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Convention Planning Manual


An Introduction to the Media Ecology Association and Annual Convention

The Media Ecology Association (MEA) hosts its annual convention each June. This convention is a gathering place for members of the MEA, as well as for interested individuals and organizations that are not directly involved with the organization. Since this is a small organization without separate interest groups, its convention is run differently than those of larger organizations, such as the National Communication Association or the Eastern Communication Association. Each year, an individual is appointed to the MEA Board of Directors as the Vice President-Elect/Convention Coordinator, and it is his or her responsibility to organize the event. This Coordinator is typically someone associated with the college or university hosting the event (in the past there have often been co-organizers of the event). He or she will work closely with the other members of the MEA Executive Board to make sure that all resources are used appropriately and that themes and featured presentations are in line with how the Association envisions itself.

The Coordinator will be in charge of generating a call for papers; securing space and a date for the convention; and planning the day-to-day operations of the convention. The Association likes to provide the Coordinator with as much control as possible while still overseeing the scope and theme of the convention. Therefore, the Association requests that the Convention Committee be consulted prior to setting the dates of the convention; to extending invitations to any featured or keynote presentations; and to determining any additional details that might have a significant impact on potential convention attendance and theme. The rest of the time, the Coordinator will be expected to keep the Convention Committee up to date on the planning of the convention. It is the MEA Board’s hope that the Coordinator will draw on the members of the Convention Committee (often past convention coordinators themselves) to assist in the process. It is also its hope that each new convention coordinator will bring his/her own unique ideas and audiences to the annual event. Indeed, the MEA welcomes and encourages innovation. This manual is intended to serve as a guide for the various stages of the convention planning.

Responsibilities of the Convention Coordinator

Conventions should be understood as communication environments in and of themselves. A good coordinator will understand this, study his or her subject, work with its biases, and cater to its strengths. The Coordinator is appointed a board member of the Media Ecology Association. Upon appointment, the Coordinator will join the Board listserv and be expected to attend board meetings. The Coordinator should be familiar with the organization and the importance that the organization places on the annual convention. The Convention is an important time for members (and non-members) to gather and discuss scholarship and research. The Convention is also important for the purposes of attracting and retaining members, and therefore it is important to the MEA’s financial health. Whenever possible, the MEA tries to end a convention with a surplus in revenue, which helps to support other MEA activities during the year.

Key administrative/organizational functions are carried out during a convention. The annual MEA awards are presented there. The Convention also serves as a source for articles for its journal, Explorations in Media Ecology {EME}. The Convention interrelates with, and affects many of the other subsystems of, the MEA. It is a meeting of the MEA membership and a convening of the association so that the MEA’s business can be conducted. There is a constitutionally mandated general business meeting (to be held on Saturday), a Board of Directors meeting, and there may be other committee meetings. The President’s Address, a report on the association to the membership, is also part of the convention business. The Awards Presentations are another organizational function.

In addition to the important administrative functions, the Convention also serves important ritual functions. The MEA makes it a point to give each convention an official Opening (e.g., Welcoming Remarks) and a Closing. The Convention serves an important social function as well, and receptions, coffee breaks, and the like, help to facilitate this. The Convention needs to serve the MEA membership socially, intellectually, and professionally. There is also the function of serving the field and tradition of media ecology, which is understood to be larger than the MEA. Wherever possible, the MEA is also pleased to serve other constituencies, such as scholars in related disciplines, affiliate organizations, etc. The goal of the Convention Coordinator should be to arrange for a successful event, one that is satisfying and memorable. It is important that there be strong communication between the Coordinator and the MEA. The MEA urges the Coordinator to keep the MEA Board informed and, given that there are many resources available, to ask for help.

Convention Coordinators are responsible for the following:

  • Securing space, tables, chairs, and a podium for the convention (including space and tables for publishers and registration areas). Types of space needed include plenary space, smaller rooms for concurrent sessions, exhibit space, registration space, and food space. Space with exhibitors and receipt and storage of materials will also need to be coordinated
  • Reserving hotel rooms, if appropriate, or providing a list of accommodations for members
  • Providing directions
  • Providing a list of places to eat and, when appropriate, places to visit around the location
  • Arranging for the MEA banquet, which often takes place in conjunction with the MEA Annual Awards ceremony. (The MEA requests that the host institution either find a sponsor or pay for this banquet as part of its obligations to the MEA, given that convention fee are insufficient to cover the cost. If absolutely necessary, the host institution may charge convention participants separately for the banquet.)
  • Sending out the Call for Papers as detailed in the guidelines below
  • Processing and acknowledging receipt of submissions; organizing the peer review of submissions (i.e., accepting or rejecting them); organizing sessions; and arranging the convention schedule (the MEA will assist with this)
  • Soliciting featured presenters and keynote speakers—albeit with the recommendations of, and a general conferral with, the MEA Board’s Awards Officer
  • Ensuring a registration and membership mailing prior to the Convention
  • Producing the Convention program. This includes the solicitation and acquisition of advertisements (the MEA will provide inserts for the program)
  • Sending electronic versions of printed materials to the Convention Committee for posting on the MEA website
  • Assisting in covering the registration table during the convention
  • Securing space—typically over lunch—for the meeting of the Board of Directors (approx. 17 persons).

The Media Ecology Association will be responsible for the following:

  • Appointing someone to handle the publishers’ exhibitions for the convention. This appointed person will work with the Coordinator
  • Assisting in the solicitation and coordination of advertising to be placed in the program
  • Planning the MEA Annual Awards (time slot to be negotiated with the Convention Coordinator)
  • Providing inserts for the convention program with Association material
  • Providing labels for Association and registration-related materials
  • Assisting in coordinating the registration table during the convention. This includes taking responsibility for collections of monies
  • Providing name tags for convention attendees (names not already in the Executive Secretary’s system will need to be forwarded to the Secretary two weeks prior to the convention)
  • Paying for the Board of Director’s lunch meeting.
  •  Together, the MEA will work with the Coordinator to coordinate any receptions and breakfasts. Typically, the organization arranges to host one breakfast and one reception (with costs in part covered by publishers and possibly shared by the Coordinator). This will be discussed in more detail below (see Budget).

