2020 ICA-affiliated New Media International Conference at Shanghai Jiao Tong University

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On October 24th, the 2020 ICA-affiliated New Media International Conference at Shanghai Jiao Tong University was held in Shanghai. In the context of the global spread of the Covid-19 pandemic, this conference was conducted under the theme of "Intelligent Communication and Social Concerns" online and offline. More than 1500 people including the current President of the ICA, Professor Claes De Vreese of the University of Amsterdam, President Select-Elect of the ICA, Professor Noshir Contractor of Northwestern University, former President of the ICA, Professor Terry Flew of Queensland University of Technology, Australia, former President of the ICA, Professor Ang Peng Hwa of Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, former ICA President, Professor Patrice Buzzanell of the University of South Florida and other experts and scholars from home and abroad, deans of Journalism Schools in China, experts in the industry and journalism students gathered via cloud and the offline conference site to share views, exchange ideas, and enlighten wisdom.


Wang Weiming, Vice President of Shanghai Jiao Tong University, and Ji Ying, Vice President of the Shanghai United Media Group delivered speeches at the opening ceremony. Li Benqian, Dean and Distinguished Professor of the School of Media and Communication of Shanghai Jiao Tong University, hosted the opening ceremony.


The current President of the ICA, Professor Claes de Vreese from the University of Amsterdam, former President of the ICA, Professor Terry Flew from Queensland University of Technology in Australia and President Select-Elect of the ICA, Professor Noshir Contractor from Northwestern University all extended their congratulations during the opening ceremony for the successful hosting of the conference despite the special circumstances.


Li Benqian, Dean and Distinguished Professor of

the School of Media and Communication, Shanghai Jiao Tong University

Li Benqian, Dean and Distinguished Professor of the School of Media and Communication, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, chaired the opening ceremony. On behalf of the School of Media and Communication of Shanghai Jiao Tong University, he extended a warm welcome to the guests attending the conference online and offline. He said that this was the eighth consecutive cooperation between Shanghai Jiao Tong University and the International Communication Association, reflecting ICA's affirmation and trust in the School of Media and Communication at Shanghai Jiao Tong University and the Chinese communication community. The conference has become a preeminent venue for presenting and discussing cutting-edge academic and industry research in media and communications. 


Prof. Li Benqian delivered Prof. Claes De Vreese’s address

Since Prof. Claes De Vreese couldn’t attend in person, he asked Prof. Li Benqian to deliver his address on his behalf: As President of the ICA and Faculty Professor of Artificial Intelligence and Democracy at the University of Amsterdam, I wish to convey my congratulations to the Shanghai team and offer my best wishes for a fruitful conference. The world is facing unique challenges currently and it is important to continue our quest for innovative and impactful research. Your conference theme is the core of societal developments and I hope you will continue to have inspiring days. And I hope we can meet again in person in the near future.


President Select-Elect of the ICA, Professor Noshir Contractor (first from left)

President Select-Elect of ICA Prof. Noshir Contractor of Northwestern University introduced his team’s research titled "Teamwork in the Covid-19 Era". The study found that during the Covid-19 epidemic, the teamwork of multinational companies has gone through a process of "external focus, internal focus, and internal and external balance". The Covid-19 epidemic has had a significant impact on the organizational operation and interpersonal transmission of multinational companies.


Former President of the ICA, Professor Terry Flew

Professor Terry Flew’s article observes that while the global COVID-19 pandemic has led to significant growth in news consumption, this has not translated into either greater trust or an improved financial situation for news providers. While exploring five issues for the study of news and trust, including the impact of digital platforms, the accountability revolution, the crisis of news media business models, the power-shift within media to platforms in the time of COVID-19, and the turn to subscription-based media, it raises critical issues around the value of news, and the future relationship between subscriptions, advertising revenue and public funding in the future of news publication and distribution.


Former President of the ICA, Professor Patrice Marie Buzzanell

Professor Patrice Marie Buzzanell’s keynote provides an overview of recent scale development and validation of the Communication Resilience Process Scale (CRPS; Wilson, Kuang, Hintz, & Buzzanell, 2020) and its Chinese version (CRPS-CN; Kuang, Tian, Wilson, & Buzzanell, 2020). Both the English and Chinese versions indicate that the resilience processes are associated with wellbeing, such as posttraumatic growth and mental health. 


Former President of the ICA, Professor Ang Peng Hwa

In his speech on "Artificial Intelligence in Media and Communication", former President of ICA and professor at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, Ang Peng Hwa discussed the application of artificial intelligence in the field of communication in the context of the global epidemic. He emphasized that artificial intelligence technology has optimized the news production process and injected “fresh blood” (new elements) into it, such as automated writing and predictive models, but it also exposed problems such as the proliferation of fake news.


