Dr. Johnson from the University of Kentucky with Dr. Becker

University of Kentucky Communication College Honors Cox Center Director With Alumni Award

Dr. Lee B. Becker, director of the James J. Cox Jr. Center for International Mass Communication Training and Research at the University of Georgia, received the Outstanding Alumni Award from the College of Communications and Information Studies at the University of Kentucky at an awards and recognition dinner on November 30.

“Becker’s career success speaks directly to the mission of the College, the College’s graduate program, and the School of Journalism and Telecommunications,” Dr. J. David Johnson, dean of the College, said in making the award. Dr. Johnson said that Dr. Becker’s “achievements have earned him recognition and respect as one of the best-known scholars in journalism and mass communication.”

Dr. Becker earned his bachelor's degree in journalism from the College in 1969 and his master's degree in communication in 1971. He went on to earn his doctorate at the University of Wisconsin.

Dr. Becker joins such other distinguished University of Kentucky graduates as Judy Clabes, president and CEO of the Scripps Howard Foundation, and Gene Clabes, publisher and editor of a group of Kentucky newspapers.

“Having one's work recognized by one's peers is really special,” Dr. Becker said in a letter he wrote to Dr. Johnson after the November dinner. “When those peers are at one's alma mater, the feeling is even more intense. And when those peers are part of an institution that has achieved what the College of Communications and Information Studies at the University of Kentucky has achieved in the last 20 years, the feeling is almost overwhelming.”

Dr. Becker and his wife, Dr. C. Ann Hollifield, attended the recognition dinner, where students, faculty and staff members of the College also were honored. Dr. Hollifield is a member of the faculty of the Telecommunications Department in the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia.

Carl L. West, editor of The State Journal in Frankfort, Kentucky, received The Friend of the College Award at the recognition dinner for his service to the College as a teacher and mentor of students.

Dr. Becker started his academic career at Syracuse University and served on the faculty of the School of Journalism at Ohio State University before joining the Grady College in 1997. He was named the second director of the Cox Center, succeeding Dr. Al Hester, who founded the Center in 1985. The Cox Center is a unit of the Grady College.

In presenting the Outstanding Alumni Award to Dr. Becker, Dr. Johnson called Dr. Becker a “prolific researcher” and noted his extensive publication record and his leadership in research on the field of journalism and mass communication. Dr. Becker directs the Annual Surveys of Journalism & Mass Communication, which are conducted in the Cox Center.

Dr. Becker has conducted research across a wide range of topics during his career. Recent publications have looked at characteristics of the labor market for journalism, examined measures of press freedom used extensively in the field, and identified trends in journalism education.