In Medias Res - April 2020

22 Apr 2020 12:05 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

The Official Newsletter for the Media Ecology Association

April 2020 Newsletter

A Message Regarding COVID-19 Updates

Dear MEA members, community and friends,

We are sending our wishes for health during this difficult time with the COVID-19 pandemic. We hope that you and your loved ones are safe and healthy.

In light of this uncertain global situation, and after thorough review and careful consideration, the Executive Board of the MEA has decided to transform the upcoming 2020 Convention into an online event.

The theme of the 2020 convention is “Communication Choices and Challenges”. Moving our annual convention online is our choice, coherent with the mission of our association to study of complex communication systems as environments. Making this annual convention a meaningful and successful event is going to be an exciting challenge for everyone involved. We believe this is a unique opportunity we can embrace together as a community.

As per the above determination, we made the following arrangements:

  • Our 2020 online convention will take place over the same week the Garden City event was scheduled, beginning one day early, thus from Wednesday June 17 to Saturday June 20, 2020.
  • Using a videoconferencing platform, our plans for an online convention include a mixed format, synchronous and asynchronous (live and recorded sessions), both for plenaries and for thematic panels.
  • A Subcommittee has been convened to provide the necessary support to organize the online convention, with Peggy Cassidy as Chair.
  • All online convention activities, panels, plenaries, and events will be accessible to all registrants. After the event, archives will be fully accessible to MEA members only.
  • We are reducing the convention registration fees accordingly to reflect the reviewed format. More information will be announced in the coming weeks as we consider platforms and various other costs. Those who already paid for the annual convention can ask for a refund. However, we invite those members to donate that portion of their sustaining or institutional membership fees in support of the Association this year.

Finally, and most importantly, we decided to reopen submissions for additional presenters, from April 13 until April 26. Please submit paper and panel proposals, in English, by April 26, 2020 to

Thank you in advance for your patience, understanding, and support as we work to create a re-imagined, innovative online convention experience.

We will be posting more information in the coming weeks. Should you need any further information, please do not hesitate to contact us at

We look forward to the opportunity to work with you to bring our first online convention to life.

Stay safe, stay well. We miss your faces and hope to see you online soon!

Paolo Granata, President
Peggy Cassidy, Annual Convention Coordinator

The Twenty-First Annual Convention of the Media Ecology Association

Communication Choices and Challenges

June 17-20, 2020

Adelphi University, Garden City, New York

Media Ecology is a discipline whose history, perspectives, and scholarly interests incorporate a broad array of academic and professional disciplines focusing on “the study of complex communication systems as environments” (Christine Nystrom, 1973). Every year, the MEA convention provides a unique opportunity for academics and professionals to come together in a relaxed and collegial environment that encourages conversation and creativity.

The theme of the 2020 convention is “Communication Choices and Challenges.” In every act of communication, people make choices. We choose where, when, and how to express ourselves or locate and use information. We choose the medium that seems best suited to the task: are we trying to reach the largest possible audience, get the word out quickly, or ensure that our message reaches future generations? Do we wish to convey a deep sense of intimacy, empathy, authority, or cool distance? Are we looking for information from a wide variety of perspectives, confirmation of what we already believe, or the deepest possible exploration of an issue?

Featured speakers at the 2020 convention include Jay Rosen, press critic and author of, What Are Journalists For?, and countless articles and essays on American journalism; and Maryanne Wolf, international advocate for children and literacy and author of Reader, Come Home: The Reading Brain in a Digital World, Tales of Literacy for the 21stCentury, and Dyslexia, Fluency, and the Brain.

Presentations will address choices and challenges related to:

  • the construction of identity and the presentation of self on social media
  • the use of media to establish and/or maintain relationships (among individuals, in families, between political leaders and their constituents, in between celebrities and fans, etc.)
  • representation and storytelling by producers of news and entertainment
  • promotional and strategic communication—the choices involved in designing strategic messaging, as well as the impact on audience attitudes, decisions, and behaviors
  • the erosion or illusion of choice due to the concentration of media ownership
  • the 2020 U.S. presidential election, which will take place just months after the convention

Virtual Coffee

Are you interested in media ecology and have some questions about it? Are you working on a study related to media ecology and searching for advice? Are you an instructor looking for a media ecology expert to invite as a virtual guest speaker to one of your classes?

Get in touch with us! We are happy to schedule a “virtual coffee” appointment with you. Simply fill out the form below to set up a short call or virtual meeting with a scholar from the MEA.

The format is open to all. We especially encourage students and early-career scholars interested in media ecology to get in touch with us.

Do you have a background in media ecology and would like to volunteer for virtual coffee meetings with those looking to learn more about it? Send an email to Julia M. Hildebrand.

Arrange a Virtual Coffee appointment on our website.

Back Issues of EME

Pedagogy Sections Include Online Teaching

Access all back issues of Explorations in Media Ecology in the Members Area on the MEA website. These back issues include pedagogy sections that contain information about teaching, including teaching online.

Call for Submissions from Pedagogy Editor, Mike Plugh

As Pedagogy Editor for our journal Explorations in Media Ecology, I thought I’d take a moment to send out this brief call for submissions. Given the extraordinary circumstances of the moment, and the broad adoption of distance/online learning, I thought I’d take this opportunity to solicit submissions related to the theories and practices of education online.

