September 09, 2008

Downing elected to post with international group

by Pete Rosenbery

John Downing

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- John Downing, director of Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Global Media Research Center, is a new vice president for the oldest international global media research organization.

Downing was recently selected a vice president for the International Association for Media and Communication Research, or IAMCR. The organization, with members throughout the world, works to improve media communication research, policy and practice, and provide a forum where researchers and others involved in media and communication can meet and exchange information about their work, according to IAMCR’s Web site.

Downing’s election was during the organization’s annual meeting, held this summer in Stockholm. His term is for four years. More than 1,000 people representing 81 countries attended. The organization allows international communication researchers to share their findings with one another, and keep updated on each other’s research, said Downing, a member for 20 years.

“I’m very pleased to have the confidence of my peers and hope to serve their interests as best as possible,” he said.

Downing wants the organization to maintain a strong intellectual level and work on finding more ways to involve researchers from what is referred to as the global south -- countries in Africa, Central and South America, and many Middle Eastern and Asian countries. He also wants strong involvement of graduate students and junior faculty in research, and in their ability to attend conferences.

The organization’s next conference is in Mexico City in July. Annabelle Sreberny, a professor in the media and film studies program in the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, is IAMCR’s new president. Ruth Teer-Tomaselli, a professor at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa, is also a newly elected vice president.

The conference provides the opportunity to not only focus on scholarly research, but also enables “people from very different backgrounds to dialogue with each other, and that mission continues,” Downing said.

Downing, a professor of media studies in the Department of Radio-Television, has been at SIUC since 2004. The department and the Global Media Research Center are within the College of Mass Communication and Media Arts.

Established in 2004, the Global Media Research Center's mission includes assembling a core group of faculty, graduate and undergraduate students to research global media issues, establish national and international partnerships to promote research and play host to visiting scholars and artists as it seeks to develop new courses addressing global media issues.

Prior to coming to SIUC, Downing was a professor in the Radio-TV-Film Department at the University of Texas at Austin. He has also taught at Hunter College, City University of New York, University of Massachusetts-Amherst, Greenwich University in London, and Kings College in London.

Born and raised in England, Downing earned master’s and doctoral degrees, both in sociology, from the London School of Economics and Political Science. He also has a master’s degree in theology from Oxford University.