Smythe award 2020

The IAMCR Prize in Memory of Dallas W. Smythe will be awarded in 2020

To accommodate the new schedule of the Online Conference Papers, in light of the change from a face-to-face conference to online activities, the deadline for applications for the 2020 Smythe Award has been extended to 30 April 2020. The IAMCR Prize in Memory of Dallas W. Smythe is awarded every three years for an outstanding paper by a student or young scholar member of the association.

Born in Canada in 1907, Professor Dallas Smythe was a founder of the field of political economy of communication and a leading scholar who had significant influence in American and international communication policy. Trained as an economist, Smythe's professional career included appointments at the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Labor and the Federal Communication Commission in the United States and the University of Illinois. His professional work and social engagement eventually caused him problems and during the McCarthy period he found it difficult to get articles published or to get money to fund research. In 1963 he returned to Canada, where he worked at the University of Saskatchewan and later at Simon Fraser University, where he was Professor of Communication from 1976 until his death in 1992.

Dallas Smythe was an active member of IAMCR for more than 20 years. He established the Communication Satellites Section, which later became the Communication Policy & Technology Section, and he was an active participant in the Political Economy Section. In this video produced by Simon Fraser University Smythe talks about some of his work, including (at 7:30) about his involvement with IAMCR.

"In the mid-sixties IAMCR was a small group dominated by a few people from a few highly industrialised countries. There had been a need for an association of communication researchers from all over the world from the developing as well as the developed countries. I’ve tried to move the organisation in that direction with some success. We now include researchers from all over the world. Our last biannual meeting was in Prague [1984] and our next is in India [1986]."

In recognition of his work, the Dallas Smythe Memorial Endowment Fund was established in the School of Communication at Simon Fraser University in 1992 "to further the understanding of communication studies," through an invited lecture series and related activities. Simon Fraser University maintains a collection of lectures by Dallas Smythe and many of the lectures from the Smythe Memorial Lecture series.

Prize criteria

A paper which combines scholarly excellence with a commitment to developing and extending the critical, innovative and engaged spirit that characterised Smythe’s contribution to media/communications analysis.


  • Papers may be submitted by students and emerging scholars who are members of IAMCR and who are under the age of 35 at the time the paper is submitted.
  • Papers must have been accepted for presentation at IAMCR 2020 by one of the association's sections or working groups.
  • Papers are limited to 7,000 words.
  • Papers must be based on work that has not already been published.


  • The closing date for submissions is 30 April 2020. Send submissions in electronic form to the Smythe Award Committee at smythe-award-2020 [at] Clearly indicate in the subject of your message that you are applying for the Smythe award.
  • Include in your submission the acceptance message that you received from the section or working group that you presented your paper to.
  • If an award is made, the author(s) will be notified at least 3 weeks before the conference.
  • The award comprises a cash prize of USD 1,000, plus IAMCR 2020 Conference registration fees, together with a commemorative plaque marking the winner's achievement.
  • An award will not necessarily be made and decisions made by the Smythe Award Committee will be final.

The grant winner will be announced by May, 27 2020.

2020 Smythe Award Committee

  • Chair: John Sinclair (School of Culture and Communication, University of Melbourne)
  • Ben Birkinbine (Reynolds School of Journalism, University of Nevada)
  • Yuezhi Zhao (School of Communication, Simon Fraser University)

Send your submissions to smythe-award-2020 [at]