Call for proposals targets ‘fake news’ and other ethics topics in communication

November 9, 2017 • Jonathan McVerry

Fake News Call

When the final seconds tick off the clock in 2017, “fake news” will likely be the term of the year for many in the communications industry and beyond. It has echoed from all corners of the world and has had a serious and concerning effect on national and international discourse.

Each year, the Page Center funds a select group of research projects as part of its Page and Johnson Legacy Scholar program. While focus areas differ from year to year, the Center aims to support research that fosters an understanding of the Page Principles and Johnson & Johnson Credo, two philosophies that promote ethical decision-making in public relations.

For its 2018 scholar grants, the Page Center seeks research proposals that will contribute to the scholarly and public understanding of “fake news” and its implications for public communication. The Center is also issuing a second call for grant proposals on general topics of ethical communication.

Visit the 2018 Call for Proposals page for more information on both calls.

Potential “Fake News” Research Topics

Topics may include, but are not limited to:

► Empirical examinations of the impact of “fake news” on audiences

► Historical perspectives on “fake news” and related phenomena

► Critical analyses of “fake news” and relevant cultures, institutions and practices

► Implications for corporate communication and reputation management

► Descriptive analyses, including (but not limited to) content analytical and social network approaches

► Case studies about the impact of "fake news" on organizations and the PR profession

► The economics of "fake news"

► Philosophical, political, ethical, legal, moral and regulatory perspectives

► Cross-cultural and cross-disciplinary treatments are encouraged

► How do organizations contribute to the environment of "fake news," and can their work help address it?

Potential “Open Call” Research Topics

Research topics for the “open call” include, but are not limited to:

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Communication (Of particular interest in this area is research on "corporate purpose" and how it influences or contributes to CSR.)

Digital and Social Media Communication Ethics

Sustainability and Environmental Communication

Stakeholder Engagement

Refugee Communication

Proposals on other topics will be considered as well, including how company credos and codes of ethics affect corporate behavior; the role of public relations in fostering corporate responsibility; curriculum development in and pedagogical approaches to ethics in public relations; and other areas of Page's or Johnson's legacy, including political communication, public opinion formation and attitude change, history of public relations, health communication, and international broadcasting.

Application materials must be electronically submitted on or before Jan. 15, 2018 using the Proposal Submission Form. Applicants will be notified of the selection committee's decisions on March 15, 2018.

Since its 2004 founding, the Page Center has become an international leader in research on ethics and integrity in public communication. The Center has funded more than 200 scholars and awarded more than $750,000 in research funding.