2016 Barrow Award winner accepts honor in absentia

The Commission on the Status of Minorities congratulates Dr. Joel Beeson of West Virginia University, 2016 Barrow Award winner for his teaching & researc1326745136_mdh on historically underrepresented groups and veterans.

The commission and Minorities and Communication Division presented his honor at the annual AEJMC convention in Minneapolis, with WVU media dean Maryanne Reed accepting on behalf of Beeson, who could not attend due to health complications.

“I wish I were there with you to celebrate and honor the life and work of Dr. Barrow – classmate of Dr. King’s at Morehouse; WWII and Korean War veteran; awarded master’s and PhD degrees, and a fearless soldier for civil rights in journalism education and media, not to mention a beloved dean of the Howard University School of Communications,” Beeson wrote Barrow officials. “I (am) humbled and touched to be honored by my peers in the name of such a legendary figure.”

CSM, MAC and AEJMC leaders said they sympathized with the professor, who has a long history of work with the historically underrepresented.

“Dr. Beeson’s fine work celebrating multiple minorities and teamed with other societal groups, such as veterans, impressed the Barrow Award Committee,” said Commission Chairman Kyle Huckins, who headed the honor’s panel. “The applied nature of his work and incorporation of students in projects also aided his candidacy.”

Beeson is an associate professor at the WVU Reed College of Media. His research in virtual reality is informed by two decades of delving into race and representation, emerging media and documentary studies.

The academician has M.A. and B.A. degrees from the University of Missouri-Columbia and received his doctorate in American Studies at the Union Institute and University investigating how Critical Race and Feminist Standpoint theories can inform counter-narratives in social documentary projects using oral history methods.

Beeson currently leads a collaborative initiative with Morgan State University’s School of Global Communication and Journalism, a historically black urban institution, to develop a social justice media project. This collaboration resulted in Bridging Selma and the virtual reality app, Fractured Tour.

His work in VR journalism was recently featured on MediaShift. In 2014, he launched an interactive website, thebookofwarpoems.com, which highlights a book of poems written by two young African-American sisters from the early 1900s rural U.S. He produced and directed the award-winning 2008 documentary “Fighting on Two Fronts: the Untold Stories of African American WWII Veterans.”