, Jennifer Bartlett and Jessica Taylor Piotrowski, Mary Beth Oliver)