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Dynamic duo lauded for decades of research

By Anne Craig, Communications Officer

This award was a lifetime in the making. Queen’s professor emeritus Vincent Mosco and life partner Catherine McKercher, a professor at Carleton University, were recently awarded the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication Professional Freedom and Responsibility award. It honours journalists and media scholars for their dedication in upholding freedom of expression, media accountability and public service.

Catherine McKercher and Vincent Mosco.

Drs. Mosco and McKercher join an exclusive group of past award winners including Bill Moyers, Noam Chomsky, Christopher Hitchens and Studs Terkel.

“We are thrilled and honoured to be in the company of people who have won this award,” says Dr. Mosco.

The couple met in 1977 when Dr. Mosco was working for the White House Office of Telecommunications Policy and Dr. McKercher was Washington correspondent for The Canadian Press. Their interest in communications brought them together and eventually they collaborated on a number of projects  that evolved out of their shared interest in communications and information workers and in the organizations that represent them, including trade unions.

With the support of two Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council grants, they have written and edited several articles and books, including The Laboring of Communication: Will Knowledge Workers of the World Unite? and Knowledge Workers in the Information Society.

When he retired, Dr. Mosco was head of the Sociology department at Queen’s and Canada Research Chair in Communication and Society. He is the author of many books including the award-winning The Political Economy of Communication and The Digital Sublime: Myth, Power, and Cyberspace.

Dr. McKercher, who is retiring this year after teaching journalism at Carleton for nearly three decades, is well known for The Canadian Reporter, the first major Canadian reporting textbook. She is also the author of Newsworkers Unite: Labor, Convergence and North American Newspapers, which looks at how labour unions representing media workers have reconstituted themselves in the digital age.

Dr. McKercher says the Professional Freedom and Responsibility award is special. “Being recognized together is a dream come true. We have helped and supported each other – this is the cherry on the sundae.”

With so much professional success under their belts, one wouldn’t blame them for stepping away from their professional lives and enjoying their retirement. But anyone familiar with this couple knows that simply isn’t going to happen.

Dr. Mosco’s latest book, To the Cloud: Big Data in a Turbulent World, will be out this spring and the couple will be giving plenary addresses to a conference on labour and new technology this September in England.

“We are two people who care about media and social justice and this award is enormously satisfying,” says Dr. Mosco.