Boston University Communication Prof. Melvin DeFleur Wins Academic Career Achievement Award

in College of Communication, News Releases, University Affairs
March 17th, 2003

Contact: Richard Taffe, 617-353-4626 |

(Boston, Mass.) — Boston University College of Communication Professor Melvin DeFleur, regarded as a pioneer in mass communication theory, is being honored with the career achievement award from the nation’s largest and most prestigious organization of collegiate journalism and mass communication professors. The Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) will present him with its 2003 Paul J. Deutschmann Award for Excellence in Research at its annual convention this summer in Kansas City, Missouri.

The AEJMC nomination of DeFleur for the award that recognizes a body of significant research over a career reads, in part: “His contributions are so well known as to be among the basic building blocks of our field. Scholars … are simply uninformed if they don’t know and appreciate his work. [He] has been a highly productive and original researcher, a person who has advanced theoretical constructs and enhanced methodology, while also being willing to engage in synthetic activity that honors and respects other researchers.”

Over a 40-year academic career, DeFleur has developed a number of theories and concepts in communications that now are taught in universities around the world. He has authored more than a dozen books, including Milestones in Mass Communication Research, which was voted in 1999 to be one of the 10 most significant books of the 20th century in a survey of the AEJMC’s more than 3,500 members.

A World War II marine veteran, DeFleur trained in sociology and psychology, earning a Ph.D. from the University of Washington. After serving on the faculties of Indiana University and the Miami University, he came to BU in 1998 to head the Department of Mass Communication, Advertising and Public Relations within the College of Communication.

DeFleur will address the AEJMC convention — July 30-Aug. 2 — about a recent study he conducted with his wife, BU College of Communication Professor Margaret DeFleur, of some 1,300 teen-agers from 12 countries about their attitudes toward Americans. The study, which received media coverage worldwide, showed that the teens held uniformly negative views drawn largely from made-in-America movies, TV programs, and popular music.

Groundbreaking textbooks written by Professor DeFleur that have set the standard in the field of mass communication include:

  • Understanding Mass Communication, which focuses on the development of the American system of mass communication and its current status, showing how each of our major media developed within our economic and political system.
  • Theories of Mass Communication, which discusses the origins of human communication and the transformations that led to the widespread use of mass media. It is used by students in numerous countries and is now in 10 languages.
  • Milestones in Mass Communication Research, which traces the development of the field through its history, summarizing the goals, conduct, results, and implications of 14 major studies completed between 1929 and 1989.

    The Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication is headquartered in Columbia, S.C. The AEJMC’s mission is to promote the highest possible standards for education in journalism and mass communication, to encourage the widest possible range of communication research and implementation of a multi-cultural society in the classroom and curriculum, and to defend and maintain freedom of expression. The Deutschmann Award is named for the first chair of the Department of Communication at Michigan State University.

Boston University’s College of Communication includes separate Departments of Journalism; Film & Television; and Mass Communication, Advertising and Public Relations. With an enrollment of more than 29,000 in its 17 schools and colleges, Boston University is the fourth-largest independent university in the United States.

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