Cox Center Research Team Examines Media Professionalism

Research on the professionalism of journalists both in the U.S. and abroad can be advanced by a re-examination of how journalists evaluate their work settings, a Cox Center research team reported at the International Communication Association conference in Washington in late May.

Scholars who have studied the degree of professionalism of journalists have not adequately looked at the attitudes those journalists have toward work, the team concluded after a review of research in the U.S. and around the world looking at the importance of professionalism for journalists.

The team, led by Cox Center Director Dr. Lee B. Becker and Cox Center Visiting Scholar Dr. Tudor Vlad, made its report in a special session of the ICA conference honoring University of Wisconsin scholar Dr. Jack M. McLeod, who retired from active teaching in January after a career of 40 years. Dr. McLeod conducted research early in his career on the professionalism of journalists.

Others working on the Cox Center project were Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication doctoral students George L. Daniels, Heidi Hatfield Edwards, Edward M. Gans, and Namkee Park. All are enrolled in a doctoral seminar taught by Drs. Becker and Vlad in the spring of 2001. Daniels is a research assistant in the Cox Center, which is a unit of the Grady College.

The report prepared by the Cox Center team will appear in a research volume honoring Dr. McLeod to be edited by Dr. Becker and others and published by Hampton Press of Cresskill, N.J. Dr. McLeod was Dr. Becker's dissertation adviser at the University of Wisconsin.

While at the Washington conference, Drs. Becker and Vlad also met with Dr. James Richstad, an emeritus professor from the University of Oklahoma, to plan a workshop for journalists to be held in Papua New Guinea in October. The workshop will focus on coverage of violence and will be organized by the Cox Center in collaboration with the Pacific Island News Association.

Dr. Richstad, a specialist on the media in the Pacific Islands, has worked with the Cox Center on numerous workshops in that region in the last decade.

Also while at the ICA meeting, Dr. Becker met with Japanese scholar Toshio Takeshita and Dutch researcher Florann Arts to discuss their ongoing collaborative research on media coverage of economic and trade issues in Japan, the United States and the Netherlands. Ms. Arts, a doctoral student at the University of Amsterdam, spent the summer of 2000 in the Cox Center working on the research project. Professor Takeshita is on the faculty of Meiji University in Tokyo.