Journalism professor awarded a 2024 President’s Award

Alice Tait received the CMU 2024 President’s Award for Outstanding Research and Creative Activity

| Author: Hadlee Rinn | Media Contact: Kara Owens

Journalism Professor Alice A. Tait, Ph.D., received the CMU 2024 President’s Award for Outstanding Research and Creative Activity. This award can only be won once in a professor’s career at CMU and celebrates the success a senior faculty member has had throughout their time here. 

Tait joined CMU as a faculty member in 1986 and has made many contributions to the mass media field, specifically regarding diversity and people of color. Throughout her career, she has produced 18 journal articles, 16 papers and four books. Additionally, she is a well-respected expert in the field and is a highly sought panelist and research evaluator.  

Tait’s other recognitions include the 2020 Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award, 2015 Lionel C. Barrow Jr. Award for Distinguished Achievement in Diversity Research and Education, and a fellow for the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (a position designed to mentor people of color and women in advanced leadership skills in the academy).  

About her area of study, Tait says, “I experienced discrimination and came to see how African American societal contributions were rendered invisible in the media. I experienced how media portrayal of our activities were often one-sided, incomplete and even false. After taking a course in mass media effects, I understood how media images of African Americans, and other racially and ethnically diverse groups, influenced their perceptions of themselves and how those perceptions impacted their ability to live in this society. I realized then that journalism and mass communication education provided my way of tackling media injustice and the sense of discrimination I felt as an African American.” 

Her early research focused on Profiles in Black, a program produced and directed from 1969-1979 by the Gilbert A. Maddox and aired and sponsored by then WWJ-TV (Detroit), specifically to counteract negative images of Detroiters and African-Americans. 

In collaboration with Guy T. Meiss, Tait created a three-volume series: Ethnic Media in America: Building System of Their Own, Ethnic Media in America: Taking Control, and Ethnic Media in America: Images, Audiences and Transforming Forces. The series draws on the qualitative and quantitative research of scholars in the fields of journalism and mass communications, speech communication, media, film and ethnic studies, history, sociology, economics, business, law and regulations. 

On her career, Tait says, “I have tried to introduce students and consumers to relevant findings of mass media theory and help them develop the analytical skills that allow them to change how they view mass media, understand how mediated images impact their lives, how they influence their perceptions of others and themselves, and how to use that knowledge to change media institutions and society. My aim was to be transformative, sowing seeds of understanding and change.” 

This story is brought to you by the Office of Research and Graduate Studies.

View latest news