Forde & Ong Receive 2023 SBS Outstanding Research Award
The College of Social and Behavioral Sciences (SBS) is pleased to announce the recipients of this year's Outstanding Research Award: Kathy Roberts Forde, associate dean for equity and inclusion and professor of journalism, and Jonathan Corpus Ong, associate professor of communication. This award, which includes a $1,000 prize and a plaque, recognizes distinguished achievement in scholarship and research by tenure-line faculty within the College.
Professor Kathy Roberts Forde was nominated for the Outstanding Research Award for her work as lead co-editor and contributor to "Journalism and Jim Crow: White Supremacy and the Black Struggle for a New America." As a research project, the book has received much acclaim and has won several awards, including the American Historical Association's Eugenia M. Palmegiano Book Award, the American Journalism Historians Association (HJHA) Book Award; and the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication History Division's Book Award. As one judge on the HJHA Book Award Committee noted, "No other volume in the book award's history has promised to make such an important intervention in our understanding of the role of journalists in negotiating systemic racism – insights that promise to affect change in our modern world."
In addition to the book's reputation as a stellar research effort, the project also highlighted Professor Forde's willingness to foster collaboration among peers and students as part of the process. While Forde was a substantial contributor to the book, she also requested that her colleague Raz Sibii, senior lecturer in journalism, contribute a chapter of original research. Another invited contributor was Bryan Bowman '18, an undergraduate student who received the SBS LeBovidge Award. Bowman spent three years working with Forde on a project that became a chapter in the book, as well as two articles appearing in The Conversation and The Washington Post. This work led to Bowman receiving the UMass Rising Researcher Award, making him the only journalism student ever to have received the honor.
Professor Ong was nominated for an outstanding record of research in several areas, including disinformation studies, political communication, and racism in the U.S. Receiving his Ph.D. from Cambridge in 2012, Professor Ong is already an established and respected scholar with two single-authored books, a co-edited collection of essays, editorships of prestigious journals, a prolific author of research papers and media articles, and a publicly engaged intellectual constantly exploring ways to present his work to new audiences. One example of this work is "Catch Me If You Can," a podcast exploring disinformation-for-hire in the Philippines – the podcast now ranks in the top 5% of most followed podcasts on Spotify.
The quality of Professor Ong's work is reflected in the number of external accolades he has received in the past year. He was the sole communication scholar awarded the Andrew Carnegie Fellowship, including $200,000 in research funds for his project "Human Costs of Disinformation." As the PI for the collaborative project "Global Democracy Frontliners," he received a $365,000 Luminate Group grant. Over the past two years, Professor Ong's grant record exceeds $1 million, allowing him to continue his innovative work exposing disinformation systems globally.
SBS is proud of the extraordinary research efforts put forth by Professors Forde and Ong. The SBS Outstanding Research Award is presented annually to those who either self-nominate or are nominated by their peers. Please visit the SBS website to see the complete award requirements and a list of all past winners.