The spirit of this request is aimed at helping people who are, voluntarily or by mandate, shifting their work to online environments in order that they benefit from our expertise in this area. There is, undoubtedly, a huge range of perspectives on this practice. I’d love to hear any and all of them. Likewise, there is a huge range of “best practices,” syllabi, and activities that might help people from K-Graduate education in their efforts to do this well.

I’m seeking scholarly manuscripts in the range of 2500 to 7500 words. I’d be interested in articles dedicated to activities and practicum at the shorter part of that range, and theoretical pieces and more elaborate treatments at the higher end. Please submit manuscripts by May 8.

If you have questions, please feel free to reach out to me at:

Thanks very much, as always, to the clever and resourceful members of our community. I hope you’re all well, wherever you are.

-Mike Plugh

MEA @ NCA 2020

The Call for Papers for MEA at the National Communication Association is available — submissions have been extended to April 8 at 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time. The convention, “Communication at the Crossroads,” will be held in Indianapolis, IN from November 19–22, 2020.

The 2020 NCA convention theme, “Communication at the Crossroads,” suggests an emphasis on intra-disciplinary collaboration and exploration. Media ecology is situated to explore communication in this way as a metadiscipline that studies the ways in which human action shapes and is shaped by our media environments. The term “media” is broadly construed in the field and includes but is not limited to communication, technology, technique, orality and literacy, the arts, economics, education, ethics, etc. Thus, media ecology explores the conditions of human experience made possible by the complex patterns of interaction within and among our symbolic-material environments. These complex patterns of interaction represent a crossroads of sorts in an environment Neil Postman characterized by the phrase “information glut.”

“Communication at the Crossroads” also suggests the importance of our many human connections during uncertain times. The present circumstances are indeed a sort of crossroads, and we find ourselves navigating a very uncertain path together. The many ideas represented in media ecology may help our communities to address these challenges and choose a better path forward. Submissions related to our current circumstances, be they related to pandemic and public health, news coverage, online education, or the symbolic and ritual practices of community, are welcome.

Timely Digital Resources

Here are some helpful digital resources as we transition to virtual classrooms (Provided by the National Communication Association):

MEA @ ICA 2020

This year’s International Communication Association convention, “Open Communication,” has been converted to a virtual format. Read more details here.

Call for the 2022 Annual Convention Host

The MEA is currently looking for a host for the Twenty-Third Annual Convention of the Media Ecology Association in 2022. If you are interested in hosting, please visit our website and email our Executive Secretary Fernando Gutiérrez at

MEA Membership Renewal Reminder

t is not too late to renew your membership by paying your dues. Volume 19, #1 of Explorations in Media Ecology will be mailed in March, but only to those who have paid their membership dues and will lose access to the online version as well as other member area benefits. Please log into the website at, and then log in using your email ID and password and follow the directions. You may pay online via PayPal or pay by check made payable to the Media Ecology Association and mailed to our treasurer, Paul Soukup, S.J., at the Communication Department; Santa Clara University; 500 El Camino Real; Santa Clara, CA 95053 USA. For those outside the U.S., you may also pay by Western Union money order sent to

Membership will renew at the level from 2019; if you wish to change your membership, please drop Paul Soukup a note. If you wish, you may also register for the convention at the early registration price. If you wish to wait on that, early registration discounts are available until mid-May.

*Please note: The Media Ecology Association Executive Board decided that the newsletter will be available online to all interested readers. However, only members can be featured in the newsletter itself. If you are a MEA member, please fill out this form.

Donate to MEA through AmazonSmile

When you order through AmazonSmile, the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price of eligible products to the charitable organization of your choice.”

To use it, go to and sign in as you usually do. Directly under the search bar, you will find a pull-down for supported charities. Search for and select Media Ecology Association.

MEA Member News and Achievements

Media Ecology for Educators: An Introduction

Matt McGuire has recently created a podcast called Media Ecology for Educators: An Introduction. Read below for the description:

“This podcast serves as an introduction to the field of media ecology, particularly to those who are interested in applying some of the contributions from its main scholars to the field of education. I attempt to weave some of the main scholars’ key concepts from the field of media ecology into a web directly pertaining to educational technology and shed light onto how these ideas might translate into a media ecology pedagogy for an audience new to these concepts.

This podcast is about three big questions: - What is Media Ecology? - Why is it important to study media? - What useful approaches might students and teachers take to better understand media?”

Click here for the podcast:

“We look at the present through a rear-view mirror. We march backwards into the future.” - Marshall McLuhan

Gergo Vargo created an animation on Marshall McLuhan’s definition of the global village, certainly relevant to today. Click here for the video:


To submit your news to In Medias Res, the official monthly newsletter of the Media Ecology Association, members can click here for the submission form.

We are looking for news that is relevant to the members of MEA. This might include member achievements (i.e., journal publications, books, creative works, etc.), awards received, upcoming relevant conferences, recent books that MEA members should be aware of, web content that might interest MEA members, news about upcoming EME issues, calls for submissions, etc.

The deadline for submissions to be included in the next month’s newsletter is the 28th of every month at 5pm EST.

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