The AEJMC Conference is an annual event in which journalism scholars from throughout the United States and around the world engage in panels, presentations and other sessions related to research and teaching.
While in Chicago, the scholars were free to attend sessions of their choice, as well as other events such as a keynote ceremony and evening receptions. Many scholars also used some of their free time to go sightseeing in the city.
Scholar Dr. Aysha Abughazzi said that the conference well organized, but added that she sometimes had trouble choosing among the many simultaneous sessions.
“Other than that, I enjoyed attending sessions, getting to know new people in the field and sharing in the discussions,” she said.
During the afternoon of Friday, Aug. 9, six SUSI scholars were part of a panel that was moderated by professor Mary Rogus, academic director of the OU SUSI program. The session was called “Arab Spring on TV: Global Perspectives on Coverage by CNN, BBC and Aljazeera.”
The six participating scholars were Abughazzi, from Jordan; Dr. Murad Abdullah, from Yemen; Dr. Alexsandr Kazakov, from Russia; Prof. Hugo Zarate, from The Bahamas; Dr. Ibaa Awad, from Sudan, and Prof. Taimoor Noori, from Afghanistan. They each spoke about various aspects of media coverage and public opinion of the Arab Spring as experienced in their countries.
She explained that people of different countries watch different news stations to receive information about the Arab Spring based on how trustworthy they think the stations are and what kind of agenda they think the stations have. In Jordan, she said that Aljazeera is usually the public’s first choice, although some Jordanians also tune in to Western media outlets such as CNN and BBC.
Abughazzi said that the feedback she and her colleagues received about their panel was favorable.
“Many panel attendees continued the discussion on the various aspects of the topic — coverage of the Arab Spring — following the panel,” she said. “The questions we received indicated to us that people in the west were interested in learning our side of the story.”
On Thursday, Aug. 8, SUSI Program Director Dr. Yusuf Kalyango was a panelist during a session called “African Media, the Arab Spring and Democratization: The ‘Unseen’ and ‘Unmentioned’ Social Side of the News Revolution.”
Specifically, Kalyango discussed media and democratization in Africa in relation to one overarching question: “Is an Arab Spring conceivable in Africa?”
Kalyango also coauthored a paper about social networking in India. The paper was presented in a refereed research paper session on Thursday, and also won the Asian Journal of Communication Award for International Communication Research. One of the other authors of that paper, Dr. Peddiboyina Vijaya Lakshmi, was a 2011 OU SUSI scholar.
Papers authored or co-authored by Furrow discussed topics such as the mission of Champion magazine, an influential female sportswriter named Mary Garber, and fans’ perceptions of local and national media coverage of college sports scandals.
Cruikshank’s papers examined issues such as media coverage of the genocides in southern Sudan and in Rwanda, as well as media coverage of France’s burqa ban.
One of DeBrosse’s papers offered strategies for reporters to challenge customer access barriers at shopping malls, while his other paper examined the censorship of Wikimedia versus that of mainstream media.
Collectively, OU graduate students had a total of 19 papers accepted into the 2012 AEJMC Conference.
Cruikshank said the benefits of attending AEJMC will last long after the conference is over for scholars.
“It’s a chance to connect with other scholars who share similar research and teaching interests,” she said. “In fact, two scholars from last year’s SUSI program at Scripps enjoyed the conference so much, they came back again this year. It was great to see them there."