Top Paper Awards

Top Paper Awards

To acknowledge research excellence, the MCS Division provides cash awards and waives one AEJMC conference registration fee for the top four winners in each research paper competition (Open, Student, Moeller). All MCS research submissions, regardless of faculty or student authorship, are judged together as general papers. However, the top papers in the Open and Student categories are recognized separately. At least one author of each winning paper is asked to attend the MCS Awards Luncheon to receive their awards.

Student Competition: Graduate and undergraduate students are invited to submit original research regarding any topic related to mass communication and society. For a paper to be considered for a student paper award, all of the authors must be students. The paper must be submitted to the Student Competition category online. A faculty member as co-author automatically moves the paper to the Open Competition.

Moeller Student Paper Competition: Students who submit a paper written for a class during the previous year are eligible for the Mass Communication and Society Moeller Student Paper Competition. Moeller Competition papers must be nominated by the faculty member who taught the class. To nominate a student paper, the faculty should send the research chair(s) an email verifying that the paper was completed for a class. Papers submitted for the Moeller Competition must clearly note the competition on the title page. Please remember that the Moeller Competition is separate from our Student Paper Competition. The paper must be correctly submitted to the Moeller Competition category online.

Open Competition: All other papers submitted to the Division will be reviewed in the Open Competition.

Past Winners:


  • Faculty 1st Place

    • Winners: Sara Yeo (University of Utah), Michael Cacciatore (University of Georgia), Isabelle Freiling (University of Utah), Leona Su (University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign), Jennifer Shiyue Zhang (University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign), Sung In Choi (University of Georgia), Meaghan McKasy (Utah Valley University)
    • Project: Knowledge Gaps: Media Attention and Factual, Surveillance, and Perceived Knowledge Among White, Black, and Hispanic Audiences
  • Faculty 2nd Place

    • Winners: Gyo Hyun Koo, Tom Johnson, Melissa Santillana, Gayoung Jeon (University of Texas at Austin)
    • Project: Toxicity of Political Participation and News Cynicism: How Social Media News Use Predicts Disinformation Beliefs and Support for Political Violence
  • Faculty 3rd Place

    • Winners: Azmat Rasul, Nadia Rahman (Zayed University)
    • Project: Meaningfully Entertained: Exploring the Relationship between Exposure to Meaningful Media and Political Engagement
  • Moeller Student Paper 1st Place

    • Winner: Biying Wu-Ouyang (Chinese University of Hong Kong)
    • Project: Boosting or Limiting? Examining How FOMO Influences Personal News Curation Through Social Media News Fatigue
  • Student 1st Place

    • Winner: Weiwen Yu (Arizona State University)
    • Project: A Dynamic Analysis of Public Opinion on Weibo During the Shanghai Lockdown
  • Student 2nd Place

    • Winners: Hongjie Tang, Yongjie Yue (Tsinghua University)
    • Project: Happy Being Me: Unraveling the Effect Process of Appearance-related Social Media Exposure on Body Esteem Among Females with Varying Levels of Trait Self-Objectification
  • Student 3rd Place

    • Winner: Christian Staal Bruun Overgaard (University of Texas at Austin)
    • Project: Negative Sentiment, Virality, and Media Bias: A Computational Analysis of News Content on Social Media


Open competition

1st Place: Reading Prosocial Content in Books and Adolescents’ Prosocial Behavior: From a Developmental Perspective; Pengya Ai, Nanyang Technological University, Wu Li, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Liuning Zhou, Ga Ryeong Kim, University of Southern California

2nd Place: Opinion Extremity Predicted by Media Exposure, Information Processing Mode, and Issue Sophistication regarding U.S.-China Trade Dispute; Yaxin Dai, Beijing Foreign Studies University, Xigen Li, Shanghai University

3rd Place: Down for a Lockdown? Understanding Lockdown Preparedness through a Social Vulnerability Perspective; Zhang Hao Goh, Edson Tandoc Jr, Nanyang Technological University