Specifics of the Convention

(Please note that the MEA prefers the term “convention” over that of conference)


Having a theme is optional but if the hosting institution chooses a theme, the MEA must approve it. Information on any themes should be placed in the call for papers.

Convention Timeline

The Convention, during which approximately 150-200 members gather, is held each June. Typically it runs three full days, from Thursday to Sunday morning. The choice of weekend is generally left to the discretion of the host. Though the starting time of the Convention is up to the hosts (typically it begins Thursday morning or mid-day), the convention concludes by noon on Sunday. Please note that the MEA Board has one of its bi-annual meetings during the Convention. When allotting time and space for this (lunch) meeting, please ensure that the meeting is not on the same day as the banquet/president’s address/awards ceremony.


Registration for the convention is open all day during the first two days, Thursday and Friday, and until noon on Saturday. Please make sure to be able to provide registration receipts, to accommodate those who are registering on site, as well as others who did not or could not access them via computer.

In order to be on the program, all paper presenters must be pre-registered for the convention and members of the MEA who are in good standing in that calendar year.

Independent professionals will be charged the student convention-fee rate.

Institutional membership implies that an institution can name one (1) designated representative to participate in the convention in that calendar year. Any other delegates from that institution must pay the regular convention fees.

Should individuals express financial concerns to the Convention Coordinator regarding convention fees, the Coordinator should consult the MEA Executive Board.

Please note that nametags for participants should include name and affiliation, but not academic position and no honorific titles (e.g., Dr., Prof., etc.). Further, the MEA logo should appears somewhere on the nametag.

Types of Participants

Presenters: These include the keynote and featured speakers and anyone presenting a paper. Presenters will be solicited to submit for the proceedings. Please note that the MEA does not have funds to pay speakers. Convention Coordinators may want to contact the publishers of the books written by the special speakers, in order for those publishers to sell those authors’ books at the convention.

Panelists: These are people who are participating but not presenting a paper—e.g., acting as discussant, serving on a roundtable or as part of a workshop.

Moderators: These are individuals who introduce sessions and keep track of time for participants (please note that this term is used instead of Chair). Every session (including keynotes and addresses) should have a Moderator who is listed in the program. Ordinarily, the Business Meeting, to be held on Saturday, is run by the MEA vice president or another designated officer.

Types of Sessions

Plenary Sessions: These are sessions in which there are no other programs scheduled concurrently. Plenary Sessions include:

  • Plenary Speakers. The plenary speakers should be scholars or intellectuals who have made significant contributions to the media ecology intellectual tradition, and who can either speak about media ecology as a field or perspective, or address a topic directly relevant to it. Because the winners of the Walter Ong or Neil Postman awards generally become plenary speakers by default—though this does not necessarily have to be—plenary speakers are coordinated with the MEA Awards Officer.
  • Featured Presentations. Featured speakers may or may not meet the same criteria as the plenary speakers, and can be chosen by the Coordinator in consultation with the MEA, or by the MEA with the permission of the Coordinator. Selecting four or five featured presentations is probably optimal. Because the winners of other awards (e.g., the Neil Postman award) also typically serve as featured speakers, featured presentations are coordinated with the MEA Awards Officer.
  • President’s Address, Awards Presentation, General Business Meeting, Welcoming Remarks, Concluding Remarks. These are arranged for by the MEA. (Please note that the President’s Address traditionally takes place directly after the presentation of the MEA awards. For guidance, please review previous convention programs available online at the MEA website.) The granting of the Top Paper and Top Student Paper awards falls under the auspices of the Coordinator. However, the review of nominations and ultimate conferring of all other MEA awards (e.g., The Marshall McLuhan Award for Outstanding Book in the Field of Media Ecology, The Walter Benjamin Award for Outstanding Article in the Field of Media Ecology, etc.) are handled by the MEA Awards Officer
  • Screenings/Media Presentations
  • Plenary Panels or Programs. These may include, as example, a program featuring several people

Concurrent Sessions: These are sessions where more than one session happens at a time. Types of concurrent sessions include:

  • Competitive Papers. These are sessions made up of individually submitted and approved papers
  • Proposed Sessions. These are sessions accepted as a whole
  • Awards Session. This is a session comprised of MEA award winners for that year. (See Appendix C for a list of the awards traditionally awarded during the annual MEA convention.)
  • Papers Program. These are sessions where participants have papers with individual titles that do not fall under a single program title
  • Roundtable Discussions. These are sessions without individual titles but that concern a central idea
  • Workshop or Spotlight Sessions. These are non-plenary sessions of only one participant

Types of Submissions

Submissions to the MEA convention can be as:

  • Single papers (abstracts for papers are accepted during the Call for Papers)
  • Panels of papers
  • Roundtables discussion panels
  • Special sessions (e.g., workshops, films, multimedia events, performances, etc.)

Please Note: In cases where the host country involves languages other than English, submissions may be accepted in additional relevant languages.

Solicited Participation

As earlier noted, the Coordinator should consult with the MEA Awards Officer regarding keynote and featured presenters. In addition, the MEA sometimes solicits specific papers or coordinates certain panels. The MEA works in consultation with the host to make sure that these solicitation efforts are coordinated. The MEA will sometimes wait until after all the submissions are received to see where it can fill in gaps in content. However, the MEA will work with the host institution to make sure that information is provided at appropriate times in order to keep the convention timeline on schedule.

