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AAA is pleased to announce the recipient of the 2017 Anthropology in Media Award is Maria Vesperi. Throughout her career Vesperi has been deeply involved in communicating anthropology to the general public through media. In 1980 she did a collaborative 12-part series for the Tampa Bay Times (formerly St. Petersburg Times), “Growing Old in a New Downtown.”
In 1986 Vesperi wrote an investigative series, “Welfare: Does It Help or Harm the Poor?” which was nominated by the Times for a Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award. Making use of her contacts as a full-time journalist and later as a 20-year member of the Poynter Institute for Media Studies Board of Trustees, she has also organized a range of academic paper sessions, special events and workshops related to journalism. Together with AAA President Alisse Waterston, Vesperi co-organized a series of high-profile “Anthropology off the Shelf” panels for the AAA meetings. These sessions resulted in the co-edited anthology Anthropology off the Shelf: Anthropologists on Writing, published in 2009 by Wiley.
While Vesperi was General Editor of Anthropology Now, she contributed to the successful communication of anthropology to the general public and raised public awareness of anthropology through a broad and sustained public impact at many levels, including the international level. She has used a variety of media and a variety of formats to reach as wide an audience as possible and to link with other organizations such as the General Anthropology Division and the AAA.
Vesperi has demonstrated courageous leadership, engaged ethnography and rare editorial talent. She has the sensibility and passion of a first-rate journalist combined with the insight and charisma of a superb teacher. In sum, because of the range and depth of Vesperi’s contributions to communicating anthropology to the general public through a variety of media, she is an extremely worthy recipient of the Anthropology in Media Award.
Learn more about the inner workings of the AAA in the Association Business section of Anthropology News.