Sunlight joined very prestigious company last week by earning the 2013 Professional Freedom & Responsibility Award Winner by the Cultural and Critical Studies Division members of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC). We are just thrilled to receive this recognition for our work to make government more transparent and accountable and thank the members of the Cultural and Critical Studies Division!
In winning the award, Sunlight joined an esteemed group of awardees, including I.F. Stone, Bill Moyers, Molly Ivins and Lisa Graves of the Center for Media & Democracy, who won last year — amongst others.
The Cultural and Critical Studies Division is key within AEJMC for evaluating mediated forms of communication to improve democracy, and it created the Professional Freedom and Responsibility Award in 1979 to honor individuals and organizations “for their courage, persistence or brilliance in upholding professional freedom and responsibility.” According to the Division’s website, AEJMC’s Professional Freedom and Responsibility Guidelines encompass
- free expression
- media criticism and accountability
- racial, gender and cultural inclusiveness
- public service, and
- equal opportunities for students.
So, of course when I went to receive the award on behalf of Sunlight Friday night, I made a hard sell to work with AEJMC members and their students. It might seem like a while away, but attack ads are already airing in anticipation of the 2014 midterm (and 2016!) elections, and we could use more people power to join our Political Ad Sleuth project to free the ad-buy files from broadcasters. We look forward to working together soon!
[And on a personal note, if you’ll indulge me dear reader, it was an absolute thrill to represent Sunlight and reconnect with professors from my academic past (I was a cultural studies nerd while earning my Master of Arts in Journalism at the University of Texas at Austin), including Jack Lule of Lehigh University, who first inspired this once-struggling-engineering student to follow her heart and study journalism.]
Photo above of UNLV Communications Professor and Critical & Cultural Studies Division Head Erika Engstrom awarding Sunlight’s Communications Director Gabriela Schneider with Sunlight’s award. (Photo courtesy of Erika Engstrom.)