In addition, the MEA awards the Walter J. Ong Award for Career Achievement in Scholarship and the Neil Postman Award for Career Achievement in Public Intellectual Activity. The Executive Committee will choose the recipients for these awards. Hopefully, these recipients—who are expected to attend the convention in order to receive their awards—will serve at the Convention as featured speakers. Convention keynote speakers or honorees typically take charge of their own travel arrangements, making every effort to travel in the lowest tier of published fares (though no traveler need to disrupt direct travel plans or endure lengthy layovers). If a Coordinator has doubts about travel expenses, she or he should confer with the MEA Treasurer.

Note on Participants

In general, the MEA does not permit people to present more than two papers. However, individuals may present two papers and serve as a discussant on another panel. Exceptions may be made for people who are also serving a minor role as a moderator; however, those individuals should serve on a panel different from the one that they are on.

Please note that, as stated above, in order to be included in the printed program, presenters whose submitted papers have been accepted must (i) be members of the MEA who are in good standing in that calendar year; and (ii) be registered for the convention by the pre-registration cut-off date. Indeed, Chairs for panels need to ensure that presenters are wearing their badges and have, thereby, paid their convention dues.

Participation by Skype is only acceptable in the case of genuine emergencies. We prefer for it not to become a regular feature of the Convention. Further, Skype participants must pay the registration fee in order to participate.

Call for Papers

The Call for Papers (see A for samples) should include the following:

  • Date of the Convention
  • Information on any theme (if applicable)
  • Summary of types of submissions expected (e.g., single papers [abstracts for papers are accepted during the call for papers]); panels of papers; roundtables, discussion panels, and special sessions, such as workshops, films, multimedia events, performances, etc.)
  • Directions to the media ecology website (www.media-ecology.org)
  • Information on where and how to send papers or abstracts for papers. Depending on the desire of the Coordinator, papers may be submitted via hard copy or through email; however, copies will be needed when the review committee meets to go over submissions
  • A deadline (typically in December) • Information on accommodations, food, transportations, and directions, if known or helpful
  • Information on keynote or featured presenters, if known
  • A request that individuals indicate if they wish their submissions to be considered for the Top Paper or Top Student Paper awards
  • A request that individuals include their affiliation with their submissions. (This is in order to ease the nametag preparation process later on)

This call should be updated as appropriate throughout the call-for-paper process.

Where to Send the Call for Papers

In the past, the Call for Papers has been sent to those places listed below. The Coordinator can send the Call on his/her own to many of these. For a few of the more specialized lists (such as the McLuhan list), the Coordinator can contact members of the MEA Board who will handle dissemination. In addition to the lists below, the Coordinator is free to send the call to places s/he deems appropriate. It is the MEA’s goal to spread far and wide the call and any additional announcements.

The places to which the Call for Papers should be sent include:

  • CRTNET (the on-line announcement service of the National Communication Association)
  • Eastern Communication Association (ECA) newsletter
  • National Communication Association (NCA) and International Communication Association) ICA newsletters
  • Canadian Communication Association
  • Media Ecology listserv
  • Members of the MEA organization (labels to be provided by organization)
  • MEA Board via email (so that Board members can post to their own listserves)
  • New York State Communication Association (NYSCA) via copies. This can be done by the Convention Coordinator, or copies can be given to members of the MEA Board who are attending
  • Association of Internet Researchers (AoIR)
  • New Jersey Communication Association (NJCA)
  • McLuhan list
  • New York University graduation list

General 13-Month Cycle of MEA Convention Announcements

1. Save the Date (May): A short announcement, limited to the places and dates of the annual convention, can be released as the places/dates are decided.

2. Preliminary Call for Papers (Late May): This Call repeats mention of the places/dates, and announces the convention’s theme and submission deadlines. This first call gets included in the current year’s convention program (e.g., the 2010 Maine program included the 2011 Alberta preliminary call). The copy must be sent to the acting Coordinator. Fliers regarding the first call should also be produced by the Coordinator and made available to members at the current year’s MEA convention.

3. Call for Papers (August/September): This Call is a more elaborate version of the preliminary call, perhaps including registration/housing information. This more elaborate call should be sent to the places listed above. (Please keep in mind that some deadlines may require that the copy be given far enough in advance in order to be able to make an appearance in the fall.)

4. Extended Call for Papers (October/November): This Call is the same as the previous call, only with an extended deadline. This call should be sent through the Media Ecology listserv and additional places that accept second calls (for example, CRTNET does not).

5. Preregistration Announcement (January/February/March): This announcement is sent after submissions have been reviewed and accepted. It includes fees and housing information, and the discounted preregistration rate. It should also ask registrants to indicate if they have special needs.

6. Registration Announcement (late May/early June): This announcement is sent after preregistration ends, without the earlier offer of discounted rates.

  • By this time, the cycle will have started for the next year’s coordinator—with the release of the short “Save the Date” (May) announcement regarding the next year’s convention

7. Program Announcement (late May/early June): This announcement contains the full program listing all speakers.

Review of Papers

Typically all MEA convention submissions are peer-reviewed by two MEA members. The Coordinator is responsible for tracking submissions, types of submissions, and contact information; for acknowledging submissions with a receipt to sender; for notifying the top-paper coordinator about submissions (see below); and for bringing copies of submitted papers to meetings.

It is expected that the Coordinator will read the submissions prior to the meeting and give his/her own recommendations regarding what should be accepted to the Convention and where the papers should be placed. Recently the review process has become a blind review, though we continue to maintain an extremely inclusive process. Most papers and projects are accepted unless they seem extremely inadequate or unrelated to a media ecological theme.

The Coordinator is free, however, to suggest a different review process, particularly if location or an excessive number of entries makes it difficult to accomplish the review. For instance, in some cases in the past, submissions have been submitted electronically to committee members and reviewed via a standardized form. (See Appendix B for a sample MEA convention paper submission review form.)

