By Tyler Bui | Staff Writer, Video by Kennedy Dendy | Executive Producer
Dr. Mia Moody-Ramirez, professor and department chair of the journalism, public relations and new media department, received the 2019 Newsmaker of the Year award during the second annual Newsmakers Luncheon, held Monday in the Bill Daniel Student Center’s Barfield Drawing Room. The luncheon recognized the accomplishments of Baylor’s faculty members who have shared their research and expertise with the media.
She has done extensive research on the media’s framing of issues including race, gender, women, stereotypes and other current topics. Moody-Ramirez is a nationally recognized expert in these issues and has had her work viewed by over 650 million people.
Lori Fogleman, assistant vice president for media and public relations at Baylor, said the luncheon is an opportunity for Baylor Media and Public Relations to thank faculty members for their outstanding work and willingness to share their work with the media.
“It’s really a way for us to express our appreciation and just to say thank you for your investment in us, the time that you have taken to be available and be open to media opportunities and then enjoying the fruits of your work with the media,” Fogleman said. “We enjoy celebrating right alongside you.”
Baylor president Dr. Linda Livingstone gave the opening remarks and said the research done by Baylor faculty is crucial as Baylor pursues recognition as a Research 1 university.
“As we continue to move towards the implementation of Illuminate and our desire to be a Research 1 university, one of the important things is not just to do important research, but to make sure that people know about the work that we’re doing and know how the work that we’re doing is really helping solve some important problems in the world,” Livingstone said.
Livingstone said Moody-Ramirez is a leader on campus and helps the Baylor community to better address difficult issues in society.
“We’re so proud of Dr. Moody-Ramirez and the wonderful work that she does, and certainly the leadership that she provides on our campus,” Livingstone said. “The work she does is speaking into really important issues around race and gender and how we address those issues in appropriate ways. I think it speaks to who we are at Baylor, and the way we think about how we care for people and engage with folks on really difficult issues. She models that and represents us so well.”
Moody-Ramirez has been a professor at Baylor for 19 years. She previously worked as a reporter for the Waco Tribune-Herald, where she began her research into different topics regarding social issues at the time.
“I started as a reporter but then once I became a professor, I transferred that knowledge into researching various topics for research topics,” Moody-Ramirez said.
Moody-Ramirez said the purpose of her research is to raise awareness of issues in society regarding minorities and to encourage change in the representation of these groups.
“The purpose is to shed light on how people from unrepresented groups are represented by the media, with the hopes that the media will try to incorporate some of the information, and to do a better job and not stereotype women and people of color,” Moody-Ramirez said. “The most rewarding thing is that it’s actually research that people can use in their everyday lives; the topics that I write about are very timely.”
Moody-Ramirez said it is important to share research with the media to better educate the public and to help promote change in society.
“I think it’s important to share my research with the media because not only can we learn as scholars from our research, but other people can learn, just everyday people who are at home and listening to news articles…they can learn from research,” Moody-Ramirez sad. “Much of the information we have about various topics we’ve learned are from studies that people have conducted at universities, and those studies have been shared via media outlets and that’s how we know that information. The media is an important piece of getting information out.”
Moody-Ramirez said she is excited to receive the award, and that she is honored to share her wisdom and represent Baylor.
“It feels amazing; I was very excited and very humbled to find out that I was the 2019 Newsmaker,” Moody-Ramirez said. “I love the research that I do, so I don’t do it with the intention of winning an award, but winning an award is like having the icing on the cake. I’m just very excited.”