UCF/IAMCR Urban Communication Awards

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IAMCR and the Urban Communication Foundation are pleased to announce that the 2024 Urban Communication Award has been awarded to two papers that develop and explore innovative approaches to urban communication. The award-winning papers are:

  • Revitalizing City Branding Through Concerts? Cultural Circuit, Fandom, Urban Public Relations in Xi’an: A Case Study Regarding TFBOYS Ten-Year-Anniversary Concert
    by Hongyu Zhu and Zizhong Zhang (Tsinghua University)

  • Urban Visual Representation and Ethical Narrative Risks: A Study on "The City of Zombies"
    by Yanchun Chen and Wenqiang Han (Communication University of China)

The award will be formally presented at a special session to be held on 3 July during the main IAMCR 2024 conference in Christchurch.


Hongyu Zhu

Hongyu Zhu is a PhD candidate at the School of Journalism and Communication, Tsinghua University, supervised by Professor Anbin Shi. His research interests include political economy of communication based on platformization, international/intercultural communication study around transnational platforms and online communities, and the history and theory of development communication and social transformation.

He has published papers in many international journals/conferences (CSSCI, IAMCR, and ICA, etc.), and has won several best paper awards.

Zizhong Zhang

Zizhong Zhang is a PhD candidate at the School of Journalism and Communication, Tsinghua University, supervised by Associate Professor Qiaolei Jiang. His research primarily focuses on popular culture and games, computational communication, and social support. He has published dozens of articles in SSCI and CSSCI journals as well as at conferences such as ICA, IAMCR, and AEJMC.

His recent interest lies in using data mining to explore the supportive interactions behind online communities.

Abstract

Revitalizing City Branding Through Concerts? Cultural Circuit, Fandom, Urban Public Relations in Xi’an: A Case Study Regarding TFBOYS Ten-Year-Anniversary Concert

Revitalizing brands and image by organizing concerts has become one choice for major cities in post-epidemic China. The ‘TFBOYS Ten-Year-Anniversary Concert’ held in Xi’an in August 2023 served as a prime example, generating substantial economic benefits and garnering significant attention. However, it also challenges the city’s public relations capabilities. This study employs a cultural circuit framework and utilizes structural topic modeling and critical discourse analysis to examine the intricate relationship between Xi’an’s city branding and fan activities. The research delves into the participatory culture within the online fan community and explores the co-occurring Weibo expressions among ordinary residents and tourists. The findings reveal that the fandom-driven city’s branding has created a triangular relationship involving the government, fans, and non-fans at a regulatory level. In terms of representation and identity, there exists a dynamic interplay of conflict and integration between the construction of the city branding and the fandom culture. Within the production and consumption chain, Xi’an primarily serves as a backdrop, and the economic benefits generated are not directly controlled. This study contributes to the exploration of social media-based city public relations by examining the practical dynamics of fandom-driven city branding.

This paper was accepted for presentation by the Participatory Communication Research section. 

Presentation date and time: 2 July at 8:30
Room: Conway 2 - Te Pae Convention Centre

Announcing its decision the Urban Communication Grant Selection Committee, said:

This paper discusses city branding and image-building, exploring practical dynamics of social media-based public relations. The study focuses on a post-pandemic concert held in China in 2023 using a cultural circuit framework, structural modeling and critical disourse analysis. The research also highlights the complex participatory fan culture involved in such brand building activities, and includes suggestions for future studies and city branding plans.


Yanchun Chen

Yanchun Chen is currently a Master’s student in the School of Journalism at Communication University of China, specializing in computational communication, and will become a Ph.D candidate at the State Key Laboratory of Media Convergence and Communication at Communication University of China in September this year.She has presented her work at conferences such as IAMCR and ICA.

Her research interests lie in risk communication,strategic communication and ethical narrative research.

Wenqiang Han

Wenqiang Han, a master's student in the Big Data field at the State Key Laboratory of Media Convergence and Communication at the Communication University of China, is mentored by Professor Haocheng Huang. He focuses on research in natural language processing, application of large language models, and journalism.

He is dedicated to exploring how to utilize big data technology and natural language processing techniques to analyze and interpret online information, public opinion trends, and how to apply large language models to enhance the depth and breadth of artificial intelligence.

Abstract

Urban Visual Representation and Ethical Narrative Risks: A Study on "The City of Zombies"

Short videos depict urban streets and city dwellers through the lens, further conveying emotions, and arousing people's memories of the changing urban landscape, playing an irreplaceable role in shaping collective memory. However, it also entail certain ethical narrative lapses and risks. This study adopts the DTM topic model and social network analysis to quantitatively analyze the evolution of Philadelphia's image writing and the memory networks of recorders and viewers, aiming to measure the differentiated ethical narratives of different subjects in urban communication. The research reveals that the chaotic street scenes depicted in short videos reflect visual gazes that point to the relationships between individuals and between individuals and society within urban spatial relations. Furthermore, visual landscapes and textual narratives jointly realize emotional interactions in videos, constituting a social dynamic construction of the city. However, the fragmented narrative pace of short videos, although adhering to factual principles, often crosses moral boundaries when disseminated, becoming tools for generating traffic. Therefore, it is imperative to cautiously utilize the role of videos, distinct from the traditional physical perspective, in urban spatial reconstruction, emphasizing the development of physical urban spaces, shaping urban memory through diverse narratives, and minimizing the distortion of urban memory caused by video-mediated narratives to enhance urban visibility.

This paper was accepted for presentation by the Ethics of Society and Ethics of Communication Working Group.

Presentation date and time: 2 July at 16:00
Room: Novotel Hotel Ashley room

The Award Committee shared the following statement regarding Yanchun Chen and Wenqiang Han's paper:

This study explores Philadelphia's image writing and the memory networks of recorders and viewers, analyzing the differentiated ethical narratives involved in urban communication. The paper considers short videos that depict urban spaces and city dwellers and the role that videos play in shaping collective memory. Methodologies include dynamic topic modeling and social network analysis used to assess relationships between individuals and society. However, the author emphasizes the cautious use of videos to fully understand physical urban spaces and memory, and suggests that memories should be considered multidimensional.


UCF/IAMCR Urban Communication Award 2024 Selection Committee

  • Janet Wasko, University of Oregon (USA), Chair
  • Nico Carpentier, Charles University (Czech Republic)
  • Yong-Chan Kim, Yonsei University (Seoul, Korea)
  • Yiannis Christidis, Cyprus University of Technology (Cyprus)
  • Cees Hamelink, University of Amsterdam (Netherlands)
  • Deborah Philips, Brighton (UK)