On April 21, from 12:00 to 1:30 p.m. CST, the University of Missouri’s Media & Diversity Center (MDC) held a virtual networking event. Faculty and grad students studying media and diversity issues at Texas A&M University, the University of Missouri, Ohio State University and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst introduced themselves and shared their research interests over Zoom. With six faculty members and 15 students, there were 21 virtual participants in this lively discussion.
MDC event participants took part in two breakout groups on the following topics:
1. Timely topics in media diversity research
2. Public engagement and outreach
With faculty heading up the breakout groups, the student participants switched groups partway through the event so that the students had an opportunity to engage in both discussions.
Dr. Srividya Ramasubramanian led the second breakout group, covering public engagement and outreach. Dr. Srivi led the discussion in this group along with Dr. Lissa Behm-Morawitz, who is the associate dean of the Graduate School at the University of Missouri, and Dr. Erica Scharrer, who is an associate professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Massachusetts.
Dr. Srivi offered her expertise about how to use your research to engage the public and even pursue outreach to embolden equitable participation in mediated spaces. She discussed the Media Rise organization that she established as an example of going beyond establishing empirical patterns with research to also manifest inclusive media production and use practices.
The reaction to the MDC event was overwhelmingly positive. Those who attended the event had the following comments to say about the community-building experience that was possible with Dr. Srivi’s leadership in these group discussions.
“Today's session reminded me that I don't have to do it alone,” said MDC Co-Director Dr. Lissa Behm-Morawitz. “When I have an idea, I should reach out to other MDC friends and affiliates and work together.”
“It is great to know that there is a community of scholars and practitioners dedicated to learning more about and increasing diversity in media,” said an anonymous attendee during the event.
“Hearing others discuss their media inclusivity efforts always encourages and inspires me,” said MDC co-Director Dr. Julius Riles.