Student Competition

1st Place: Defining, validating and testing news skepticism: A news literacy approach; Tamar Wilner, Gyo Hyun Koo, Cameron McCann, University of Texas at Austin

2nd Place: A Study on Digital Inclusion of Chinese Rural Older Adults from a Life Course Perspective; Ruimin He, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Huan Zhang, Communication University of China

3rd Place: Pro-Mask or Anti-Mask? A Content Analysis of Online News about the COVID-19; Xinxia Dong, Yi Yin Leong, University at Buffalo

Moeller Competition

1st Place: Moralization in Polarized Debate on COVID-19 Vaccination: Human-AI Collaborative Analysis of Tweets; Ali Zain, University of South Carolina

2nd Place: Building a Sexstainable future: Pornhub, CSR, and the anti-sustainability heterosexual male; Patrick Johnson, University of Iowa

3rd Place: Predicting potential adoption of risky vaping behaviors among college students using the variables of framing and perceived behavioral control; Carl Ciccarelli, University of South Carolina


Open competition:

1st Place: Informational, Infrastructural and Emotional Labor: The Extra Work in a News and Broadband Desert Nick Mathews, University of Minnesota Christopher Ali, Virginia University

2nd Place: Jessica Jones: Exploring Marvel’s Dark Anti-Hero and the Portrayal of Complex Women Characters Newly Paul Gwendelyn Nisbett, University of North Texas

3rd Place: Fake News in the Family: How Family Communication Patterns and Conflict History Affect the Intent to Correct Misinformation among Family Members Franklin Waddell, Chelsea Moss, University of Florida

Student Competition

1st Place: The Mediated Classroom: A Grounded Theory Analysis of Live Streaming Media Affordance and Teaching Context Remodeling from The Perspective of Actor-Network Theory Yefu Qian Chen Li 14 Ruimin He, Shanghai Jiaotong University, China

2nd Place: Cancel Culture and Its Underlying Motivations in Singapore Beerly Tan Gabrielle Lee Rachel Angeline Chua Charlyn Ng, Nanyang Technological University

3rd Place: Women on-screen: Exploring the relationship between consumption of female talent shows and sexism, internalization of beauty ideals, and self-objectification in China Yi Yang Yunyi Hu, The Chinese University of Hong Kong

Moeller competition:

1st Place: The New Media Normal: Survey-based study of COVID-19 Effects on Motivations to Consume Non-News Media Kate Steward, University of South Carolina

2nd Place: Purpose vs. Mission vs. Vision: Persuasive Appeals and Components in Corporate Statements, Alexis Fitzsimmons Yufan Sunny Qin Eve Heffron, University of Florida

2020 Winners

Open Competition

1st Place: “Correcting Vaccine Misinformation: Effects of Source Attributes and Recall on Misinformation Belief and Persuasive Outcomes”
Michelle Amazeen, Boston University
Arunima Krishna, Boston University

2nd Place: “Emotional Labor During Disaster Coverage: Exploring Expectations for Emotional Display”
Gretchen Dworznik-Hoak, Kent State University

3rd Place: “Perceptions vs. Performance: How Routines, Norms, and Values Influence Journalists’ Protest Coverage Decisions”
Summer Harlow, University of Houston
Danielle Kilgo, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities

Student Competition
1st Place: “Hostile Media Perception in the Age of Social Media: The Role of Social Identity”
Eric Cooks, University of Alabama

2nd Place: “Digital Discussions of Women Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints: Intimacy in Private Facebook Groups Grounded in Motherhood”
Alexis Romero Walker, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

3rd Place: “Parental and Peer Mediation in Relation to Adolescents’ Perceptions of On- and Off-screen Risk Behavior
Anne Sadza, Radboud University

Moeller Competition

1st Place: “Digital Feminist Activism & the Need for Male Allies: Assessing Barriers to Male Participation in the Modern-Day Women’s Movement”
Sydney Nicolla, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