The Coordinator will also work with the Convention Committee to organize the time slots of the Convention. Typically the MEA works with the model of the previous year. (See Appendix D for samples and/or previous convention programs available online at the MEA website.) Keep in mind that the MEA needs to reserve space for the President’s Address, the Media Ecology Awards, and a General Business Meeting.

The Coordinator will also work with the Convention Committee to determine the awarding of the MEA convention’s annual Top Paper and Top Student Paper awards. Oftentimes, the awards for such papers can be determined on the basis of a point system conveniently embedded into the paper submission review form. (See Appendix B for a sample of such a review form.) Note that the Top Paper awards are printed in the convention program (see previous programs, available online, for guidance). When soliciting papers for these awards, submitters should be informed that the Top Paper and Top Student Paper are published in the Proceedings of the Media Ecology Association (unless their authors choose otherwise); and that all authors of articles published in the Proceedings retain copyright and are free to republish their work elsewhere in other forms.

Convention Program

Responsibility for who handles the printed program changes yearly based on the facilities of the host institution. A general breakdown of the typical program is provided below.

Please Note: The MEA needs to proof the final version of the program early enough in the process, in order to be able to make necessary changes to the copy.

Convention at a Glance: This is a one- to two-page summary of the Convention’s events. (See Appendix F and/or previous convention programs available online.)

Schedule: The schedule needs to be handled primarily by the host, though it is subject to some specific needs of the MEA, such as for plenary sessions and a board meeting. As earlier noted, the Convention runs three full days, from Thursday to Sunday morning. Though the starting time of the convention is up to the hosts (typically it begins Thursday morning or mid-day), the Convention concludes by noon on Sunday.

Please make certain to include in the printed program booklet the names and affiliations of each person who appears in the program schedule, including for the customary MEA events such as the President’s Address, the Awards Ceremony, and the Business Meeting.

MEA Inserts: Certain materials beyond the schedule for an actual convention (a.k.a. “inserts”) must be included in the program. These include the call for papers for the next year’s MEA convention; the call for awards for the next year’s convention; the list of MEA officers; information on EME; and the list of present and past MEA award winners. (Please see past convention programs for samples.) Updated inserts will be provided by the MEA.

MEA Logo: The official MEA logo should appear in full at least once in the Convention program. Additionally, it should appear somewhere on the front of the program—again, in full, which is to say, without any distortion of aspect ratio.

List of Participants: This is a list of all individuals participating in the year’s Convention.

Advertisements: Please confer with the MEA Board regarding the solicitation of, and payment for, advertisements. Though sometimes the MEA handles this aspect of the program, the actual production of ads will be the responsibility of whoever is producing the program (which varies year to year). Please also confer with the MEA Board and/or review previous convention programs for information regarding advertisers who have supported MEA conventions in the past. Also, it has recently become standard practice to send a message via the MEA listserv asking if any authors wish to advertise their recently published books in the program.


Costs of hosting the MEA convention depend on the location, and the policies and practices of the college or university hosting the event. Typically, this is how the MEA and the host institution divide the costs:

Space: Host institution
Security/Maintenance: Host institution
Program, Posters, Signs: Host institution
Mailings: Host institution
Audio-Visual Equipment for Presenters: Host institution
Name Tags, Receipts: MEA
Food: MEA (in conjunction with publishers— at a minimum, the host institution is expected to provide morning and afternoon coffee)
Banquet: Host institution or sponsor designated by the host institution (as a last resort, the host institution may charge convention participants separately for the banquet)
Taping of Presenters for Preservation: MEA

All proceeds from the Convention, including registration and advertising in the program, will become the property of the MEA. If the host institution expects any of the above costs to be problematic, the Coordinator must immediately discuss the potential cost problems with the Convention Committee. It is expected that, prior to agreeing to host the convention, the Coordinator will look into costs for the above items and seek the necessary approval from his or her institution.

Because different locations will necessitate different (and sometimes unexpected) costs, a Commitment Letter should spell out the responsibilities for the particular Convention, as well as provide a proposed estimated budget with costs divided between host institution and the MEA.

Convention Preparation Timeline

Below we offer a potential timeline to accommodate preparing for the Convention.

Please note: The timeline needs to be adjusted to be in concert with the paper deadline in March.

June (the year prior to the Convention)

  • Have first Call for Papers ready for Convention program
  • Arrange for space for Convention
  • Discuss budget with the MEA Board


  • Invite featured presenters and keynote speaker
  • Begin publicizing Convention, including sending Call for Papers to newsletters


  • Send Call for Papers to assorted listserves
  • Send out mailing regarding call for papers to MEA Members
  • Set up online system to track convention submissions and reviews (e.g., Easy Chair, which is available free and has been used by past MEA convention coordinators)


  • Invite people to present papers
  • Arrange panels
  • Send a second call for papers


  • Arrange for accommodations for out-of-town guests


  • Contact MEA members to create a pool of potential peer reviewers (one option is to make it mandatory that everyone who submits is asked to review three (3) other submissions)
  • Begin reviewing submissions, if possible


  • Review submissions
  • Send acknowledgement letters to submitters
  • Send a last (extended) Call for Papers, if necessary
  • Arrange for tables, seating, and food for convention
  • Make up a things-to-do list for attendees, one that includes regional interests and places to go for lunch
  • Prepare online registration, with costs and all choices for attendees (e.g., food and room options, etc.)
  • Remind all participants to register and pre-pay, if possible.
  • Send an official letter of invitation (i.e., on MEA or institution stationery) to all non-U.S. participants who have requested such a letter for use in obtaining a visa


  • Get online registration up and running
  • Send out registration with convention update to all members and submitters
  • Double-check accepted submissions to ensure all presenters have been properly notified
  • Begin program
  • Remind (again) all participants to register
  • Identify moderators for panels and concurrent sessions
  • Work with institution’s Disability Services Office if necessary, to accommodate registrants with specific needs


