The Union for Democratic Communications is pleased to announce that Robert A. Hackett will receive the Dallas Smythe Award at the 2015 UDC conference.
Robert A. Hackett has been a professor and researcher in the School of Communication at Simon Fraser University since 1984. Although his academic degrees are in political studies, Hackett switched to communication studies after encountering Dallas Smythe and his work in 1980. Hackett’s publications include seven books, mostly collaborative, in the areas of media activism, political communication and news analysis. Hackett helped to found several community-based media action and education initiatives, including the media monitoring project NewsWatch Canada in 1993, Vancouver’s annual Media Democracy Days in 2001, and OpenMedia.ca in 2007. He is on the editorial board of eight journals, and his work has been translated into Chinese, Serbian and Ukrainian.
His work in media activism, communication rights and democratic communication models focuses on popular efforts to make media institutions more accountable and diverse, in alliance with social movements that aim to redistribute social, economic and political power and capital. In particular, Hackett has been concerned with media democratization as a rising social movement, the subject of Remaking Media (with William K. Carroll, Routledge, 2006). In conjunction with WACC and OpenMedia.ca, he has also researched Canadian activists’ views of communication policy in the Canadian context.
Hackett’s research in journalism studies has focussed on the “regime of objectivity” in news, and its ideological implications (with Yuezhi Zhao); “blind spots” in the agenda of Canada’s corporate press (with Donald Gutstein and NewsWatch Canada); and news representations of public issues, including workers’ struggles, the peace movement, and international conflict. He has a particular interest in “challenger paradigms,” such as peace journalism and alternative media, as more democratic and empowering forms of public communication. The need for journalism that can support transformational social movements is all the more urgent in the context of global climate crisis, the focus of Hackett’s current research with colleagues in Canada and Australia.
About the Dallas Smythe award
The Dallas Smythe Award is given in loving memory of one of the great pioneers of the study of the political economy of communications and one of the great leaders in the struggle for democratic communications. At each conference, the Union for Democratic Communications honors a critical media scholar/activist whose work exhibits the spirit of engagement, democracy, teaching, and feistiness to which the UDC is committed.
Past recipients of the Dallas Smythe Award include Santiago Alvarez, John Downing, Tom Guback, DeeDee Halleck, Ed Herman, Robert McChesney, Eileen Meehan, Vincent Mosco, Manju Pendakur, Peter Phillips, Herb Schiller, Janet Wasko, and Yuezhi Zhao.
The award will be presented at the 2015 conference at University of Toronto, Canada, May 1-3.