Student scoops Excellent Paper Award at CAC Conference

Annie Sing

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Ms Jiang Shujun, Penny, a PhD Student in the Department of English and Communication at City University of Hong Kong has won an Excellent Paper Award at the Third Conference

of the Communication Association of China (CAC). The paper, entitled ‘Media, Community, and Social Harmony: the impact of newspapers on the perception of migrants’ identity in Shenzhen; was short-listed from 200 papers. This achievement once again demonstrates the University’s achievement in academic research and contribution to the region, and the high standards of CityU students.

 

The Conference, organized by the Research Centre for Information and Communication and the Journalism School at FudanUniversity, as well as the CAC, was held at Nanning from 24 to 26 June. The theme was Communication and Social Harmony and more than 100 higher education institutes, research centers and media agencies submitted papers. Ms Jiang presented with Professor Wang Xiaohua from the Department of Communication at ShenzhenUniversity. Their paper was awarded an Excellent Paper Award after a strict selection process led by a panel of judges from the field of communication studies.

 

Ms Jiang and Professor Wang were investigating how newspapers affected the identity of migrants within three different social groups: local residents in Shenzhen, hukou (户口) migrants, and non-hukou migrants, i.e. those with and those without residency permits. The study, carried out in February 2005, surveyed 1,000 Shenzhen residents. The findings indicated that different types of newspapers affected the identity of migrants from these social groups to varying degrees. For local residents, the more they consumed local newspapers, the more they tended to be alienated from non-hukou migrants. For migrants, no matter they were hukou or non-hukou migrants, the more they consumed local newspapers, the more sense of belonging they felt towards the city. Consuming overseas newspapers, however, lessened their sense of belonging.

 

“The mass media plays an important role in constructing a harmonious environment in society,” said Ms Jiang, remarking on the influx of migrants to cities such as Shenzhen and Hong Kong. “It can create conflict as well as alleviate differences in social groups. I hope this paper can shed some light on how mass communication helps reconstruct a positive migrant culture and construct a harmonious society.” In addition, the mass media should be responsible for cultivating a positive city image, establishing a leading migrant culture, and helping foster a shared sense of belonging and identification among the social groups, she added. Subsequently, a solid social foundation could be laid for the healthy development of the city.

 

Ms Jiang expressed her gratitude to Professor Jonathan Zhu, the Conference supervisor. “Professor Zhu was involved at every stage of the writing process of my paper. He is devoted to helping us in our research. Even during weekends, he came all the way to school to discuss the paper, which really touched me. He urged me to present my ideas to other scholars because the process of oral presentation is also a re-organization of the overall research design. I learned a lot during the whole process, not only about research but also about academic studies and life.”

 

The CAC is the only country-wide academic conference in the field of communication among higher educational institutes in mainland China. Each year it develops different themes and invites prominent professors and outstanding research students from the mainland, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macau to give papers. Following international academic guidelines, the panel is formed from a group of experts who scrutinize the submitted papers to select the most outstanding for awards of excellence. Such recognition helps promote quality research in journalism and communication studies.

 

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