Loyola University Chicago

School of Communication


Loyola scholars attend virtual conference

Loyola scholars attend virtual conference

Left to right: Professor Jing Yang, Ava Battocchio, Camila Teran

August 20, 2020 
Several School of Communication faculty and students would have been in San Francisco recently for the annual conference of AEJMC (Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication). Instead, they all attended from home, as the organization’s 103rd annual conference went virtual because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

With 3,700 members from 50 countries, AEJMC is one of the premier organizations for journalism and mass communication research and education in the world. This year’s conference focused numerous sessions on teaching techniques for robust online learning and racial awareness, and research highlighting the current pandemic and other contemporary topics.

The AEJMC 2020 Virtual Conference was held August 6th through the 9th, with a one-day preconference on August 5th. Three faculty members and two students from the School of Communication attended this virtual conference. Additionally, SOC Dean Hong Cheng attended and co-chaired a committee focusing on diversity, inclusion and career development.

Here are the brief highlights, in their own words, of their participation in the conference:

Pam Morris, Ph.D.
Associate Professor 
Advertising/Public Relations Program Director

While I always look forward to AEJMC‘s annual conference at the end of the summer, as co-vice-head and research chair of the Internships and Careers Interest Group (ICIG) as well as an active member of Advertising and other divisions, this year was particularity special for me.

On each of the days, August 5-9, I attended sessions, participated as a panelist, discussant, and paper presenter, and reconnected with old friends and made new contacts. The virtual conference attracted 1,854 attendees and, as it was to be held in San Francisco, used Pacific Standard Time, which made for some late-night meetings for those of us in Chicago.

On pre-conference day, August 5, I attended the Advertising Division’s Embracing Diversity and Inclusion Across the Advertising Curriculum: Learning from the Pros, starting in the morning and lasting into early evening. A highlight of the event was meeting Kat Gordon, the founder of the 3% Movement.

Later that evening I was one of four panelists on the ICIG Roundtable. It was a rich discussion that included issues surrounding paid and unpaid internships; remote, in-person, and international internships; how to deal with early dismissals; and new careers in journalism, public relations, advertising, and communication.

I was also a panelist on two additional ICIG events, co-sponsored by Advertising and the Media Management, Economics and Entrepreneurships divisions, including Career Potential and Growth Opportunities within the Newsroom for those with Innovative Skills, on Aug. 6; and Generational Divides: Preparing Gen Y and Z Students to Work with Gen X and Boomers, on Aug. 7. In these we touched on the virtues of diversity, emotional intelligence, and nonverbal and other communication.

For the Advertising Division on Aug. 6, I was a discussant in a high-density session, Information Processing of Advertisements, that consisted of 13 different papers. Luckily, I only had to comment on five.

I also presented two of my own research papers, “Diversity and Inclusion in Advertising: What Do Students Think?” and “Incorporating Ethics into Introductory Advertising Courses: Student Perspectives”, on Aug. 7. Acting on both sides of a critique – giving as a discussant and receiving as a writer – was a reminder of how we are always learning.

Other sessions I attended included the ICIG poster presentations, Detailing Efforts and Requirements for Success, and the ICIG Business Meeting, where we debriefed on the current conference and planned for next year, both on Aug. 8. Of the many other gatherings I popped into, highlights were the refereed paper sessions for the Advertising Division, Understanding Consumer Response to Advertising; the Media Ethics Division, Moral Evaluation Across Human Interactions; and Law and Policy Division and Small Program Interest Group’s teaching panel session, The Top 10 Legal Mistakes Com Professors Make in Class (You Won’t Believe #4!). As expected, the conference was a marathon as well as an inspiration for the upcoming semester’s teaching, learning and research.

Jing Yang, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor

It's an honor to have three research projects presented at AEJMC this year. But specifically, I am truly grateful for two student-involved research projects being accepted.