2019 Winners

Open Competition

1st Place: “Developing and Validating the Scale of Parental Social Media Mediation Across Child and Parent Samples“
Liang Chen, Sun Yat-sen University, China
Shirley Ho, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
May Lwin, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
Lunrui Fu, Sun Yat-sen University, China

2nd Place: “Making Sense of Harvey: An Exploration of How Journalists Find Meaning in Disaster”
Gretchen Dworznik-Hoak, Kent State University

3rd Place: “Effects of Narrative Political Ads on Message and Candidate Attitudes”
Fuyuan Shen; Guolan Yang, Jeff Conlin, Pratiti Diddi, Pennsylvania State University

Student Competition

1st Place: “Anyone In their Right Mind Wouldn’t Create It’: Online Community Formation Through Shitposting”
Yi En Ho, Dion Loh, Tsi Ying Au, Celine Mok; Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

2nd Place: “A Serial Mediation Model of Media Exposure on Body Shame: The Role of Internalization of Appearance Ideals and Self-Objectification”
Lin Li, Michigan State University

3rd Place: Where Local Meets Plethora: Patterns of Media Usage and Community Integration
Meredith Metzler, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Moeller Competition

1st Place: “Post Facto: Experimental Test of a Game-Based News Literacy Intervention”
Tamar Wilner, University of Texas at Austin

2nd Place: “Two Sides of the Bed: Does Mood Affect Consumer Response to Controversial Advertising?”
Chris Noland, University of South Carolina

2018 Winners

Open Competition

1st Place: “The Effects of Constructive Television News Reporting on Prosocial Intentions and Behavior in Children.”
Iris Van Venrooij, Tobias Sachs, Mariska Kleemans, Radboud University

2nd Place: “Errors and Corrections in Digital News Content.”
Kirstie Hettinga, California Lutheran University; Alyssa Appelman, Northern Kentucky University

3rd Place: “Who is to Blame? Analysis of Government and News Media Frames during the 2014 Earthquake in Chile.”
Magdalena Saldana, Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile

Student Competition

1st Place: “Asian International Students’ Mass Media Use and Acculturation Strategies: Considering the Effects of Remote Acculturation.”
Lin Li, Michigan State University; Shao Chengyuan, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

2nd Place: “Colorism and Love for Fair Skin: Exploring Digitization’s Effect on India’s Arranged Marriage Matrimonial Ads.”
Dhiman Chattopadhyay, Sriya Chattopadhyay, Bowling Green State University

3rd Place: “Finding A Voice: Newspaper Editors and The Effect of Sexual Assault and Rape News.”
Susan Tebben, Ohio University

Moeller Student Paper Award

1st Place: “Nothing but the Facts? Journalistic Objectivity and Media Adjudication of President Trump’s False Claims.”
Deborah Dwyer, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

2nd Place: “Effects of Self-Construal and Environmental Consciousness on Green Corporate Social Responsibility Perceptions.”
Nandini Bhalla, University of South Carolina

2017 Winners

Top Faculty Paper

Frank Waddell, University of Florida for “Ideological Objectivity or Violated Expectations? Testing the Effects of Machine Attribution on News Evaluation”

Top Student Paper

Jiyoun-Suk, University of Wisconsin-Madison for “The ‘Primed’ Third-Person Effect of Racial Minority Portrayals in Media”

Moeller Student Paper

Won-ki Moon & Joon Kim, University of South Carolina for “Who is Responsible for Low-Fertility in South Korea?”

2016 Winners

Top Faculty Paper

Collin Berke, Travis Loof, Rebecca Densley, Eric Rasmussen, Justin Keene, Texas Tech University for “Co-viewing as Social Facilitation of Children’s Cognitive Processing of Educational Television Content.”

Top Student Paper

Nathian Rodriguez, Texas Tech University for “Negotiation of Sexual Identity in Gay On-Air Talent on West Texas Mainstream Media.”

Moeller Student Paper

Keonyoung Park & Hyejin Kim, University of Minnesota for “Social Media for Socialization? The Mediation Role of Social Media on the Relationship be- tween Sex and Traditional Gender Values.”