March 19, 2009

Global Media Research Center hosts colloquium

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Outstanding international communications scholars gather at Southern Illinois University Carbondale starting today (March 19) for the Global Media Research Center’s fifth anniversary colloquium.

The colloquium, where scholars present lectures of their work to their peers, runs through Saturday, March 21. The symposium, “Civil Society -- Communications: Where Are We? What Needs Doing Next?” focuses on crucial issues in communication research, media practice and college teaching according to organizers.

The symposium features 22 presentations from world-class scholars from universities throughout the United States and Canada, along with SIUC faculty and doctoral students.

The event kicks off today at 5 p.m. in the University Museum Auditorium, located in Faner Hall, room 1526, with two keynote addresses. Professor Janet Wasko, the Knight Chair in Communication Research at the University of Oregon-Eugene, presents, “The Propaganda Model and U.S. entertainment industries.” Lisa Brooten, an associate professor in SIUC’s Department of Radio-Television, also presents “Lawyers, guns and money…and ‘the people’? Media reform in southeast Asia and the U.S.” Her presentation, according to organizers, “examines the efforts of civil society and journalists as they face lawyers, guns and big money in Southeast Asia and the U.S.”

A schedule of events is available at With the exception of the evening dinner receptions, events are free and open to the public.

The Global Media Research Center is within the College of Mass Communication and Media Arts.

“The Global Media Research Center has added immensely to the intellectual diversity of the College particularly through sponsored proceedings such as this and the visiting scholars, artists, and professionals lecture series and events,” Dean Gary P. Kolb said. “The Center has also been an active co-sponsor of many important events on campus with several organizations and partners including the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute and has thus added immeasurably to the stimulation of important discussions for our community of students and scholars.”

Associate Dean Deborah is chairing today’s keynote panel.

“The GMRC is one of the most vibrant research centers that I have ever been associated with,” she said. “The work that is being done here is groundbreaking. The fifth anniversary is significant not only for the college and the University but the field of communication. The colloquium is a model for the type of discussion that needs to occur among media scholars, teachers and practitioners.”

The array of topics includes China’s media and public discontent, Internet governance, the global South, Nigeria’s flourishing video-movie industry, and contested communications in the Arab region. Other topics, meanwhile, look at the U.S. entertainment industry, the Iraq War and future of U.S. journalism, First Amendment speech rights, and critical paths for documentary films. The colloquium also looks at the college-level teaching of professional media practice.

These issues are relevant to Southern Illinois, said Global Media Research Center Director John Downing.

“In the charm and peace of Southern Illinois, we can lull ourselves into thinking the rest of the world is a long way off,” he said. “Once true maybe; now no longer. The global is us -- for the campus and for the region. The Colloquium's issues are as urgent as they are in New York and London, Beijing and Jerusalem.”

The “What Needs Doing Next” sessions on Saturday “move beyond discussing what is, and focus on what we may be able to do by way of constructive change – not least in university classrooms,” Downing said.

For more information about the colloquium, contact Laura Germann at SIUC’s Global Media Research Center at 618/453-6876 or by email at