  • Work out a final budget with the MEA, including mention of all costs, whether internal or external, and payments, whether internal or external
  • Finalize program for printer (all paper presenters in the program must be pre-registered and MEA members in good standing in that calendar year)
  • Find volunteers for registration table
  • Work with MEA Board Convention Committee to place advertising in program
  • Remind (again) all participants to register


  • Arrange for signs for registration table
  • Work with the Executive Secretary on name tags

Hosting a Class in Conjunction with the Convention

Sometimes a Coordinator or MEA member will host a class in conjunction with a convention. We have found this to be a valuable way of increasing attendance, teaching more people about media ecology, and involving the host institution’s faculty and student body actively with a convention. Depending on the nature of the host institution, undergraduate or graduate classes can be offered. Students are offered a reduced convention rate and can attend the convention as part of the class. Curricula can be built around featured presenters, keynote speakers, and/or the panels themselves. Students can also interact with other students and participants who are attending the classes. (See Appendix F for the sample syllabus of a course that has been taught in conjunction with the convention.)


Appendix A

Sample Call for Papers

The Twelfth Annual Convention of the Media Ecology Association Space, Place, and the McLuhan Legacy Call for Papers June 23–26, 2011 University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada

Convention Coordinators:

  1. Marco Adria (marco.adria@ualberta.ca) University of Alberta
  2. Catherine Adams (cathy.adams@ualberta.ca) University of Alberta

In 2011, the University of Alberta will host the Herbert Marshall McLuhan Edmonton Centenary in celebration of the birth of the influential scholar and public figure in Edmonton, Canada, on July 21, 1911. As part of the centenary festivities, the Media Ecology Association will be holding its annual convention in the city of Edmonton to provoke academic dialogue and raise public awareness of media ecology and the relevance of McLuhan’s body of work to today’s media-rich urban landscapes. McLuhan gave much attention to the changing environment of the city in the wake of technological change. As he stated in an article published in Canadian Architect in June 1961,

[t]oday the entire human community is being translated into “auditory space,” or into that “field of simultaneous relations,” by electric broadcasting. It behooves the architect and town planner, above all, to know what this means (p. 52).

For McLuhan, the city is a “technological composite,” a patchwork of media and technologies built up over time and space. In this context, new technologies may be imagined as “punctuations” in our historical landscape, inaugurating irreversible cultural, social, and economic changes. Locating the MEA convention in the heart of Edmonton’s urban centre will provide an occasion to reflect on the significance of this Western Canadian city in shaping McLuhan’s early explorations of perspective as a fundamental artistic and communicational principle.

The 12th Annual Convention of the Media Ecology Association invites papers, panels, creative projects, and other proposals exploring space, place and city in the context of the McLuhan intellectual legacy. How might media ecology inform today’s architecture and city planning? What is the relationship between urban and virtual media realities? What is the meaning of the city in the “global village”? How do new media technologies intertwine, intersect and reform today’s urban landscapes? A suite of themes have been developed for the Centenary, presented in the form of five probes or heuristics, which McLuhan often used in his teaching and public addresses: Media as extensions of the human senses; Media as “punctuations” in history (bias of time, bias of space); Figure and ground as a means of achieving a deep understanding of changes in perception occasioned by new media; The city as a technological composite; The city as classroom.

Convention submissions that reflect on these and related themes drawn from McLuhan’s legacy of thought are welcome. Submissions on any topic of interest to Media Ecology are also encouraged.

Electronic submissions of papers and session proposals are preferred and should be sent by November 1, 2010, to Marco Adria <marco.adria@ualberta.ca>, Director, Graduate Program in Communications and Technology, University of Alberta, 10230 Jasper Avenue, Edmonton, AB, Canada T5J 4P6.

A maximum of two submissions per author will be accepted. Authors who wish their papers to be considered for the Top Paper or Top Student Paper award must indicate that on their submissions. All submissions will be acknowledged. Campus housing will be available. Tours of historic sites associated with the McLuhan legacy in Edmonton will be offered.

Appendix A

Sample Call for Papers (continued)

The Fifth Annual Convention of the Media Ecology Association RIT Campus, Rochester, New York June 10–13, 2004 Media Environments and the Liberal Arts

Sponsored by The Department of Communication and The William A. Kern Professor in Communications College of Liberal Arts Rochester Institute of Technology

How do changing media environments influence the ways in which people express themselves, communicate with each other, and pass on knowledge to future generations? From cities to cyberspace, and ancient writing systems to digital communication technologies, media help shape human interaction, understanding, and organization. This Convention explores the various ways in which past, present, and emerging media environments influence human life in general, and its self-examination via the liberal arts disciplines. These include the subjects of inquiry and the way research is conducted, changes in human and mass communication, policy-making, and evaluation, individual expression and representation, formation and change in cultural attitudes, media representations of natural environments, emerging digital expression (hyperfiction, digital poetry, electronic music), and the social impact of media.

What is Media Ecology?

“It is the study of media environments, the idea that technology and techniques, modes of information and codes of communication play a leading role in human affairs.”—Lance Strate

You are invited to submit papers, panels, workshop proposals, and short film and video works related to the convention theme. Complete papers may be entered for the Top Paper Award or the Linda Elson Scholarship Award (Top Student Paper). Please indicate entry on submissions.

Submission deadline December 1, 2003.

Send submission to

Dr. Sue Barnes Department of Communication College of Liberal Arts Rochester Institute of Technology 92 Lomb Memorial Drive Rochester, NY 14623-5604 (585) 475-4695 or (585) 475-6649 Email: sbbgpt@rit.edu

Convention Web log

We have set up a Web log for the convention at http://www.rit.edu/~sbbgpt/mea-rit/.

Getting to RIT

Jet Blue runs regular flights between JFK and Rochester, and Air Tran runs shuttle service between Rochester and Baltimore–Washington at reasonable rates. Most major airlines also fly into Rochester. When driving, Rochester is about 6 hours from New York City and 2.5 hours from Toronto.

