39th Annual AJHA Convention
Virtual Conference   |   Oct. 2-3, 2020

Convention contacts

Convention Coordinator
Caryl Cooper
University of Alabama

Registration Coordinator
Ken Ward
Lamar University

Program Coordinator
Mike Conway

Indiana University


Sidney Kobre Award for Lifetime Achievement: Ford Risley

AJHA's highest honor, the Kobre Award recognizes individuals with an exemplary record of sustained achievement in journalism history through teaching, research, professional activities, or other contributions to the field of journalism history.

This year's honoree is Ford Risley, the associate dean for undergraduate and graduate education, distinguished professor and head of the Department of Journalism at the Bellisario College of Communications at Pennsylvania State University. Risley, a renowned Civil War-era journalism scholar, served as editor of American Journalism from 2014 to 2020, and was president of AJHA in 2006. His book Abolition and the Press won AJHA's Book of the Year Award in 2009.
Read the news release.

National Award for Excellence in Teaching: Michael Fuhlhage

The National Award for Excellence in Teaching honors a college or university teacher who excels at teaching in the areas of journalism and mass communication history, makes a positive impact on student learning, and offers an outstanding example for other educators. An honorarium of $500 accompanies the prize.

This year's winner is Michael Fuhlhage, an associate professor in the Department of Communication at Wayne State University. In selecting Fuhlhage for the honor,  AJHA’s education committee members noted his innovative instruction in journalism history and support for student research. Fuhlhage has been on the faculty at Wayne State since 2014.
Read the news release.

AJHA Book of the Year Award: Mike Conway

AJHA's Book of the Year Award recognizes the best book in journalism history or mass media history published during the previous calendar year.

This year's winner is Mike Conway of Indiana University for his book, "Contested Ground: ‘The Tunnel’ and the Struggle over Television News in Cold War America.” Conway’s book examines a network television documentary on a Berlin Wall tunnel escape that brought condemnation from both sides of the Iron Curtain, during a time when the Cold War was at one of its most dangerous periods.

Three authors earned honorable mention for their books:
  • Kimberley Mangun, University of Utah, “Editor Emory O. Jackson, the Birmingham World, and the Fight for Civil Rights in Alabama, 1940-1975."
  • Michael S. Sweeney and Natascha Toft Roelsgaard,  Ohio University, “Journalism and the Russo-Japanese War: The End of the Golden Age of Combat Correspondence.” 
Book award honorees will present their research and be recognized during a special session at AJHA’s 39th annual convention, to be held virtually Oct. 2-3.
Read the news release.

Margaret A. Blanchard Dissertation Prize: Amie Marsh Jones

Since 1997, AJHA has presented the Blanchard Prize for the best doctoral dissertation dealing with mass communication history completed during the prior calendar year.

This year's winner is Amie Marsh Jones, who completed her dissertation, “The Forgotten Children of Bath: Media and Memory of the Bath School Bombing of 1927," at the University of Georgia under the direction of Janice Hume. 

The following scholars earned honorable mention for their dissertations:

  • John Haman,  “Faith, News, and Truth: The Kingdom’s Crusade for Social and Economic Justice in 1890s America,” completed at the University of Iowa under the direction of Frank Durham.
  • Caitlin Cieslik-Miskimen, “City of Destiny: Print Culture, Modernity and the Struggle for a City’s Future,” completed at the University of Wisconsin under the direction of Sue Robinson, William J. Reese and James L. Baughman.

All three honorees will present their research and be recognized during a special session at AJHA’s 39th annual convention, to be held virtually Oct. 2-3. Read the news release.

American Journalism Rising Scholar Award: Matthew Pressman

Editors of AJHA's quarterly academic journal American Journalism present the Rising Scholar Award to recognize the achievements and potential of an untenured scholar who shows promise in extending her or his research agenda.

This year's winner is Matthew Pressman of Seton Hall University for his ongoing research, "A History of the New York Daily News and its Populist Politics," which will examine the impact of the Daily News on journalism history and American politics and culture.

The award comes with $2,000 in research funding, underwritten by a gift from Stan Cloud in honor of his wife, the late Barbara Cloud, an early member and former president of AJHA. Read the news release.

Best American Journalism Article: Stephen Bates

The Best Article Award honors research published in American Journalism within the last year that is original, rigorous, and makes an outstanding contribution to developing scholarship in the field of journalism and mass communication history.

This year's winner is Stephen Bates of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. His award-winning article, "Prejudice and the Press Critics: Robert McCormick's Assault on the Hutchins Commission," appeared in the Fall 2019 edition of the journal. The article relates the story behind a 642-page angry rebuttal to "A Free and Responsible Press," the 1947 Hutchins report underwritten by Chicago Tribune publisher Colonel Robert McCormick.

Read the news release.

Joseph McKerns Research Grants

Joseph McKerns Research Grants provide funding of up to $1,250 per person for media history research projects while recognizing and rewarding the winners.

2020 winners are:

  • Mark Bernhardt, Jackson State
  • George Daniels, University of Alabama
  • Elisabeth Fondren, St. John's University
  • Rob Wells, University of Arkansas
    Research Paper Awards

    Maurine Beasley Award For the Outstanding Paper on a Women’s History Topic
    Tracy Lucht,
    Iowa State,
    "Amelia Bloomer, The Lily, and Early Feminist Discourse in the U.S."

    Honorable Mentions: Autumn Lorimer Linford, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Brian Carroll, Berry College.

    J. William Snorgrass Memorial Award for the Outstanding Paper on a Minorities Topic (tie)

    Jon Bekken, Albright College, "Relations of Production at The Chicago Defender: Union-Busting, Contingent Labor & Consolidation in the Black Press."

    Thomas Terry, Utah State University, "Its Racist Plunder: Opposing Agendas and Representations of the Elections of 1898 and 2008 through White and Black Press Political Cartoonist."

    Jean Palmegiano Award for Outstanding International/Transnational Journalism Research

    Brendon Floyd, University of Missouri, “From Nationalism to Imperialism: Musgrave, Burk, and the Irish Rebellion of 1798."

    Wally Eberhard Award for Best Paper on Media and War (tie)

    Thomas Mascaro, Bowling Green State University, "A Journalist’s Guernica: With 'East Pakistan, 1971,' NBC’s Robert Rogers Introduces Rhonda Schwartz to Documentary Method in a Haunting Critique of U.S. Policy in the Pakistani Civil War."

    Michael S. Sweeney, Ohio University, "The 'Exactest' Color and Situation: James Cassidy’s Two Radio Voices in World War I."

    Robert Lance Memorial Award for Top Grad Student Paper

    Autumn Lorimer Linford, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, “'They’ll Never Make Newspaper Men': Early Gendering in Journalism, 1884-1889."

    Honorable Mention: Patrick Walters, Temple University and Kutztown University.

    Wm. David Sloan Award for Top Faculty Paper

    Tracy Lucht, Iowa State University, "Amelia Bloomer, The Lily, and Early Feminist Discourse in the U.S."

    Honorable Mentions: Thomas Mascaro, Bowling Green State University, and Michael S. Sweeney, Ohio University.

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