March 30, 2021

Jessica Pope
Communications and Media Relations Coordinator

VSU’s Dennis Conway Named Editor-Elect of Journal of Media Education

Dennis Conway

VALDOSTA — Dennis Conway, assistant professor of mass media at Valdosta State University, was recently named editor-elect of the Journal of Media Education. He will assume the role of editor in 2022.

“I am most excited about reading some good papers about the changing world of electronic media and how teachers can best prepare our students for it,” he said.

“The Journal of Media Education is a unique publication in that it does not publish just articles about media research or pedagogy, also known as teaching. It is published four times a year, and one issue is devoted to assessment, which includes grading and improving one’s academic program, and another issue is devoted to creativity, which accepts screenplays and even videos to support authors’ teaching-oriented insights.

“It would be interesting to bring some of the best of these cutting-edge ideas to our students at VSU, and I hope to help colleagues publish their own insights and research.”

The Journal of Media Education is a pedagogical journal published by the Broadcast Education Association. Its mission is to provide resources associated with the education and employment of students in various media fields and to promote communication among educators and media professionals. It publishes articles on pedagogy pertinent to the various media, industry analysis, responsive essays, reviews of books and other instructional materials, and reports on research and other work that may not fit the editorial objectives of traditional scholarly publications.

Conway said the Journal of Media Education plans to add editor-reviewed submissions to its current peer-reviewed format in the near future.

“Having an editor-reviewed section may help the pedagogy or teaching-oriented areas,” he explained. “Teachers may be more able to share new and novel classroom strategies and techniques that other journals may look down upon or even resist.”

Conway said the Journal of Media Education has historically been a friendly place for “new and non-traditional topics.”

Conway has taught 25 different courses — mostly in video and screenwriting — at the collegiate level for more than two decades. For the past 11 years he has shared his hard-earned skills and knowledge with students at VSU as a member of the College of the Arts, Department of Communication Arts faculty.

“My favorite courses to teach at VSU are the video production and screenwriting courses,” he shared. “I enjoy them because I never know which student or student group will produce the best work. There’s always an element of surprise, and sometimes a student just clicks with the content of a project and amazes us. My goal as a teacher isn’t to turn my students into little ‘Dennis Conways.’ It is to help them be the best media professionals they can be, so they can work in the media area of their choice.”

Conway grew up with parents who taught chemistry and mathematics at the collegiate level, but he said he never once considered following in their footsteps. He studied government and political theory at Cornell University, and as an undergraduate student he contemplated going to law school.  

Then he took a film history class, which he described as a powerful experience, and decided to pursue a master’s degree in film and television production at New York University. He really enjoyed making short films and interacting with his fellow student creatives. Spike Lee ran the program’s equipment room back then at the university, “so that was my brush with greatness,” Conway shared.

Regarding his role as filmmaker outside the classroom, Conway said, “I usually work as a one-man, so my pieces are usually shorts.” He also has an 88-minute film, “Garden,” that he wrote, directed, edited, produced, and self-financed with his own money. The screwball comedy took him a year and a half to complete, and it played at regional festivals in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

“It was hard work, but it was also fun,” he added. “It was shot in nine and a half days, and I even built the sets and drove the van to bring my New York City actors to the filming location every day.”  

Six of Conway’s films — a comedy, three mini documentaries, and two promotional pieces — can be found at Banshee Wail Productions on YouTube and Dennis Conway Valdosta GA USA on Vimeo.

Conway has published or co-published a dozen articles and one script in the Journal of Media Education. He has won four national screenwriting awards. He hopes his role with the Journal of Media Education will put him in a position to support others who are working hard to pursue their professional and academic dreams.

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