The official convention hotel is the Radisson Hotel Rochester Airport, which is located on the RIT campus. Free shuttle service is available between the hotel and airport. The special MEA room rate is $84 (single or double occupancy). The telephone number is (585) 475-1910. Please mention the Media Ecology Convention and book your room by May 20, 2004. Convention sessions will primarily be held at the College of Liberal Arts, Building #6 at the Rochester Institute of Technology.

Appendix A

Sample Call for Papers (continued)

CALL FOR PAPERS The Sixth Annual Convention of the Media Ecology Association June 22–26, 2005 Fordham University, Lincoln Center Campus, New York City

The Biases of Media

Media are often criticized for the biases of their content, but media ecology is also concerned with the intellectual, emotional, temporal, spatial, political, social, metaphysical, and epistemological biases associated with different forms of communication and different types of technology.

We welcome submissions relating to the convention theme, “The Biases of Media,” as well as to any topic relevant to the field of media ecology. Make us a proposal we can’t turn down, in whatever format best showcases your submission, including complete papers, abstracts, proposals for discussion panels and workshop sessions, and short film and video works. Complete papers may be entered for the Top Paper Award or the Linda Elson Scholar Award (for Top Student Paper). Please indicate award entry on submissions.

Send one copy of submission by email or regular mail to either:

Janet Sternberg Dept. of Communication and Media Studies Fordham University Bronx, NY 10458-9993 718-817-4855 voice | 718-817-4868 fax netberg@compuserve.com


Lance Strate Dept. of Communication and Media Studies Fordham University Bronx, NY 10458-9993 718-817-4864 voice | 718-817-4868 fax strate@fordham.edu

Submission deadline extended to December 15, 2004

Appendix B

Sample MEA Convention Paper Submission Review Form

MEA Convention Review Form

Thank you for taking the time to review this submission to the 2010 MEA Convention.  When you have completed your review, please return this form to Paul Grosswiler (paulg@maine.edu).

Your name:  __________________________________________________________________ Your email address:  ___________________________________________________________ Title of abstract/paper being reviewed:  ______________________________________________

1.  The topic would be of interest to MEA members:

___  Strongly agree ___  Agree ___  Borderline ___  Disagree ___  Strongly disagree

2.  The topic shows a high degree of innovation or creativity vis-à-vis Media Ecology:

___  Strongly agree ___  Agree ___  Borderline ___  Disagree ___  Strongly disagree

3.  The topic is related to the convention theme:

___  Strongly agree ___  Agree ___  Borderline ___  Disagree ___  Strongly disagree

4.  For papers only, the topic is presented clearly, with adequate references from work in the field:

___  Strongly agree ___  Agree ___  Borderline ___  Disagree ___  Strongly disagree

5.  For papers only, how would you rate this submission on a scale of 1 (low) to 10 (high)?

___  1 ___  2 ___  3 ___  4 ___  5 ___  6 ___  7 ___  8 ___  9 ___  10 6.  This submission should be accepted for presentation at the MEA convention:

___  Strongly agree ___  Agree ___  Borderline ___  Disagree ___  Strongly disagree

Please feel free to add comments below:

Appendix C Sample Paper Acceptance Letter (for International Presenters)

MEA Logo

April 4, 2010

Dear Antonio Almeida,

We are pleased to inform you that your paper has been accepted for presentation at the 11th Annual Convention of the Media Ecology Association, to be held June 10-13 at the University of Maine in Orono.

You will be able to find out when your presentation is scheduled at the MEA website’s convention link. The completed program should be posted there by May 1.  You will also find information on travel and accommodations.

You may register at your convenience using the online registration form that also will be available shortly on the MEA website.

We look forward to seeing you in June!


Ellen Rose Convention Co-Coordinator (erose@unb.ca)

Appendix D MEA Convention Awards

The Marshall McLuhan Award for Outstanding Book in the Field of Media Ecology: Open to books published in 2007 or later on any topic related to media ecology. Entry requirements: Letter of nomination or self-nomination and five copies. Entrants may request simultaneous consideration for the Erving Goffman Award, the Susanne K. Langer Award, the Dorothy Lee Award, or the Lewis Mumford Award.

The Walter Benjamin Award for Outstanding Article in the Field of Media Ecology: Open to articles, essays, reviews, and book chapters published in 2007 or later on any topic related to media ecology. Entry requirements: Letter of nomination or self-nomination and five copies. Entrants may request simultaneous consideration for the Erving Goffman Award, the Susanne K. Langer Award, the Dorothy Lee Award, or the Lewis Mumford Award.

The Erving Goffman Award for Outstanding Scholarship in the Ecology of Social Interaction: Open to books and articles published in 2007 or later that focus on social situations, symbolic interaction, interpersonal communication (both face-to-face and technologically mediated), nonverbal communication, social space, temporal rhythms, rules of engagement, performance of roles, and the presentation of self in everyday life. Entry requirements: Letter of nomination or self-nomination and five copies. Entrants may request simultaneous consideration for the Marshall McLuhan Award or the Walter Benjamin Award.

The Susanne K. Langer Award for Outstanding Scholarship in the Ecology of Symbolic Form: Open to books and articles published in 2007 or later that focus on the ecology of language, semantics, semiotics, codes, symbol systems, aesthetic form, etc. Entry requirements: Letter of nomination or self-nomination and five copies. Entrants may request simultaneous consideration for the Marshall McLuhan Award or the Walter Benjamin Award.

The Dorothy Lee Award for Outstanding Scholarship in the Ecology of Culture: Open to books and articles published in 2007 or later that focus on the ethnographic or intercultural analysis of communication, perception, cognition, consciousness, media, technology; material culture, and/or the natural environment. Entry requirements: Letter of nomination or self-nomination and five copies. Entrants may request simultaneous consideration for the Marshall McLuhan Award or the Walter Benjamin Award.

