S. Shyam Sundar, distinguished professor of communications and co-director of the Media Effects Research Laboratory housed in the College of Communications at Penn State, has been named editor of the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication (JCMC)), a leading publication devoted to social science research on communicating with computer-based media technologies.
Established in 1995, JCMC is one of the oldest Web-based Internet studies journals in existence. In 2004, it became an official journal of the International Communication Association (ICA). The peer-reviewed journal is broadly interdisciplinary, publishing work by scholars in communication, business, education, information science, media studies, political science, sociology and other disciplines.
Sundar will serve as incoming editor beginning July 1 and become editor on Jan. 1, 2014.
A six-member nominating committee for the position put forward Sundar as an “ideal candidate” for the position. They envisioned an editor with international credibility, a large network, a broad overview of the field, a proven commitment to the discipline and experience in ICA leadership positions. They said JCMC, one of ICA’s flagship journals, needed “a senior figure with a first-rate scholarly reputation at its helm.” In nominating Sundar, the publications committee said that he is “eminently suited to be the Editor of JCMC,” with an “impressive publication record. … Quite apart from his outstanding scholarship, he also boasts breadth and depth in service to the academic community at large, and to the discipline of communication in particular.”
ICA President Cynthia Stohl, a professor at the University of California at Santa Barbara, enthusiastically agreed with Sundar’s nomination. “Our journal publications are at the very core of our mission,” Stohl said. “He’s definitely the right person for the job. We are confident he will do an outstanding job.”
Sundar has served on the editorial boards of 18 journals, including Journal of Communication, ICA’s flagship journal. He was associate editor of Human Communication Research, a leading ICA journal devoted to empirical research, from 2009 to 2012. Sundar was elected chair of ICA’s Communication & Technology division from 2008-10.
Sundar is the founder of the Media Effects Research Laboratory, a leading facility of its kind in the country. He teaches courses in the psychology of communication technology, mass-communication theory and research methodology. Sundar earned his doctoral and master’s degrees in communication. He also holds bachelor’s degrees in communication and engineering. His industry experience includes more than eight years as a journalist.
Just as his background is eclectic, his current work is quite interdisciplinary, with publications in the fields of communication, human-computer interaction and information science and technology, among others. In addition, he holds joint faculty appointments in the departments of film-video and media studies, advertising, architecture, and communication arts and sciences at Penn State.
Sundar’s research investigates social and psychological effects of technological elements unique to online communication, ranging from websites to newer social and personal media. In particular, his studies experimentally investigate the effects of interactivity, navigability, multi-modality, and agency (source attribution) in digital media interfaces upon online users’ thoughts, emotions, and actions.
His research is supported by the National Science Foundation, Korea Science and Engineering Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation and Lockheed Martin Information Systems and Global Services, among others.