Communications conference comes to University

The Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication Midwinter Conference this weekend marks the first time the University will host a national communications conference.

The annual conference, hosted by the University’s School of Communication Studies this year, brings together professors, graduate students and journalism professionals to review and discuss newspapers from selected divisions of the AEJMC. This year’s nine selected divisions are “Communication Technology”, “Communication Theory and Methodology”, “Cultural and Critical Studies”, “Entertainment Studies”, “Graduate Education”, “International Communication”, “Mass Communication and Society”, “Media Management and Economics” and “Visual Communication”.

The conference will include large panel discussions, 32 smaller sessions and a keynote speaker during Saturday’s luncheon.

In tomorrow’s keynote speech, Palestinian journalist Nadia Bilbassy Charters will speak about war coverage in the Middle East and turmoil in Africa. Her speech will relate to the event’s larger theme of media response to disaster.

Charters is currently a senior foreign correspondent at the Washington Bureau for AL Arabiya and has worked for several international news services.

Dr. Louisa Ha, an associate professor of telecommunications at the University and organizing committee chair for the event, believes there will be an interest in Charter’s speech because the School of Communication Studies has been particularly active in Middle Eastern affairs.

“We have an exchange and training program to bring Arabic journalists here,” she said.

Ha also believes the 150 guests who’ve registered for the event will benefit from the international perspective.

“The panelists and presenters come from over 49 different universities and colleges across the country and abroad,” she said.

Ha is confident that networking opportunities will draw University students.

Brittany Rowe, a graduate student in the School of Communication Studies, is looking forward to meeting professionals and other graduate students, especially at Saturday night’s social event.

As the social event chair, she hopes students will take advantage of the opportunity.

“The Saturday evening social will be a very casual reception where students can come and mingle with other grad students,” she said.

The social will be held in the Milleti Alumni Center from 7-9 p.m..

In addition to networking and learning opportunities, Ha believes the event will allow the University to build an even stronger position in the communications field.

“We are trying to establish a reputation as a global center for teaching and research in communication and media,” she said.