The Lewis Mumford Award for Outstanding Scholarship in the Ecology of Technics: Open to books and articles published in 2007 or later that focus on the history and/or philosophy of technology or science; studies of specific technologies, techniques, or media, and/or their social, cultural, and psychological effects; analysis and criticism of the technological/information society. Entry requirements: Letter of nomination or self-nomination and five copies. Entrants may request simultaneous consideration for the Marshall McLuhan Award or the Walter Benjamin Award.

The Harold A. Innis Award for Outstanding Thesis or Dissertation in the Field of Media Ecology: Open to any Master’s thesis or doctoral dissertation completed for a degree granted in 2007 or later on any topic related to media ecology. Entry requirements: Letter of nomination or self-nomination and five copies.

The Mary Shelley Award for Outstanding Fictional Work: Open to novels, short stories, hypertexts, plays, scripts, comics, audio recordings, motion pictures, videos, and other narrative forms, published or released in 2007 or later, that include media ecology themes, concepts, or insights. Entry requirements: Letter of nomination or self-nomination and five copies.

The John Culkin Award for Outstanding Praxis in the Field of Media Ecology: Open to works of art, media production, professional activity or other practical applications of the media ecology approach. Entry requirements: Letter of nomination or self-nomination and five copies of supporting materials.

The Louis Forsdale Award for Outstanding Educator in the Field of Media Ecology: Open to any instructor on any educational level. Entry requirements: Letter of nomination or self-nomination and five copies of supporting materials.

The Jacques Ellul Award for Outstanding Media Ecology Activism: Open to any individual engaged in political activism whose work is informed by the media ecology perspective. Entry requirements: Letter of nomination or self-nomination and five copies of supporting materials.

The James W. Carey Award for Outstanding Journalism: Open to any individual engaged in journalism whose work is informed by the media ecology perspective. Entry requirements: Letter of nomination or self-nomination and five copies of supporting materials.

Appendix E Time Slot Models

In 2008, the MEA Convention at Santa Clara University used 1 hour 15 minutes time slots, starting on Thursday afternoon.

For the plenary sessions, this allowed the speaker one hour and then time for questions.

For the panels, this allowed four papers each, plus response and questions. Panel sessions were run concurrently and the number of concurrent sessions was adjusted according to the number of papers/panels overall.

In other words, specific time slots need adjusting according to the location of the Convention. (For example, in the case of the 2008 MEA Convention, panels started later on Thursday in order to accommodate travel to California.)

Thus, what is offered below from that 2008 MEA Convention is intended merely as a sample. Please see additional time slot possibilities by reviewing previous Convention manuals.

4:45 – 6:00 pm Panel session
6:00 – 7:30 Opening reception
7:30 – 8:45 Plenary session
9:00 – 10:15 am Panel session
10:30 – 11:45 Plenary session
1:30 – 2:45 pm   Panel session
3:00 – 4:15 Panel session
4:30 – 5:45        Panel session
7:30 – 9:00        Awards presentations/plenary
9:00 – 10:15 am Panel session
10:30 – 11:45     Plenary session
1:30 – 2:45 pm   Plenary session
3:00 – 4:15 Panel session
4:30- 5:45 Plenary session
Evening entertainment
9:00 -10:15 am Panel session
10:15 -11:30 Business meeting
11:45 – 1:00 pm Panel session
1:00 – 1:30        Closing remarks

Appendix F Convention at a Glance

University of Maine, Orono 2010 MEA Convention

Thursday, June 10, 2010
8:30 – 4:00 Registration DPC Atrium
9:00 – 10:15      Session 1 See p. 4
10:30 – 11:45 Session 2 See p. 5
11:45 – 1:00 Lunch Break
1:00 – 2:15 Session 3 See p. 6
2:30 – 3:45   Session 4 See p. 7
4:00 – 5:45       Film Screenings:
Nora Bateson, “The Ecology of Mind”
Barry Vacker, “Space Times Square”
DPC Rm. 100
5:45 – 6:30     Break
6:30 – 9:30 Welcoming Remarks,
Plenary Presentation:
Mary Catherine Bateson, “In Search of Active Wisdom”
Wells Conference Center, Banquet Room
Friday, June 11, 2010
8:30 – 4:00 Registration DPC Atrium
9:00 – 10:15 Session 5 See p. 10
10:30 – 11:45      Plenary Presentation:
Ursula Heise, “Red List Blues: Databases and Biodiversity Loss”
DPC Rm. 100
11:45 – 1:00        Lunch Break
1:00 – 2:15          Session 6 See p. 12
2:30 – 3:45 Session 7 See p. 13
4:00 – 5:15 Keynote Address:
Don Ihde, “Do We Write? Or, Are We Written? Embodiment and Writing Technologies”
DPC Rm. 100
5:15 – 6:30          Break
6:30 – 9:30          Banquet, President’s Address
& 2010 MEA Awards Ceremony
Wells Conference Center, Banquet Room
9:45 – 11:00 “Thus Spoke the Spectacle”
Music Video Media Critique (Performance/Screening) by Eric Goodman & Mike Stevens
DPC Rm. 100
Saturday, June 12, 2010
8:30 – 12:00 Registration DPC Atrium
9:00 – 10:15                 Session 8 See p. 15
10:30 – 11:45 Plenary Presentation:
Andrea Polli, “Breathtaking: Media and the Measuring and Modeling of Climate Change”
DPC Rm. 100
11:45 – 1:00        Lunch Break
1:00 – 2:15 Session 9 See p. 16
2:30 – 3:45 Plenary Presentation:
Chet Bowers, “The Challenge Facing Educational Reformers: Transition from Individual Intelligence to Ecological Intelligence”
DPC Rm. 100
3:45 – 4:30 Break
4:30 – 11:00        Excursion — Acadia National Park and Dinner in Bar Harbor
Sunday, June 13, 2010
9:00 – 10:15        Session 10 See p. 18
10:30 – 12:00      MEA Business Meeting & Closing Remarks (All are welcome and encouraged to attend.)