Professor S. Shyam Sundar from Pennsylvania State University

Professor S. Shyam Sundar explores the idea that intelligent communication technologies, while they can be deployed effectively to address massive societal threats like the Covid-19 pandemic, they can also be misused to target individuals, spread misinformation and promote polarization and conflict. As the intelligence level of these technologies grows, humans feel increasingly threatened, giving rise to a tension between machine agency and human agency—a tension that is particularly evident in the domain of contact tracing, resulting in tragic consequences in certain countries. His presentation describes this tension and explores ways in which we can achieve synergistic and mutually beneficial coexistence between humans and intelligent communication technologies.


Professor Shuhua Zhou from Missouri School of Journalism

Professor Shuhua Zhou Digital’s research demonstrates that social changes are due to digital media from the perspectives of economy, technology, and culture. Digital media change our conception of time and space, but people’s psychological processing of media remains. As communication is moving toward a new paradigm, media effects in the digital context will be more influenced by selective exposure, user bias, and involvement. The focal point of interest will shift toward the interaction between social change and media. 


Professor Justin O’Connor from Monash University

In his speech "Cultural Industry as Public Culture", Professor Justin O'Connor of Monash University in Australia reviewed the evolution of the concept of cultural industry, explained that public participation determines the public attributes of cultural industries, and revealed that cultural industries are not only economic A way of development is also a way to realize public interest.


Professor Daniel Raichvarg from University of Burgundy

Professor Daniel Raichvarg presented his studies in the use of the phygital approach (physical + digital), a term coming from marketing that describes « blending digital experiences with physical ones ». Phygital experiences can add value by enhancing physical experiences with information but augmenting digital experiences with human connections or physical enhancements. His research may be used to help understand (and give new or improved practical clues to) how a policy of territorial communication could associate an « illustrious man » (or woman) to a territory.


Professor Jonathan Zhu from City University of Hong Kong

Professor Jonathan Zhu defines “intelligent communication” as the process through which news, opinions, entertainment, and commercial information are optimally produced and delivered to the truly needed consumers for the sack of their benefits. He further argues data have become a more serious problem than ever, at least for intelligent communication, where the majority of the data are incomplete or isolated, intentionally manipulated by humans, unintentionally damaged by machines, etc. 


Professor Ran Wei from The Chinese University of Hong Kong

Professor Ran Wei presented his studies in how ITCs can create benefits to adopters and society but can also harm users and become a sort of social problem of its own kind. Drawing on the social dilemma of the paradoxical social media (they connect and isolate at the same time), he argues that communications through intelligent agents/machines should embrace a social purpose, which concerns the issues of what intelligent communication is about, what is it for, and what sort of social benefits it creates. To avoid the dilemma faced by social media, intelligent communication built on smart technology needs to be socially smart.


Professor Yu-li Liu from City University of Hong Kong

Professor Yu-li Liu, in her research “Artificial Intelligence and Social Care”, while focusing on the big data privacy issues arising from the current use of applications, she pointed out that with the help of AI, governments, enterprises and each user should balance value rationality and instrumental rationality, build a more inclusive and wise society, and build a virtuous circle between human society and AI.


Professor Fritz Cropp, Associate Dean from Missouri School of Journalism, Professor Yu Guoming, Executive Dean of School of Journalism and Communication, Beijing Normal University, Professor Sui Yan, Dean of School of Journalism, Communication University of China, Xia Chunping, Vice President and Deputy Editor-in-Chief of China News Service, Ge Yan, Distinguished Professor of School of Media and Communication, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Yang Ming, Dean of the Convergence Media Future Research Institute of Xinhua Net, Yang Daquan, Vice President of Shanghai Media Group Finance Association, Chen Rongkai, Vice President of Meituan and Zhu Yan, Director of Ximalaya FM made their keynote presentations consecutively.


Screenshot from the Dean's Forum

This conference also had 13 panel sessions including the Dean's Forum, the Journal Editor's Forum, the Publication Reading and Short video knowledge services in the Digital Communication Era, the Media Performance and Communication Effects under the Epidemic, Integrated Culture: Technology, Production and Consumption, Intelligent Communication and Social Life, Health, Risk and Medical Communication, Global Communication and Human Destiny under the Epidemic, Artificial Intelligence and Industrial Transformation in the Post-epidemic Era, Media Literacy and Journalism and Communication Education, and the "Disaster Medical Communication Alliance Seminar".


SJTU’s School of Media and Communication has been expanding rapidly since its founding 18 years ago, with more than 400 undergraduates, 200 master students and 100 doctoral students, including nearly 300 overseas from over 60 countries. International students include graduates of world prestigious universities like University of Chicago, Johns Hopkins University, University College London, University of South California, Moscow State University, and University of California-Los Angeles. The school has seen major breakthroughs in the number of research topics in Journalism and Communication from the National Social Sciences Foundation, the number of scholars on the “most cited researchers” list, and the number of accepted professional proposals by ministries under the CPC Central Committee. The journalism and communication major ranked top 4 in China based on QS World University Rankings by Subject in 2019. It ranked top 3 among the Best Disciplines in China by Shanghai Ranking in 2020.