Letter from Janet Wasko, President of IAMCR

Janet WaskoNovember 2019 - This letter was sent by Janet Wasko, IAMCR President, to thank IAMCR members for their support in 2019 and to invite them to renew their membership for 2020.

IAMCR and its members can be proud of our achievements over the past year.

Communication, Technology and Human Dignity: Disputed Rights, Contested Truths was the timely theme of our conference in Madrid, Spain. Attended by nearly 1,800 scholars from 83 countries (the largest conference in IAMCR’s history), it was was an intense five days of panels, presentations and plenaries interspersed with Madrid’s beauty and Spain’s cultures.

We also offered various grants and awards to encourage scholarship and support diversity at our conferences – the IAMCR Award in Memory of Herbert I. Schiller, the New Directions for Climate Communication Research Fellowship and the Urban Communication Research Grant, as well as best paper awards offered by various sections and working groups. We were especially pleased to be able to offer 21 travel grants to support the participation of young scholars from low and middle-income countries. These grants are primarily funded with members' contributions, including the generous contributions of two anonymous donors that allowed us to offer two special travel grants for young South Asian scholars. At least twenty-five travel grants will be offered for the 2020 conference in Beijing.

Our Clearinghouse for Public Statements continued to intervene on IAMCR's behalf in cases involving academic freedom and freedom of expression. Chaired by Robin Mansell, the Clearinghouse is the public voice of the association on issues affecting academic freedom and media and communication areas in which we have expertise. 

We also created lots of publication opportunities for our members. Our ongoing book series, Global Transformations in Media and Communication Research, saw the publication of The Science of the Commons edited by Muniz Sodré, and two other titles in the series are scheduled to appear in the next few months, Digital Inequalities in the Global South edited by Massimo Ragnedda and Anna Gladkova, two of the leaders of our Digital Divide Working Group, and The Independence of the News Media edited by Loïc Ballarini. IAMCR members are invited to propose books for the series, and you are also entitled to a 35% discount when you buy one. 

The Handbook of Diasporas, Media, and Culture, the fifth title in our Global Handbooks in Media and Communication Research Series, co-published with Wiley-Blackwell, was released this year. With more than 600 pages, this volume includes contributions from dozens of IAMCR members. 

Several IAMCR sections and working groups are also involved in publishing projects in their fields of interest. The Community Communication and Alternative Media Section is associated with the Journal of Alternative and Community Media, The International Communication Section is affiliated with Global Media and China, and The Political Economy Section recently published Volume 7, Number 1 of the Political Economy of Communication journal. ParticipAD – Participatory advertising, edited by Ana Duarte Melo and Marcela Duque, was published by the Participatory Communication Research Section and 35 books by IAMCR members were featured in the Members' Books section of the website. 

We maintained lively relations with several regional and allied associations, as well as with three UN organisations – UNESCO, UNICEF and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) – and we are active as head of the research group of the Global Alliance for Media and Gender, and co-published Setting the Gender Agenda for Communication Policy. This year we were founding members of the new Global Alliance for Social and Behaviour Change Communication. Within that alliance, IAMCR and UNICEF joined forces to create the UNICEF/IAMCR Communication for Development Research Fund to support research that advances our understanding of how Communication for Development contributes to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. 

Looking towards 2020, the highlight will be the conference in Beijing, China, from 12-16 July. The conference theme is Reimagining the Digital Future: Building inclusiveness, respect and reciprocity. The calls for proposals have been circulated and details are posted on the conference website.  

We have lots of other plans for the year, but I want to remind you that all of these activities are only possible because of the support we receive from you and other IAMCR members. Membership fees provide us with the majority of our operating income and your ongoing support is vital to the continuing health of the organization.

I am writing to thank you for your support and to ask you to renew your membership now for 2020. 

Thank you again for your continuing support of IAMCR -the leading worldwide professional organisation in the field of media and communication research. Your commitment is at the heart of everything we do.        



Janet Wasko
President, IAMCR