Ava Francesca Battocchio, a recent graduate from the School of Communication’s master’s program in Global Strategic Communication, presented our paper on "Effects of Transparent Brand Communication on Perceived Brand Authenticity and Consumer Responses". This was Ava’s second time attending the AEJMC conference during her time here at SOC, and she found it “super rewarding and exciting” as she gets to practice more on academic presentations and know more about academic research. Ava is an incoming Ph.D. student in the College of Communication Arts and Sciences at Michigan State University.

Camila Teran, a recent graduate from our advertising program, presented a paper that originated from her idea of an independent study with me. The research title was "Building Brand Authenticity on Social Media: The Impact of Instagram Ad Model Genuineness and Trustworthiness on Perceived Brand Authenticity and Consumer Responses".

In further developing the research project, two additional undergraduate students, Ebbe Bertellotti and Shannon Wrzesinski, also assisted with the study. In preparing for her presentation at AEJMC, Camila practiced over a week to go through the content and get familiar with the academic presentation style. As you can easily imagine, it's a huge challenge for an undergraduate student to present at national-level conference. But with the help from the team, she nailed it very well towards the end. 

Both of these studies received good feedback and encouragement from fellow scholar at AEJMC, and I feel very proud of the students' willingness to get out of their comfort zone during this difficult time. They did a great job representing the spirit of the School of Communication here at Loyola University Chicago!

In addition to the attending the students' presentations, I've also served as the moderator of the Best Paper Session for the Advertising Division and presented another paper, "Understanding the Impact of Brand Feedback to Negative eWOM on Social Media: An Expectation Violation Approach", a project on which I collaborated with my fellow scholar and friend, Dr. Juan Mundel from DePaul University. 

In sum, this year's AEJMC was very different due to the current situation. However, it will be a lifelong memory for me due to the engagement and support from my students, my colleagues, and the School of Communication at Loyola University Chicago. I hope more students are willing to engage and work with faculty members in the future, and get experiences in seeing the world differently. 

Lee Hood, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Multimedia Journalism

Over the course of five days, counting the pre-conference day, I attended 16 panels and one business meeting. Many of the panels focused on teaching tips on the three most salient contemporary issues: online learning in the age of Covid-19, racial awareness/combatting racism, and preparing students to cover the 2020 election. Others were research-focused, such as the disturbing rise in "deep fake" technology, the evolution from agenda setting to "agenda melding", and a panel on studying the politicization of social networks.

I serve on two committees for the Electronic News division, one of which I chair. One "lowlight" of the conference was that at the division business meeting Friday morning, just before we reached the part of the agenda that I was supposed to present, my electricity went out - taking with it my WiFi and my conference log-in. It was an hour later that the power was restored and I was able to rejoin the conference. Such are the hazards of the virtual-only world, I guess!

Hong Cheng, Ph.D. 
Professor and Dean  

I worked with the AEJMC Committee on Career Development as a committee co-chair and organized the first-ever AEJMC Presidential Diversity and Inclusion Career Development Fellowship for Graduate Students workshop during the conference. Seventy-four graduate students selected from universities across the United States or overseas attended this workshop.

I also co-chaired the AEJMC Committee on Career Development’s meeting during the virtual conference and made a committee plan for the Association’s career development activities in the coming year. On behalf of the committee, I attended the AEJMC Board of Directors meeting at the end of the virtual conference and gave the Board a report on the Diversity and Inclusion Career Development Fellowship workshop conducted during the conference and the new programs the committee is planning for the coming year.

As an Associate Editor of Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly, AEJMC’s flagship journal, I attended the journal’s editorial team and editorial board meeting during the virtual conference, as well as its meeting with JMCQ reviewer trainees. Designed for doctoral students selected nationally and internationally, who are interested in serving as ad hoc manuscript reviewers for the journal, the JMCQ Reviewer Trainee Program is in its second year. Throughout the 2019-2020 academic year, I mentored four reviewer trainees for the program.