Campus News

Grady College hosts international conference on media, public sphere

UGA’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.

“We were thrilled to welcome to Grady some of the nation’s leading experts on media analytics,” said Ann Hollifield, the 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 at WSB-TV in Atlanta; Billy McDowell, vice president of research at Raycom Media Inc.; Howard Shimmel, chief research officer at Turner Broadcasting; Steve Walsh, executive vice president of Local Television, comScore Inc.; and Reid Williams, senior director for analytics at Gannett.

More than 50 scholars from UGA, the National University of Political Studies and Public Administration in Romania, the University of Florida, the University of Tennessee and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, among others, presented papers and discussed their research.

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 Dowden, who received a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a master’s degree in political science from UGA in 1962 and 1964, respectively. A pioneer in the cable industry, Dowden has been a generous supporter of the college.