Appendix G Sample Syllabus

CommArts at MMC Theresa Lang Center for Producing Marymount Manhattan College

Perspectives on Media Ecology Summer 2005/ Cor.D 301.1&2 Class times: Wednesdays (12:50-4:35 or 5:50-9:35)


Professor: Laura Tropp, Ph.D. Office Hours: Nugent 560, Room A Wednesdays, 12:00pm-12:45pm E-mail: Ltropp@mmm.edu Phone: 212-774-4868

Course Description This course will use the 6th Annual Media Ecology Convention to explore media environments and analyze how technology and communication impact our lives.  The class will examine the ideas of scholars who make connections between the field of communication and other disciplines including philosophy, art, feminist theory, education, and political science.  The class content will be organized around the conference, and students will read the works of scholars who will be speaking at the conference. Each student will be required to attend portions of the four-day conference as well as participate in an on-line component of the class.

Course Objectives:

By the end of the semester you should:

  • Be able to analyze media from an interdisciplinary approach.
  • Have completed a semester long research paper on a topic related to your principle major or discipline.
  • Experienced an academic conference, including asking questions and meeting students and faculty from other colleges and universities.
  • Worked with your peers in evaluating yours and their work.
  • Developed your critical analyses skills, writing skills, research skills, and have increased your interest/knowledge of our changing media environment.

Academic Honesty Students are expected to adhere to the College’s rules on academic honesty. All work submitted should be done by the student in preparation for this specific class. Plagiarism and cheating of any kind will not be tolerated. Students will jeopardize their grade not just for the assignment but also for the entire course. If a student has difficulty understanding how to cite sources or has questions concerning the above, contact the professor as soon as possible.

Required Readings:

De Zengotita, Mediated : How the Media Shapes Your World and the Way You Live in It Johnson, Steven. Everything Bad Is Good for You: How Today’s Popular Culture Is Actually Making Us Smarter McLuhan, Marshall. Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man Meyrowitz, Joshua. No Sense of Place: The Impact of Electronic Media on Social Behavior Postman, Neil. Amusing Ourselves to Death


Participation & Convention Attendance (20%): Class participation is essential for this class. The class will be treated like a seminar and students are required to participate actively in each class to debate, discuss, and challenge the ideas presented to them. Since this is a five-week intensive class, you are expected to attend every session. One absence with a documented excuse will be allowed but more than that will result in a drop in grade for each absence. In addition, each late arrival will result in one point off your final grade. In order to fulfill your attendance mandate for this class, you must attend at least 18 hours of the Convention (in addition to the class meeting at the convention on Wednesday). You can choose to divide your time attending the convention in coordination with your personal schedule but the hours must add up to at least 18 and you must attend a variety of events (including featured presenters and panel discussions).

Paper (30%):  Each student will do a research paper (8-10 pages) that explores a “medium” as defined by Marshall McLuhan. You should not choose any technologies that are commonly thought of as media (such as radio, tv, film, the Internet).  Instead, you should find a medium that is of interest to you and/or associated with your principle discipline.  You should explore the history and effects of your technology from an ecological perspective.  Some questions: What idea about the universe and mankind’s place in it, about inquiry, about human behavior, about social relations, etc. – is embedded in this technique or technology? What new perceptions did it suggest or what existing perceptions or forms of social order did it intensify? What conceptions or behaviors did it render obsolete? You should apply the theorists we have read and discussed in class to your analysis of the medium.

Blackboard and Collaborative Work (15%): By Friday of each week, students will post a brief summary of aspects of their paper (to be discussed more in class). Then, students will comment on the ideas of the others no later than by the next class meeting.

Journal (15%): Each student will keep a journal where he/she will record ideas and notes generated during the convention. Students must keep a log of each presentation attended as will as important key ideas and questions generated as a response to the presentation. I must receive these no later than Sunday, June 26th by 6pm. I will not accept late journals.

Reading Responses (20%): Each week, students will bring in 1-2 page reading response. These are due at the beginning of the class and should include the following:

  • the thesis of the reading
  • main criticisms of the reading
  • questions the reading inspires
  • applications of the reading

Course Schedule:

Week I:  May 25th Topic: What is Media Ecology? Reading:

  • Postman, Neil. “Social Science as Moral Theology”
  • Carey, James, “Culture and Communication”
  • Important Link: http://media-ecology.org/

Week II: June 1st Topic: Understanding Marshall McLuhan Readings:

  • Understanding Media, Marshall McLuhan Read: Part 1, Chapters 1, 4, 7 and pick two chapters from Part II
  • Carpenter, Edmund, “Oh, What a Blow that Phantom Gave Me!”
  • http://faculty.virginia.edu/phantom/

Due: In-class: Reading Response On Blackboard by 5/27: Medium and “Extension”

Week III:  June 8th Topic: Blurring Boundaries Reading: Meyrowitz, Joshua. No Sense of Place. Chapters 2, 13, and 14 Due: In-Class: Reading Response On Blackboard by 6/3: “Retrieve”

Week IV: June 15th Topic: Media Battles Readings:

  • Johnson, Steven. Everything Bad Is Good for You: How Today’s Popular Culture Is Actually Making Us Smarter
  • Postman, Neil. Amusing Ourselves to Death

In Class: Reading Response On Blackboard by 6/10: “Obsolete”

Week V: June 22nd: Meet for class at convention Topic: The New Media Ecology Reading: De Zengotita, Mediated : How the Media Shapes Your World and the Way You Live in It Due: Final Paper

Weekend: June 23-26: Meet at Convention

Revised February 10, 2014