Updated Nov. 22, 2016
The University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication hosted the Thomas C. Dowden International Conference Media and the Public Sphere: Empowered Audiences in the Digital Age Oct. 20-22, 2016.
“We were thrilled to welcome to Grady some of the nation’s leading experts on media analytics,” said Ann Hollifield, Thomas C. Dowden Professor in Media Research at Grady College. “Our panelists discussed the challenges of understanding audiences and advertisers in this digital age and how that impacts media content decisions, audiences and the media’s role in the public sphere.”
Panelists included Eric Bruce, research director, WSB-TV, Atlanta; Billy McDowell, vice president of research, Raycom Media Inc.; Howard Shimmel, chief research officer, Turner Broadcasting; Steve Walsh, executive vice president, Local Television, comScore Inc.; and Reid Williams, senior director for analytics, Gannett.
Tom and Wendy Dowden
More than 50 scholars from UGA, the National University of Political Studies and Public Administration in Romania, the University of Florida, University of Tennessee and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, among others, presented papers and discussed their research. “The focus of the discussions was the media’s changing role in society in an era when technologies enable audiences to choose, produce or avoid media as they wish,” Hollifield said.
In addition to the researchers and industry experts who came to UGA to present papers, several dozen graduate and undergraduate students in the Grady College sat in on the conference’s plenary panel discussions of media analytics as well as on some of the research paper presentations.
The James M. Cox Jr. Center for International Mass Communication Training and Research—an outreach unit of the Grady College—partnered with the Institute of Communication at University Lyon 2, France, and the Center for Communication Research at the National University for Political Studies and Public Administration, Bucharest, Romania, in organizing the conference. It was the sixth annual conference on the topic of Media and the Public Sphere.
This year’s conference honored Thomas C. Dowden, a Grady College and UGA alumnus (ABJ ‘62; MA ‘64 in political science) and a pioneer in the cable industry. Dowden has been a generous supporter of the college, and has been committed to the development of the graduate Media Industry Research program, with its focus on audience research and media innovation.
“Our conference theme this year—Empowered Audiences in the Digital Age— both honors and reflects the contributions Tom Dowden has made throughout his career in expanding the opportunities for public dialog by expanding the number and range of the channels of communication through which that dialog takes place,” Hollifield said in her opening remarks for the conference.
Grady College hosted Media and the Public Sphere: Examining the Challenges in the New Communication Landscape in 2013.
October 17, 2016 Author:
Stephanie Moreno, email@example.comContact:
Ann Hollifield, firstname.lastname@example.org