Chairman’s Corner: Convention report

by the Rev. Kyle Huckins, Ph.D., CSM Chairman

The 2016 AEJMC conference in Minneapolis saw the Commission on the Status of Minorities assuming a higher profile through on-site publicity, social media, sessions and organization-wide board meetings.

The Rev. Kyle Huckins, Ph.D., CSM Chairman
The Rev. Kyle Huckins, Ph.D., CSM Chairman

As CSM sent out tweets, AEJMC and others retweeted many and added their own, such as this from AEJMC outgoing board member Jennifer Greer: “Learning of the good work of @DiversityFight at @AEJMC board meeting #AEJMC16.”

I related the long list of new initiatives started over the last year by CSM, including our diversity experts’ database, strong session on attracting and retaining multicultural faculty and graduate students, support of and coordination with the Trailblazers of Diversity video project and the Minorities and Communication Division, and launching a new website with more than 1,000 visits in four months, Twitter account now having 120 followers and growth in Facebook likes by more than 40 percent.

At the incoming AEJMC board members’ meeting, I told the panel commission members wanted to move our proceedings to Friday afternoon or Saturday morning to be more accessible to a greater audience. The board agreed to do so as the 2017 Chicago schedule develops.

I also relayed the sentiment that CSM should work with incoming AEJMC President Paul Voakes on a statement urging the American Society of Magazine Editors to begin tracking diversity in the genre’s employee ranks, which came out of a MAC-Magazine Division panel on which I served. Outgoing President Polly Bergen said not only should we have a statement, AEJMC should look at funding a survey of magazine leadership to find out racial breakdowns and inquire about internship priorities. I told her that these last two items also had been advanced at the panel session, unbeknownst to her.

I mentioned to both boards CSM membership is up in double-digit percentages from last year, no small feat when AEJMC overall is down 3 percent, or about 100 members, from 2015. I also explained the commission is reaching out more greatly to master’s and doctoral students by naming the first-ever CSM graduate student coordinator and cutting grads’ annual dues to $5, effective Oct. 1, 2016.

The Commission on the Status of Minorities is becoming a more visible and vital factor in AEJMC business day by day. Thank you for your membership and support as CSM fights for diversity in media, academia and AEJMC!